Remember Old MacDonald from the classic children’s song, the one who had a farm? If he were looking for a loan, it wouldn’t be surprising if he turned to a funding program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, right?
But what about a small business…let’s call it O.L. MacDonald, Inc. …that needs a loan to establish a manufacturing plant. O.L. MacDonald doesn’t have a farm. No reason for him to consider the USDA, right? Not so fast…
There’s been a lot of talk recently about the challenge of getting loans. To be sure you’ve examined all your options, you may need to look in surprising places. Lynn Ozer, who coordinates government-guaranteed lending for Susquehanna Bank, says many businesses may not know about the USDA Business & Industry Guaranteed Loan Program.
“Mention a lending program operated by the Department of Agriculture, and many people may believe that only farmers and agri-businesses are eligible,” Ozer said. “The reality is that this source of funding may be available to businesses in small towns, and even companies who do not think of their location as ‘rural’.”
The B&I Guaranteed Loan Program can offer loans of up to $25 million, with 60-80% guaranteed by the government, which makes them appealing to banks and other lenders. The goal is to support economic growth and create jobs in rural or less populated communities.
So, how do you find out if your location is eligible to apply? The USDA has made it easy by creating an Income and Property Eligibility Site. Check out the site, and you’ll see that many areas served by Susquehanna Bank are eligible, including much of central Pennsylvania, western Maryland and southern New Jersey.
In fact, Susquehanna and the USDA recently partnered to finance the development of a convention and exposition center in a town near Philadelphia. Now local stores and restaurants can draw business from people attending events at the center.
Old MacDonald had a farm, and O.L. MacDonald had a factory. What they both need is curiosity about new sources of financing and the phone number of a knowledgeable lender.