February is Black History Month, a time to celebrate the contributions of African Americans in the U.S., including those who are small business owners.
The number of African American-owned small business in the U.S. exceeds 2.5 million. Still, the proportion of African American-owned businesses account for 9.4 percent of all firms, which is still below the 13.1 percent African American share of the U.S. adult population.
One of ongoing obstacles African Americans business owners face is getting small business loans. The Small Business Administration (SBA) recognizes the need African American entrepreneurs have for small business financing and has redoubled efforts to raise the awareness for its low-rate loan programs.
Aftrican American John Palmer, owner of Servexo Protective Services in Los Angeles, took advantage of the SBA microloan program. Three years after launching Servexo, this disabled vet needed capital last year to take a bold leap into a new municipal contract. A $30,000 SBA Microloan was the solution, providing cash-flow flexibility and the ability to outfit his staff with equipment and training.
Other SBA loans available to small business owners include the Community Advantage loan, for business start-ups and expansion, and the SBA-504 loan for buying a building or large equipment. African American business owners can prequalify for SBA loans by answering five simple questions.