Small business loan seminar planned in Maryville

In response to the ongoing credit crunch facing small business, the Blount County Chamber of Commerce and the Tennessee Small Business Development Center will host a seminar on SBA loan programs on Wednesday in Maryville.

The seminar is open to the public and will focus on two Small Business Administration programs — the Community Express Loan and the Patriot Express Loan. The event is at 4 p.m. at the chamber, 201 S. Washington St.

“These loans typically are for $25,000 or less and are intended to provide an infusion of working capital,” said Bruce Hayes, a senior business analyst with TSBDC.

In today’s ultra-tight lending climate, banks seldom make these kind of loans, especially to entrepreneurs trying to start a business, Hayes said.

Culture_Currency(2).JPGLegislation intended to boost lending to small businesses was left hanging when Congress adjourned earlier this month. The political battle will continue when Congress returns to Washington after Labor Day. Whether the legislation makes it to President Obama’s desk is far from certain.

The National Small Business Association in its recent mid-year economic report said the inability to obtain credit is one of the biggest problems facing business owners.

“Given the direct correlation between access to capital and job growth, unless small-business owners are able to secure financing, we will continue to see high unemployment,” said Todd McCracken, president of the Washington-based organization.

As credit has tightened in the last couple of year, TSBDC has seen an increase in the number of businesses — both existing companies and start-ups — looking for help accessing credit, he said.

“Our model has changed, too. It used to be that 60 percent of the people we saw were not in business and wanting to start a business. Today 70 percent of the people are already in business and looking for help.”

As of Thursday morning about 30 reservations had been made for next week’s seminar.

“We have room for about 20 to 30 more,” Hayes said.

To reserve a seat, call Kathy DeLozier at the Blount Chamber at 983-2241.