Arkansas officials will receive $13.1 million to help boost small business lending as part of a new federal initiative aimed at job growth.
On Monday (Dec. 5), Gov. Mike Beebe (D) announced the multi-million award that stems from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) — a component of the Small Business Jobs Act signed into law by President Barack Obama (D) in September.
The program seeks to create jobs through lending and guaranteeing loans to small and minority businesses, supporting venture capital investments and making risk capital investments in technology based enterprises.
The Arkansas Development Finance Authority (ADFA) will collaborate with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) and the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority (ASTA) to distribute the funds through existing programs such as ADFA’s Arkansas Capital Access Program, Bond Guaranty/Loan Participation Program, Risk Capital Matching Fund, the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise/Small Business Loan Guaranty Program, the Co-investment Fund and the Seed and Angel Capital Network.
“We must create a better environment for small-business investment,” Beebe said. “The uncertainty of our national economy has made it tougher for small businesses to obtain loans and investments to create jobs. This program will help us encourage business growth in Arkansas and keep our entrepreneurial spirit strong.”
TIMETABLE FOR SPENDING
A press release announcing the initiative states that Arkansas will receive the funds in three equal installments based upon performance. At least 80% of an initial $4.3 million must be spent or obligated within 24 months before another transfer will occur.
“We know this is an aggressive but attainable timetable,” said ADFA Vice President of Development Finance Gene Eagle. “The recent co-location of the Arkansas Development Finance Authority, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, and Arkansas Science and Technology Authority, and the ensuing formation of a close working relationship, is expected to be an invaluable resource that will help target the outreach of these funds to communities throughout the state.”
Funding for the SBCCI program will “start immediately,” according to state officials.
For more information on the SSBCI funds in Arkansas, call (501) 682-5900 or visit the ADFA website.