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SBA event offers business owners, entrepreneurs sit down time with lenders

By TED CARTER

Small-business owners and prospective entrepreneurs can meet face to face with more than two dozen lenders, including Mississippi’s major banks, on Aug. 11.

The Small Business Administration Mississippi District Office and FDIC are co-sponsoring the Meet the Lenders: “A Small Business Borrower/Lender Match-Making Event” from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Hinds Community College’s Clyde Muse Center in Pearl.

So far, 130 owners and potential owners have registered and the list of lenders is expected to reach 25, said Janita Stewart, director of the SBA’s Mississippi district.

“This is a sort of special out-reach,” she said. “The whole point is to get these small businesses right in front of the lenders.”

Beyond convention banks, the lineup of lenders includes Certified Development Companies (which administer 504 small business loans), micro-lenders and alternative lenders, the SBA says. Potential borrowers can discuss the availability of SBA loans other loan products, the agency says.

Representatives of the Mississippi Development Authority’s Entrepreneurial Center and Minority and Small Business Development Division will also be hand.

Business owners and entrepreneurs can:

• Pitch financing needs to top small business lenders in one-on-one meetings

• Learn what lenders look for in a winning loan proposal

• Understand the loan application process

The SBA advises people who attend to bring copies of their business plans to hand out. Help preparing a business plan is available from the Mississippi Small Business Development Council Network. Call 1-800-725-7232 to locate the nearest counselor for help on the business plan. The SBA outreach comes amid a strong half year of supporting small business lending across the state, said Stewart, the district director.

“We’ve seen a tremendous increase in lending statistics,” she said. “This year as of July 26 we’ve done 351 loans to small businesses for $133 million.”

For the same period last year, the SBA district backed 330 loans for $117 million, according to Stewart.

In recent days, the Mississippi district and SBA offices across the country feared their loan support would be halted after reaching a federal ceiling of $18.75 million. But Congress, in a rare act of bi-partisanship, agreed this week to raise the cap to $23.5 billion. This is through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year, Stewart said.

Registration for the Aug. 11 event at the Clyde Muse Center is open through Aug. 10.

For registration: Rosetta Harris, Rosetta.harris@sba.gov; or Deborah.dean@sba.gov.

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