The U.S. Small Business Administration guaranteed 656 loans in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands during fiscal year 2011, a 57 percent increase over loans approved during the previous year. The results obtained are due in part to incentives implemented under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 and to a renewed commitment from SBA lenders.
“Last year we predicted 2011 would be our best yet, and we couldn’t be more pleased with our results,” said SBA District Director José R. Sifontes. “By extending enhancements first enacted under the Recovery Act, and permanently increasing SBA loan limits, the Jobs Act enabled us to provide entrepreneurs with expanded access to much needed capital to meet their small business needs.”
As of Sept. 30, 2011, the SBA guaranteed over $84.8 million to small businesses in the district, an 18 percent increase over loan dollars approved in fiscal year 2010. Of the total dollar amount, $53 million were approved under the SBA’s 7(a) loan guaranty program, which provides long-term financing to acquire equipment and machinery, inventory, fixtures and accessories, renovations, purchase land, build new buildings, purchase existing businesses, and for the repayment of debts.
The SBA also helped create or retain nearly 500 jobs during fiscal year 2011, by approving $31.9 million under its 504 Certified Development Company loan program, designed to promote economic development by creating jobs through long-term, fixed financing.
“Small businesses are the driving force behind the economies of the islands we serve, and we look forward to continue increasing opportunities for them to start, grow and succeed,” Sifontes said.
Signed on Sept. 27, 2010 the Small Business Jobs Act permanently increased 7(a) and 504 loan limits from $2 million to $5 million (for manufacturers up to $5.5 million), expanding job creation opportunities for new and existing small businesses.
The Jobs Act also permanently increased limits on the agency’s Microloan program from $35,000 to $50,000, and turned the Export Express pilot loan program into a permanent program, with 90 percent guarantees for loans up to $350,000 and 75 percent for loans between $350,000 and $500,000.
In addition, the law provided $50 million in grants available to Small Business Development Centers, of which $621,797 went to the Puerto Rico Small Business & Technology Development Center to implement a Business Financial Turnaround program, targeting businesses in crisis by providing a four step program of in-depth financial management counseling, among other projects.