Welcome to Hispanic Business LiveChat. We would like to welcome our guest, Al Stubblefield, associate administrator for the Office of Business Development, U.S. Small Business Administration, taking questions on growing your small business.
Franco from Lexington, MA
Is a small business defined as a company with 50 to 100 employees?
What type of SBA programs are available for micro business made of 5 or 10 or 25 employees?
How many micro businesses have applied or participated in SBA programs in 2004?
What was the size of these micro businesses?
My name is Al Stubblefield. I am the Associate Administrator for the Office of Business Development. My office oversees the certification and eligibility of socially and economically disadvantaged firms, as well as management and technical training for developing firms.
Now for your first question:
1) Yes a company with 50 to 100 employees is considered small under SBA guidelines.
2) SBA also works with local banks and lenders to guarantee loans to all small businesses regardless of their size or the number of employees --as long as they still meet the size standard of small.
I'll try to come back to answer your other questions, so that I can assist others on our "Live Chat"
Bob from Corpus Christi, TX
A while back, I tried to help a friend apply for the SBA HubZone program. As many businesses do nowadays, he leases his employees with a HR firm. This gives him cost benefits such as lower workman compensation rates, etc.
We found out he was ineligible for the program because he leases his employees.
Question - What is the reason for this and what implications does it have for firms that lease their employees and contract with the federal government?
The SBA HUBZone program is a place-based small business program that specifically requires that a minimum of 35% of the company's employees be residence of the HUBZone. HUBZone certified companies are eligible for Federal contract opportunities.
Esequiel from Wesalco, TX
I am 54 years old and Hispanic. At 37, I suffered a stroke. I now realize that I have what it takes to get back into business. Are there grants or low interest loans available to me due to my disability?
Unfortunately, SBA does not offer loan guarantees specifically for individuals due to their disability. However, SBA makes all its services and lending programs available without regard to race, gender, religion or disability.
Thank you for asking.
Patricia from Atlanta, GA
What is the best way to do market research for a service company?
The best way to do market research for a service company is to contact the division of Government Contracting at your local SBA Office and they can inform you of small business contracting opportunities in your area.
Nestor Reyes from Bronx, NY
I work at the BBSC and have yet to see an easy start business guide in New York City in Spanish. And there seems to be so many websites with different information, will there be 1 site with all the information needed?
Thank you for your question which assists small business owners who speak Spanish. The SBA has numerous marketing materials in Spanish which are available on our Website at www.negocios.gov
You may also wish to contact your local SBA office to obtain brochures that are currently printed in Spanish.
Isabel from Los Angeles, CA
How do I submit my info to apply for an SBA contract? Who should I talk to? It seems that the folks who have experience in goverment contracts have a better chance than I do, but I do not want to give up! I need your guidance. I own my small business. Please advise. Thanks.
You may want to contact your local SBA office for more information regarding the 8(a) and SDB certification programs. SBA is proud to announce that we have a new streamlined application process online at www.sba.gov
SBA is also offering training around the country through district offices to teach small owner on how to market to the government. You also may want to ask your SBA district office any upcoming matchmaking events which are taking place throughout the country.
John from Phoenix, AZ
I want to expand my current Document Administration and Support business. What can SBA do and what do you recommend? Thanks for your help with this matter.
You may want to contact your local SBA office and inquire about SCORE counselors, who are working professionals with years of business experinece that provide free assistance or may require a nominal fee. There is also 24/7 online counselling from SBA at www.SCORE.org
Andrés Lagueruela from San Antonio, TX
Has the 8(a)Program been expedited recently.
What is the best way to expedite an 8(a)application?
Yeah! Great question. Yes. The SBA has reduced processing time for 8(a) application on average to less than 45 days --less than half the regulatory timeframe.
As mentioned earlier, the application can now be accessed online --meaning less paper (one page, in most cases) and in some cases SBA has been able to process an E-application and provide an Agency decision within 24 hours.
Carlos from Chicago, IL
I am interested in purchasing a business. The owner is including the property with the sale of the business. Could my partner and I qualify for a loan with the SBA to purchase this business with the property, or would we be required to attain a separate loan for the property and business?
SBA provides loan guanantees and does not make direct loans, with the exception of disaster loans. Therefore, you should contact your local SBA office for information on 7(a) and 504 loan programs and and they can direct you to preferred lenders in your area who may be more receptive to your type of lending needs.
Erica from San Antonio, TX
I'm in the process of cleaning up my personal credit, it is very poor. I've just started a graphic design business and don't need money right now, but will in a few months to buy new software and equipment. Should I give it a few months before I apply for small business loans?
Yes. Although SBA guarantees bank loans for small business owners, you will still need to meet certain credit criteria. Sometimes, your SBA Office or local Small Business Development Center can provide you with assistance in this matter.
Bonita from Bowie, MD
The Governor of Maryland recently made a commenet to eliminate the MBE program instead of fixing it. (END INSTEAD OF MEND) I am afraid if this happens, other states will follow. What can the SBA do to prevent this from happening. If anything at all.
Recent legislation allows state DBE programs to accept SBA 8(a) certification which will expand opportunities for small business on federally funded projects.
Additionally, the SBA program allows participation by any individual who can demonstrate social and economic disadvantage. Althought there are groups presumed to be disadvantaged, anyone may apply and qualify for the 8(a) program if they can information that will meet the perponderance of evidence. For more information on establishing a case based on perponderance, contact the certification office at (215) 580-2736.
With the HUBZone and Veterans programs, SBA is increasing opportunities for all small businesses.
Jose from Longmont, CO
Is SBA helping part time small businesses? and what is the process to qualify for a loan for this type of business?
It does not matter if you are a part-time or full-time business, SBA will give equal consideration to providing a guarantee for your loan. For more detailed information on SBA guaranteed lending contact, you may call 1 (800) U-ASK-SBA.
Leticia from Oakland, CA
I own a small IT consulting business.What do small businesses need to know about drawing up contracts for jobs? Can my local SBA teach me to develop contracts for new jobs?
Your local SBA training center (specifically, if you are located in Oakland, call (510) 273-6000 for information on the SBA Oakland Training Center).
These centers offer a variety of courses and workshops, including bid and proposal preparation.
Bonita from Bowie, MD
I am a Residential Remodeler and would like to tap into the Govt Military housing market, who or what department should I need to contact to bid on such projects.
Actually, there are excellent opportunities coming in the near future for small business owners who desire to assist with military housing.
There will be four regional forums and one national forum where small business owners are invited to attend briefings. The housing needs include large contracts and many subcontracting opportunities. SBA is participating through our 8(a) and SDB certification programs.
The four regional and one national city locations are Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX; Kansas City, MO; Seattle, WA; Atlanta, GA; Washington, DC.
For these contracting opportunities, you may contact Micahel R. Duffy at Michael.R.Duffy@usace.army.mil
Bernie from Hurley, WI
What is the minimum required Equity to secure an acquisition commercial loan?
You may wish to contact your local SBA office or speak with lenders in your area for loans, including micro-loans, conventional loans, and venture capital.
Susan from San Francisco, CA
What resources & programs are available for micro businesses (1-2) employees?
SBA SF district office has a full range of services to start and grow your business, including financing programs, technical assistance, training, technology, procurement assistance and internation trade. For information on programs and classes in your area call (415) 744-6820.