Small businesses requiring growth capital in the tough-to-find $250,000-to-$5 million range can turn to the Small Business Administration's Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program. The SBA licenses SBICs – privately organized and managed venture-capital firms – to make loans exclusively to small companies. The financing isavailable to:
- Small businesses only, defined by the SBA as those with a net worth of $18 million or less and with after-tax earnings of $6 million or less for the past two years.
- Nearly every type of business.
- Businesses owned by social or economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs, through Specialized Small Business Investment Companies (SSBICs) investing only in these types of businesses.
Choose debt or equitySBICs and SSBICs use their own capital plus funds raised through the SBA to make equity capital and long-term loans. Debenture SBICs focus on more mature companies, providing debt or debt-with-equity loans. Participating-securities SBICs are able to invest in younger companies with pure equity investments.
detailed rules from the SBA.
Craft your pitchSBICs will expect to see a detailed business plan laying out your strategy and your financials.
Contact an SBIC or SSBICThey're located throughout the country, but they differ in dollar limits of financing, investment policies, and preferences for certain types of and locations of businesses.
SBA and the National Association of Small Business Investment Companies.
- Although SBICs and SSBICs have their own investment criteria, they make exceptions in some cases.
- There is no rule about how long it should take an SBIC or SSBIC to decide on an application, so it's wise to determine your company's needs and to research SBICs long before you'll need the money.
- Financing is tailored to meet the needs of the business and the SBIC.