Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Event to match businesses, lenders


CARBONDALE-A lender and business matchmaking event will aim to provide small business owners access to capital. "Meet The Lenders," is co-sponsored by the Small Business Administration and the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The event will be held from 9 a.m. to noon June 16 at Holiday Inn Conference Center in Carbondale. The event is free to attend and seeks to aid small business owners or potential small business owners learn about the different types of commercial loan opportunities in Southern Illinois.

Emily Carter, director of entrepreneurship and business development at SIUC, said the participants will learn about the many programs, loans and funding options available to small businesses. Carter said the event will allow participants the opportunity to speak directly with commercial loan officers. She said it's a great opportunity for small business owners who are in the start-up phase of their business to make a connection to lenders.

"A lot people in the community may be in the start up phase of their business," she said. "We hope it will provide direct access to lenders and the opportunity to build a relationship with lenders."

Carter said organizers hope to draw more than 150 participants, but seating is limited and interested parties are asked to RSVP to the Illinois Small Business Development Center.

Small businesses will meet one-on-one with loan officers from participating Small Business Administration lenders. Interested participants are encouraged to bring their business plan to discuss their business loan proposal with lenders.

Valerie Ross, branch manager with the Springfield SBA, said the Small Business Administration will discuss how loan program funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allows the organization to help small businesses in need. She said funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has allowed the SBA to further reduce the risk to lenders by guaran-teeing a higher percentage of loans. She said the additional funding allows them to guarantee 90 percent of a small business loan and allows the SBA to waive the one time guarantee fee for small business owners.

Ross said participants will also learn about small business loan programs available through federal, state and community agencies.

She said organizers are encouraging anyone interested to attend because the event will provide critical information about capital.

"Access to capital, that's what it's all about," Ross said. "We encourage business owners to come out. There's no fee, it's one morning of their time and they should take advantage of this opportunity.



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