The U.S. Small Business Administration approved $95.5 million in loans to small businesses in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands during fiscal year 2016, a 19 percent increase over the previous fiscal year, the agency announced.
“The SBA continues to foster small business ownership by providing much needed access to capital to existing and aspiring entrepreneurs,” said SBA Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands District Director Yvette T. Collazo.
“As evidenced by our fiscal year-end results, our numbers continue to grow steadily, allowing for job retention and creation,” she said. “In these challenging economic times, small businesses continue to start and expand, and look to the SBA to help meet their financial needs.”
As of Sept. 30, 2016 the SBA approved 627 loans for $73.9 million under the agency’s 7(a) Loan Guaranty program, which provides financing for a variety of general business purposes, such as working capital, expansion or renovation of facilities, the purchase of machinery and equipment, and the purchase of land, among others.
Through its Certified Development Company program — designed to promote economic development by creating jobs through long-term, fixed financing — the SBA delivered 65 loans for $21.5 million.
Also, the SBA issued 69 acceptance letters on behalf of 8(a) certified firms in the district for $47 million in federal contracts.
With the support of its resource partner network, such as the Puerto Rico Small Business and Technology Development Center, the Virgin Islands Small Business Development Center, the Puerto Rico Women’s Business Institute and SCORE, the SBA impacted more than 9,000 existing or aspiring entrepreneurs through outreach, counseling and training.
In addition to providing access to capital, federal contracts, and business counseling and training, the SBA district office launched the LGBT initiative in Puerto Rico; it revamped its SCORE chapter to increase counseling and training; it kicked-off its first Boots to Business Reboot series for transitioning military service members and their families; and held its first Destination HUB event, bringing together small business owners and technical and financial resources with the main objective of revitalizing the economy of Roosevelt Roads and the surrounding community.
Moreover, the SBA recently announced the designation of an additional 516 census tracts qualified as Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZones) in Puerto Rico, for a new total of 776 — or 82 percent — HUBZone qualified census tracts on the island, including Roosevelt Roads, which has been designated as a HUBZone until May 17, 2023.