Small Business Lending & Access to Capital
Rapoza Associates represents a growing field of nontraditional small business lenders working in urban centers and rural communities to finance, support and grow small businesses that for a variety of reasons are unable to secure the capital they need from conventional lenders.
Building up communities, big and small.
In 1991, the firm helped launch the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Microloan Program. It was the first SBA program that worked through a network of local, nonprofit lending intermediaries to underwrite, finance and support new and emerging small businesses. In 2010, based on the success of the Microloan Program, the firm persuaded Congress to include a new small business lending pilot in the Small Business Jobs Act to address a capital gap facing slightly larger businesses. The firm also worked with Congress and the SBA to make SBA loan guarantees available to CDCs and other nontraditional lenders resulting in the Community Advantage (CA) pilot.
In order to continue building on the success of the SBA Microloan program, the firm worked with Congress to gain support for the highest level of funding in the history of the program. The firm also approached Members on updating and modernizing the Microloan legislation to improve access to more small entrepreneurs and improve efficiency. In April 2016, Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) introduced a bill to provide those updates and improve the program, as well as create greater flexibility for microlenders to provide technical assistance to businesses “upfront,” which is especially important for startups. The bill,The Microloan Program Modernization Act of 2016 (S. 2850), was marked up by the Senate Small Business Committee in June and is currently awaiting a floor vote.
In addition to managing the Friends of the SBA Microloan Program and lobbying on the program, Rapoza Associates conducts a survey of microlenders every two years to document the outcomes of SBA microlending around the country. The most recent report was released in May 2016.
Helping Rural America access capital.
Rapoza Associates is also responsible for legislation establishing and supporting appropriations for most of the USDA rural development direct loan and grant programs supporting economic development. This includes the Intermediary Relending Program (IRP) and the Rural Business Enterprise Grant program.
In addition, working with the Center for Rural Affairs Rapoza Associates drafted and persuaded Congress to include the Rural Micro-Entrepreneur Assistance Program in the 2007 farm bill. For more details on our work to revitalize and sustain rural communities’ economies, visit our Rural Development page.