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Jan 26, 201501:04 PMOpen Mic

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Wisconsin businesses spur growth with SBA lending, mentorship

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Last week, Americans saw Colorado sub shop owner Carolyn Reed at the State of the Union address, representing America’s small businesses and helping to emphasize their importance in driving the economic recovery.

Only two years ago, Wisconsin’s Deb Carey occupied that seat. Deb and her husband started New Glarus Brewing Co. in New Glarus, Wis., in 1993. They relied on SBA counseling to get the business started, and they grew the business with SBA guaranteed lending to buy their first warehouse. Today, New Glarus Brewing employs 50 people and is the number one microbrewery in Wisconsin by sales volume.

Deb Carey’s story is the story of thousands of small Wisconsin companies — helped by SBA-guaranteed loans and counseling — that contribute to Wisconsin’s economic growth. Since 2009, SBA has guaranteed more than 11,000 loans totaling $3.5 billion to Badger State small businesses. These businesses reported retaining more than 99,000 jobs and creating nearly 33,000 more — all during the Great Recession. 

In 2014 alone, Wisconsin banks guaranteed 1,674 loans for $542 million. Of these, 534 went to new businesses that most likely would not have received financing without the SBA’s guarantee. They now have the precious chance to create jobs and spend money building their businesses, in the process contributing to economic prosperity for their communities. From 2009 to 2014, new businesses financed with SBA loans in Wisconsin reported creating nearly 13,000 new jobs — jobs that would not have existed without these loans.

Last year, SBA sought to make funds more accessible than ever by eliminating fees on loans of $150,000 and less. This strategy benefits the small Main Street businesses that make up the fabric of our state. More than 800 Wisconsin firms saved $950 in fees on average, with savings totaling more than $700,000 for borrowers. For example, Milwaukee’s Purple Door Ice Cream Shoppe used an SBA Community Advantage loan offered through community-based lenders to expand into a new space in Milwaukee’s urban, low-income Walker’s Point neighborhood. The company saved on fees and created 12 jobs. And it is not alone — Wisconsin is a national leader in small loans for the second year running.

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