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A Small Business Bailout--Maybe ARC loans are only available to businesses that meet very strict criteria.

By Carol Tice

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

For small-business owners who have run into financial trouble, a new Small Business Administration loan program offers relief. But the America's Recovery Capital (ARC) loan will only help businesses that meet certain strict criteria.

ARC was funded with $225 million to provide five-year, zero-interest loans of up to $35,000 per qualified business. To qualify, businesses must demonstrate that sales are down, expenses are up or they are having trouble paying current loans or suppliers. Owners also must provide two years of cash-flow projections and explain their game plan for returning to profitability.

The program is not for new startups--to qualify, you must have been in business at least two years, and profitable for at least one of the past two years.