Guide to Small Business Administration Loans for Women Entrepreneurs:
Over the past 5 years, the number of women-owned private businesses shot up 20 percent and the rate at which women launch startups has outpaced men for the past 20 years. Most women entrepreneurs setup small organizations as one-woman operations or have only a few employees to start in order to keep costs down. As their businesses grow or different challenges pop up during launch, many turn to outside funding sources like loans from the Small Business Administration. These SBA loans tend to have lower interest rates than traditional bank loans, but the advantages don’t end there.
Microloans from nonprofit community lenders often have programs specifically designed to guide women through starting and growing a business. These and three other SBA loans, listed below, are propelling the new women’s movement forward and setting up women entrepreneurs for success, one loan at a time.
Microloans – Startups in their infancy are more likely to be approved for microloans than any other SBA loan. Microloans are administered only through nonprofit community lenders and are designed to help startups and small business meet their smaller funding needs with loans ranging from $500 to $50,000. Microloans can be used for most business needs, with the exception of paying off existing debt or purchasing real estate.
General Small Business Loans – General Small Business Loans are the most commonly issued SBA loans and are referred to as 7(a) loans. For-profit small businesses with reasonably invested equity are eligible to apply, and the loan can be used for a wide swath of business needs, from paying operational expenses to refinancing debt. Depending on your lender, these SBA loans can be as low as $500 and interest rates are determined by the intermediary.
Real Estate & Equipment Loans – Real estate and equipment SBA loans are also referred to as 504 loans and are solely issued through lending intermediaries called Certified Development Companies (CDC). As Texas CDC’s website explains, independently owned for-profit small businesses are eligible for 504 loans and the loan amount must be at least $50,000. 504 loans benefit small businesses more than startups as startups are required to pay a 15 to 20 percent down payment, whereas established small businesses only need to put down 10 percent.
Disaster Loans – Unlike other SBA loans, you do not necessarily have to be a business owner to be eligible to apply for certain SBA disaster loans. Loan fund uses are more limited, though, and you must use them only to repair or replace eligible items destroyed in a declared disaster. There are quite a few, including:
Business physical disaster loans
Home and personal property loans
Economic injury disaster loans
Military reservists economic injury loans
As women continue to meet their entrepreneurial potential, the Small Business Administration and its lending intermediaries will support their endeavors. At the current pace, by 2018 women-owned small businesses will account for over half of new jobs in the small business sector, an encouraging number when merely 8 percent of the workforce worked directly for women-owned companies in 2009.
Statistics prove that the uptick in women entrepreneurs isn’t just advance gender equality; it advances the nation’s economy. As a woman and a citizen of that nation, I can only say one thing – go, women, go!
About the author: Jennifer Beardsley writes for CW Highlights, an eclectic blog exploring issues affecting women entrepreneurs and craft beer start-ups.
Statement of NOW President Terry O’Neill
June 24, 2013
The Supreme Court’s decisions today in Vance v. Ball State University andUniversity of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar show continuing indifference, and sometimes outright hostility, on the part of conservative justices to the achievement of workplace nondiscrimination. The National Organization for Women is frustrated that the Supreme Court insists on standing in the way of progress. We are encouraged, on the other hand, that the court in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, reaffirmed the validity of diversity policies in universities’ admissions — but even in that case, some justices are more resistant than supportive of achieving diversity in higher education.
In Vance and Nassar, the court has made it easier for employers to escape liability for racial and sexual harassment in the workplace (Vance) and for claiming retaliation against employees who file discrimination complaints (Nassar). This sends altogether the wrong signal to employers. The threat of being held accountable is an essential tool to move unwilling employers to take the necessary actions to maintain a safe, collaborative, and non-discriminatory work environment. Yet the court is moving in the opposite direction.
NOW will continue to work with our allies to legislatively overrule Vance and Nassarto correct what Justice Ginsburg called “this court’s wayward interpretations of Title VII.” We will also continue to fight for policies that foster racial diversity in higher education — without which communities of color will continue to face unjust barriers in employment and beyond.