Thirty-nine community-based organizations across the United States that provide assistance to disadvantaged entrepreneurs are set to receive $5 million in grants from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs (PRIME). These organizations help low-income entrepreneurs gain access to capital to establish and expand their small businesses.
“By training low-income and disadvantaged micro-entrepreneurs on how to grow their businesses, particularly through the smart use of information technology, the PRIME Program helps small businesses thrive in a 21st century economy,” said Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, head of the SBA. “The beauty of PRIME is that it assists small businesses and micro-entrepreneurs to become lender ready, complementing the roughly $140 million approved this year through SBA’s mission-based lending programs.”
This year’s 39 recipients come from 16 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. The grants range from $35,000 to $200,000 and typically require at least 50 percent in matching funds or in-kind contributions. In total, 104 organizations applied for PRIME awards.
PeopleFund will use its $75,000 PRIME award to provide training and technical assistance via various programs, workshops and classroom instruction to help disadvantaged entrepreneurs. Topics include instruction in developing a business plan, financial/cash flow projections, online marketing, web technology, email marketing, developing a digital presence, accounting procedures, quarterly financials, inventory and vendor management.
SBA placed special emphasis in this year’s competition on applications for projects utilizing information technology and software to help small businesses start, strengthen and/or grow. Assisting small businesses with the tools needed to implement automated financial accounting, financial reporting, inventory management and web-based marketing and distribution is emerging as an industry best practice among SBA’s most successful microlenders.
This year’s awards also emphasized organizations participating in SBA’s Community Advantage Program. This program provides mission-oriented, non-profit lenders access to SBA’s 7(a) loan guarantees to help small businesses that have outgrown microlending but are not able to access more traditional financing, including funding from SBA commercial lending partners. Twenty SBA Community Advantage lenders submitted applications, and 13 were selected for PRIME awards.
PRIME was created by Congress as part of the Program for Investment in microentrepreneurs Act of 1999. Funds become available on September 30 and the grant is for one year.
For more information on PRIME grants and a list of this year’s grantees, visit http://www.sba.gov/content/prime-grantees.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation. We recognize that small business is critical to our economic recovery and strength, to building America’s future, and to helping the United States compete in today’s global marketplace. Although SBA has grown and evolved in the years since it was established in 1953, the bottom line mission remains the same. The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U. S. Virgin Islands and Guam.
Peoplefund is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization established in 1994. It is a U.S. Treasury certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and SBA certified lender. PeopleFund provides business loans up to $350,000 to Texas businesses that do not qualify for bank loans. It also provides client business assistance and education. The target market is minority, women, and veteran business owners and those residing in low to moderate income census tracts. Over 40% of current loans are to startups and non-profit organizations. Through access to capital and educational opportunities, PeopleFund creates economic opportunity and financial stability for underserved people to build healthy small businesses. www.peoplefund.org.