U.S. Treasury expands small business support program in Arkansas

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 2,232 views 

The U.S. Treasury Department announced Thursday (Feb. 23) approval of five additional state and territory plans for up to $339 million in funding under the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), a part of President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan.

Arkansas was approved for up to $81.6 million under the plan. Guam, Rhode Island, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Wisconsin were the other states and territories with approved plans. In total, the U.S. Treasury has approved $6.6 billion under the program. The funds will reportedly be targeted at minority and women business owners.

“This is an historic investment in entrepreneurship, small business growth, and innovation through the American Rescue Plan that will help reduce barriers to capital access for traditionally underserved communities,” said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. “These SSBCI funds will promote equitable economic growth across the country.”

The funds in Arkansas will be used to operate seven SSBCI programs. Those programs include a capital access program, two loan participation programs, two loan guarantee programs, and two equity/venture capital (VC) programs.

Arkansas allocated $15 million to a loan guarantee program and $7.5 million to a loan participation program that are each designed to reach underserved businesses, the Treasury reported. The equity/venture capital programs, allocated a combined $46 million, will target investments of $1 million in Arkansas-based, high-growth companies raising venture capital and will capitalize seed and early-stage venture funds focused primarily on investing in Arkansas-based companies.

The American Rescue Plan reauthorized and expanded SSBCI, which was originally established in 2010 to increase access to capital for small businesses and entrepreneurs. The new SSBCI has provided $10 billion to states, the District of Columbia, territories, and Tribal governments to increase access to capital and promote entrepreneurship, especially in traditionally underserved communities as they emerge from the pandemic.

In January, the Census Bureau released data which showed that over the last two years Americans have applied to start 10.5 million new businesses, making 2021 and 2022 the strongest two years on record for new business applications.