It is exciting when a new business opens in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV), and we LOVE it because it strengthens both the community and the economy. The latest U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy stats show small firm openings have accounted for 40 percent of the “new” American jobs over the last two decades.
During the first quarter of fiscal 2017, SBA approved 31 loans for almost $15 million to RGV small businesses. Thirteen loans for $7.9 million went to startup firms, creating 65 jobs and retaining 31 jobs. The loans funded a startup beauty salon, a brand new fine art school franchise, a new hotel, a fresh fruit and vegetable wholesaler and a pet care business, to name a few. Loans to these startups range from $10,000 to $5 million, during the first quarter, with an average loan size of $608,330.
Entrepreneurs are an exciting and inspiring population and it’s hard not to love them. They demonstrate courage, creativity, resilience and stubborn optimism. Think about it. When men and women light up the “Open for Business” sign they have already conquered the first major obstacle to success – getting started. Startup entrepreneurs exude a sense of pride and accomplishment. However, these same characteristics are also true of those who stay in business a few years.
About 80 percent of establishments started in 2014 survived until 2015, the highest share since 2005, according to SBA stats. And, about half of all establishments survive five years or longer. These numbers are important because at SBA we love it when businesses get started and we love it when businesses grow. Ensuring success is our goal.
So far this fiscal year, SBA has approved a little more than $7 million in loans to 18 existing and growing small businesses in the RGV to help them expand. These loans range from $2,500 to $3.8 million with an average loan size of $392,577, and helped create 12 jobs and retain 108 jobs. The SBA loans were approved for a variety of firms including, a landscape business, a meat market, a car wash, a trucking company, a construction business and a veterinarian.
Although SBA has grown and evolved in the years since it was established in 1953, the bottom line mission remains the same – to help entrepreneurs start, build and grow businesses. If you’re ready to startup or expand, visit www.sba.gov for information and resources, including online classes. Connect with local resource partners by visitingwww.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance/. Here you simply plug in your zip code for list of nearby counselors and workshops.
If you’re ready to apply for small business capital, you can start online – www.sba.gov/tools/linc. The SBA LINC program (Leveraging Information and Networks to access Capital) is an online referral tool to connect small business borrowers with participating SBA lenders. Prospective borrowers complete a short questionnaire. The responses are forwarded to participating SBA lenders that operate within the small business’ county. If lenders are interested in the referral, the lender and prospective borrower’s contact information is exchanged. You can also contact the Lower Rio Grande Valley District at 956-427-8533, for assistance.
Visit, support, Tweet about, Facebook post or Instagram your favorite Rio Grande Valley small business. Show some love for local merchants this Valentine’s Day.
(Angela R. Burton serves as the SBA Lower Rio Grande Valley District Director that provides capital, contracting and counseling services throughout 14 Texas counties.)