Point of Beginning

Small Business Financing Hits Record High

November 1, 2000
Weekly update.


American small businesses received a record of $17.96 billion in financing backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) during the recently completed fiscal year. SBA Administrator Alvarez announced that records were set in venture capital financing, total loan dollars and dollars in loans to both minorities and to women. In addition, the agency’s technical assistance programs reached a combined 1.23 million entrepreneurs. The total for loans and venture capital financing of $17.96 billion exceeded last year’s total by more than $1.5 billion.

“The SBA’s accomplishments last year, and over the past eight years, have been a significant factor in the creation of nearly 6 million new businesses and more than 22 million jobs since 1993,” Administrator Alvarez said. “Seventeen million of those new jobs were created by small businesses. “Since the end of fiscal year 1992, the SBA has backed more than $83 billion in loans to small businesses, more than in the agency’s entire 40-year history before that time.”

In FY 2000, which ended Sept. 30, 2000, the SBA approved a combined total of 50,420 loans amounting to almost $12.37 billion, including:

  • 43,748 loan guaranties amounting to $10.52 billion in the 7(a) General Business Loan Guaranty program, a 4 percent increase in loan dollars from the previous record set in FY 1999;
  • 4,565 loans worth more than $1.8 billion under the Certified Development Company (CDC) loan program; and
  • 2,107 loans worth $22.8 million under the Microloan program. Since 1992, this program has provided more than $116 million to micro-businesses in loans averaging about $10,500.

Alvarez also noted that a record 30 percent of all SBA loan dollars in FY 2000 went to minority borrowers, more than $3.7 billion to 13,184 minority-owned businesses. SBA also made almost $2 billion in loans to small businesses owned by women, also a record.

SBA’s Disaster Assistance loan program made 28,218 disaster recovery loans amounting to approximately $1 billion during FY 2000, with most of them going to victims of Hurricane Floyd, which ranked 10 states from Florida to Connecticut at the start of the fiscal year.

SBA’s Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program, the agency’s premier vehicle for providing venture capital to small, growing companies, also set records in FY 2000. The program’s licensed SBICs provided $5.6 billion in 4,645 debt and equity investments in small businesses during the year. This is 33 percent greater than the previous record of $4.22 billion set in FY 1999 and more than double the average for the previous five years.

During the year, SBA licensed 60 new SBICs with $1.2 billion in combined private capital, a record. At the end of the year, the program had 395 licensees with total committed capital resources amounting to more than $15 billion.

In other SBA program areas, an estimated 1.23 million entrepreneurs received business counseling and technical assistance through one or more of the agency’s advisory programs:

  • 607,216 people received technical assistance through the Small Business Development Center program;
  • 375,000 people received assistance from the volunteers of the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE);
  • 129,020 people got help at an SBA Business Information Center or Tribal Business Information Center;
  • 79,000 people got help at an SBA One Stop Capital Shop, and
  • 40,000 people got help from an SBA Women’s Business Center.

SBA’s Internet, e-mail and toll-free telephone service also reached hundreds of millions of customers during the year. The website recorded almost 374 million hits and reached a level of 10.5 million hits a week by the end of September. The SBA Answer Desk received 220,690 calls and 12,532 e-mail inquiries, and sent out 31,523 small business start-up kits.