Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Small Business Resources

As President of the Women Business Owners of Montgomery County, I have the opportunity to learn about various resources and programs aimed at women-owned and small businesses here in Montgomery County. Earlier this month, I attended the launch of the new Rockville Women’s Business Center. RWBC began as an initiative of the non-profit Rockville Economic Development, Inc. (REDI). The Center is located within the REDI offices at 95 Monroe Street in downtown Rockville, and offers tailored training, counseling and technical assistance to help entrepreneurs start and build successful business enterprises that are positioned for long-term growth. The Center is open to all and promises to be a great resource for both start-ups and companies looking to grow and expand.

I also recently attended a briefing by Robert Carpenter of the U.S. Small Business Administration on the new Small Business Jobs Act, and how this legislation affects our small business community.

One change that caught my attention is a provision that will allow some small businesses to refinance their owner-occupied commercial real estate mortgages into the SBA 504 loan program. Regulations implementing this provision should be issued during the first quarter of 2011. The law also sets higher loan limits for the 7(a) and 504 programs ($2 million to $5 million) and expands the number of small businesses eligible for SBA loans by increasing the alternate size standard to those with less than $15 million in net worth and $5 million in average net income.

The briefing, hosted by the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development (“DED”), also included information on the Small Business Revolving Loan Program, administered by DED, which provides “micro” loans of between $5,000 and $100,000 to small businesses which are looking to expand in Montgomery County and may not qualify for traditional private banking financing.

The Small Business Revolving Loan Program recently received a $2 million infusion to provide loans to small businesses whose expansion includes the creation of new jobs or the relocation of existing jobs into the County. Eligible businesses must have gross revenues of less than $5 million annually and fewer than 75 employees. To learn more, go to http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/dedtmpl.asp?url=/content/ded/financing/small-business-revolving-loan-program.asp.

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