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Q: I own a small business that provides mechanical, plumbing, fire protection, and electrical engineering services in Atlanta. I am in need of operating capital but find it very difficult to obtain a business loan due to my lack of years in business and credit worthiness.
–C. Davis, Smyrna, Georgia
A : Obtaining financing with a lackluster credit rating is beyond challenging. But here are a few resources you can tap into that may pan out.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has what they call a Microloan Program (www .sba.gov). Through this program, entrepreneurs can borrow small loans (less than $35,000) and take up to three years to repay them. This program was developed to increase the availability of small loans to prospective borrowers.
If the loan you need exceeds $35,000, contact the local SBA district office in Atlanta or Georgia State University’s Small Business Development Center at 404-651-3550. Although it doesn’t offer any financing, it can provide direct advice and help you prepare a loan application.
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency has a few services and programs that you can use. Their regional office is located at:
401 W. Peachtree St., N.W. Suite 1715Atlanta, GA 30308404-730-3300
Finally, you might also want to check with the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce to see if they have any resources you can tap. They can be reached toll-free at 888-96-WOMEN or log on at www.uswomenschamber.com.
For people living in other regions of the country, check local listings for contact information near you.