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.
Saturday, Nov. 26 is Small Business Saturday® – a day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities.
There are nearly 28 million small businesses in the U.S., employing 120 million people and generating 65% of all new jobs. In short, they are the fuel that propels our economy, enhancing the communities they serve.
Last year 23 percent of U.S. adults shopped at a locally owned business on Small Business Saturday. Millennials aged 25 to 34 make up the single largest segment of Small Business Saturday shoppers (24.9 percent, to be exact).
Here are a few successful neighborhood small businesses worthy of a visit in San Diego and Scottsdale, Arizona. They all leveraged Small Business Administration (SBA) financing and advisory services from CDC Small Business Finance to grow their companies and create jobs.
Leveraging Drought to Thrive
Water is serious business in Southern California. There’s just not enough to go around. But some entrepreneurs – especially Michelle McLeod – are capitalizing on the scarcity and rising cost of water. With rolling lawns disappearing in most neighborhoods, McLeod decided to expand her landscape rock and stone business as homeowners install yards that need little water. Qualifying for an SBA-504 loan, McLeod bought a building and lot to create her sixth customer-friendly retail location for Southwest Building and Stone in Escondido.
“We believed in ourselves as did our family, employees and Chase Bank,” said McLeod.
Tapping Advice, Brewing Success
For George Thornton, the value of getting an SBA Microloan wasn’t just the money, but the business advising that came with it. On the heels of launching a retail, home-brewing beer-supply business, The Homebrewer, Thornton listened to CDC advisors who told him there were greater profits in focusing more on brewing and selling his own beer. So he did, and now generates good income from the 10 to 15 unique ales, lagers and stouts he offers on tap daily.
“CDC advisors gave me good practical advice and were a great sounding board for my ideas about growing the business,” said Thornton
Growing with Culinary Creativity
When Phoenix restaurateur Larry “Lo-Lo” White first started concocting his own recipes under his grandmothers’ wing, his objective was to make every dish distinctive…memorable! Judging from the lines that now run down the block, White has reached his goal. With people licking their chops for his famous Lo-Lo’s chicken and waffles, it made sense to give them more. So White built his fifth restaurant in Scottsdale using an SBA-504 loan and created 120 new jobs.
“I believe in my food. And once my customers taste it, they believe, too. I’m passionate about everything we do,” said White.
Manufacturers are the most prolific job-generators in the United States. Their contributions are being honored today (Oct. 7) on National Manufacturing Day.
Manufacturing supports an estimated 18.5 million jobs in the U.S.—about one in six private-sector jobs, according to the National Association of Manufacturers.
Over the last three years, CDC Small Business Finance has provided financing to manufacturers that have created and preserved over 3,300 jobs in California, Arizona and Nevada.
One manufacturing company that recently took advantage of SBA financing to grow its businesses and create jobs was Veris Manufacturing in Brea, California. Founded in 1987, Veris forged a name for itself providing contract electronic manufacturing services (EMS) to a variety of industries including aerospace, automotive, telecomm, medical and the military. As the business grew, space became a premium. Rather than continuing to lease warehouse/office space, Veris’ owners used a $4.8 million SBA-504 loan to purchase a new, 27,000 square foot home for the company. They anticipate expanding the Veris workforce by 30% over the next two years.
Small business owners can learn about various financing programs available to them by visiting CDC Small Business Finance, or by calling 800.611.5170.