Fill in the blank: It takes a village to ______.
While you’re probably thinking of child-rearing right now, I’d like to suggest that it applies to your Greater Houston small business as well. And particularly during inflationary times. The 2020 world made it painfully obvious that going it alone could mean crash and burn for your business.
Hence the creation of PPP loans and ERC credits… government-supplied village helpers made for you. Now that those have expired, and your business is having to stand more on its own feet, it doesn’t mean there aren’t still helpers out there. That’s good news with the possibility of a recession hanging in the air.
Programs like the State Small Business Credit Initiative are just one of those village helpers – what I’d like to discuss today.
Also, I’d like to think we here at Stellar Ledgers® LLC could be one of your village helpers, too. We’re here to help you steer your business into good financial standing and profitability.
Ready for some help? I’m right here:
Also, times like these require that you remain nimble in every aspect of your business. One way to stay nimble? Start accommodating the digital wallet age in your business – people are less and less frequently carrying cash in favor of the ease that a digital wallet brings.
Now, let’s talk about what the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) is and how you can utilize it in your Greater Houston business…
All About the SSBCI for Greater Houston Business Owners
“Play by the rules but be ferocious.” – Phil Knight
Now that a lot of pandemic-related stimulus and finance programs are over, wouldn’t it be nice if your Greater Houston small business had another source of funding to help you through these unusually lean times?
Turns out you might. It’s called the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) Program.
You may have never heard of it, but it’s been around for more than a decade and was just renewed. Every year states nationwide get hundreds of millions of dollars to pump into companies like yours. How can your business get involved?
Money coast to coast
The SSBCI was re-funded (and expanded) by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. It’s set to give billions to states, the District of Columbia, territories, and Tribal governments to “expand access to capital for small businesses emerging from the pandemic, build ecosystems of opportunity and entrepreneurship and create high-quality jobs.”
That may be bureaucratese, but it’s also sweet music to small-business owners who are trying to pull their companies out of the muck of the last few years. Earlier this year, Hawaii, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, and West Virginia got almost six hundred and forty million combined. More than nine hundred and forty million is now headed to Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Vermont. This year’s SSBCI was geared to help states finance businesses with fewer than 10 employees, businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged people, and technical assistance.
SSBCI helps jurisdictions set up public-private partnerships for equity investing or invest in venture capital funds; buy an interest in the loans made by lenders or lend directly; partially guarantee private loans; fund collateral for new loans; and partially backstop portfolios.
Where the funds go
Many states funnel the money toward new businesses in underserved areas. Tech areas seem to be a favorite sector, rural areas a favored locale. The SSBCI (and the states that get the money) wants to level the field between big corporations and Main Street – especially in these days of pandemic recovery, inflation, and supply chain muck-ups – and aims to “catalyze private investments” and promote business development, ideally generating ten bucks in lending and investment for every dollar federally funded through the program. Local programs are emphasized.
Here’s how the latest round of funding will be used in a few of the states:
- Connecticut will have a fund supporting early-stage businesses with a focus on clean energy, environmentally safe manufacturing, and climate resiliency.
- Maine will use part of its funds on sectors important to the state itself, such as forestry and agriculture, sustainable use of ocean resources, and tourism.
- Vermont’s going to address healthcare and climate change, among other areas.
- Michigan (where historically the program targeted industries with high wages and high job growth potential such as manufacturing, medical device technology, engineering, and agribusiness) looks to expand to smaller service and retail businesses nailed by the pandemic downturn.
How to get your slice
Clearly, if your small business fits certain parameters, you might be able to tap some of this money via your state. How to reach them?
States do the applying for this program, but you can visit the SSBCI site to learn more about the eligibility requirements in your state. Check local banks or online financing sources for a lender that’s been green-lighted by the SSBCI. Then, as you would for any business loan, collect financial statements, credit reports, and other key documents and fill out the loan application.
Another route would be to reach out to your state directly. States around the country call their overseeing agencies innovation or venture development corporations; sometimes they’re economic development groups; some of the agencies cover specific issues such as housing. Whatever the name, you can find a list of programs in states – and, just as important, the contacts – here.
We’re not saying that getting money will be easy or quick. We are saying that it’s another potential source of funding for your business in these unprecedented times, and we’d be happy to help you tap it.
Remember, you don’t have to go it alone in your business (and you shouldn’t). Relying on trusted helpers to help your business thrive in every season is just good sense. We here at Stellar Ledgers® LLC would love to be one of your trusted helpers.
So, don’t hesitate to reach out if you need some guidance on whether the SSBCI is right for your Greater Houston business:
We’re here to help you build something lasting.
In your village,
Stellar Ledgers® LLC