SBA and Grameen America – Providing Microloans for Entrepreneurs

Innovative microloan partnership to deliver $2.5 million in transformative loans to underserved communities

In the United States, nearly 1 in 7 people live in poverty. The federal government defines poverty as a family of four living on $23,500 or less. Many of these families work hard to make ends meet, often employed at unpredictable minimum wage jobs. Even working full-time at minimum wage, individuals earn less than $15,000 a year.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Grameen America, Inc., a leading nonprofit microfinance organization, today announced a renewed partnership to extend a capital pipeline to underserved American entrepreneurs. Effective immediately, Grameen America will join SBA’s Microloan Program as an intermediary lender recipient of $2.5 million.

SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, “Our microloan program delivers essential financing to entrepreneurs and small business owners, especially women, low-income individuals, minorities, immigrants, and veterans. While the dollar amount of these loans may be considered micro, the impact they have on real people is enormous. I am delighted to partner with Grameen America – one of the nation’s largest and most impactful microlenders – to expand access to capital under SBA’s Microloan Program.”

With support from SBA, Grameen America will launch the Business Expansion Loan. Starting at $7,500, this loan product will assist those Grameen America borrowers who have grown their enterprises to a point where they need greater lines of credit to continue to expand, build and formalize successful businesses. This also advances Grameen America’s mission to reduce barriers to entrepreneurship for low-income women and to support small business growth among underserved communities. To date, Grameen America has disbursed $480 million to more than 75,000 low-income women entrepreneurs in 11 cities across the United States.

Andrea Jung, President and CEO of Grameen America, “We are thrilled to join SBA’s Microloan Program to ensure that our network of low-income women entrepreneurs is equipped with the financial tools and support they need to bring their small businesses to the next level. This is the perfect example of an effective partnership that empowers women to create jobs and become economic engines in their communities.”

Contreras-Sweet added: “SBA has taken important steps to scale up our national commitment to small and underserved business communities, whether through My Brother’s Keeper, Re-entry-preneurship, or our expansion of microlending. These efforts have opened doors to entrepreneurship, capital, and other business opportunities for underserved communities. As a leading innovator in the microlending space, Grameen America is a perfect match for this effort. They have proven their commitment to efficiently deliver the credit and technical assistance that even the smallest of small businesses need to succeed.”

In fiscal year 2015, SBA microloan intermediaries made 3,704 microloans for a total of $52 million. Almost 85 percent of those loans went to minority small business owners. One year ago, SBA issued a new rule that allows individuals currently on probation or parole to be eligible for an SBA small business microloan.

About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 and since January 13, 2012 has served as a Cabinet-level 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. The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, the SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam.

About The SBA Microloan Program
The SBA’s Microloan program is designed to assist women, low-income, veteran, minority entrepreneurs and small business owners, and other individuals who have the capability to successfully operate a business, by providing them small-scale loans, up to $50,000, for working capital or the acquisition of materials, supplies, or equipment. Microloans cannot be used to repay other debts or purchase real estate.

About Grameen America, Inc.
Founded by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus, Grameen America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit microfinance organization dedicated to helping women who live in poverty build small businesses to create better lives for their families. The organization offers microloans, training and support to transform communities and fight poverty in the United States. Since opening in January 2008, Grameen America has invested $480 million in more than 75,000 low-income women entrepreneurs. Started in Jackson Heights, Queens, Grameen America has expanded across New York City and in Indianapolis, IN, Omaha, NE, Oakland, CA, Charlotte, NC, Los Angeles, CA, San Jose, CA, Austin, TX, Union City, NJ, San Juan, PR and Boston, MA.


SOURCE: U.S. Small Business Administration