With a bit of a boost, small-business owners can reach their dreams

“Another View”

By CLINT ZWEIFEL

On July 30, 1953, the Small Business Administration was founded and has since helped millions of American small-business owners find the loans and information they need to be successful.

Today, the SBA estimates there are more than 100,000 small businesses in Missouri with less than 20 employees. These are the mom-and-pop shops, such as hardware stores, pharmacies and restaurants, we visit every day. These small-business owners and the jobs they create — 75 percent of the jobs created during an economic recovery — are one of the focuses of my administration and the low-interest loans we provide through the Missouri Linked Deposit Program.

Providing access to low-cost capital is one of the best ways we can help this economic recovery continue. Through the Missouri Linked Deposit Program my administration offers exactly that — loans that generally cost borrowers 30 percent less than a standard loan. Additionally, as we celebrate the SBA, we look to continue to combine programs for even more value.

“The Small Business Administration routinely partners with the Missouri Linked Deposit Program to help small business owners make the investments they need. The low-interest loans from the Missouri Linked Deposit Program combined with loan guarantees from us are a powerful economic tool for small business owners throughout Missouri. Every small-business owner should look to partner the power of the two programs when accessing capital,” says Gary Cook, Kansas City district director for the SBA.

Gary’s comment is exactly right. As I travel throughout the state, I regularly visit with local business owners who have used the low-interest loans and many who have combined them with SBA loan guarantees. I can tell you this effort is making a difference.

Since January 2009, my administration has approved more than $340 million in loans impacting nearly 3,700 jobs and 1,400 farmers. These are jobs for contractors, jobs for pharmacists, jobs for scientists and jobs for farmers. The best part, these loans are available to almost any Missouri small business qualifying for credit from a participating lender.

Visit

to see if you are eligible.

The Missouri Linked Deposit Program is about spurring investment in all corners of our economy. This past October I was fortunate enough to tour newly opened LipoSpectrum, a life-science start-up in St. Louis that uses patented technology to perform lipids research in the fight against diseases such as diabetes. Milind Sant used his low-interest loan to purchase equipment and to help maintain his business as he began to commercialize the technology.

Missouri Linked Deposit Program loans have been used by manufacturers of clay pots, cabinet makers, flower shops and more.

These loans help Missourians start their dream businesses, expand ones they currently have and retain jobs during these difficult economic times. Almost any farm in Missouri is eligible to receive a loan and small businesses with up to 99 employees qualify. Additionally, local governments, housing developments and alternative-energy focused projects may qualify for the low-interest loans.

As we celebrate the 47th anniversary of the Small Business Administration’s founding, I encourage all Missouri small-business owners looking for capital to visit my website to learn more about this low-interest loan program, search the 100 lenders I partner with and learn about the opportunities it can provide for them.

Together, we can help keep Main Street strong.

Clint Zweifel serves as Missouri’s state treasurer.