Wanted: blacks to train in business Local SBA, BCCC to teach how to get started, and expand

Goal is to quadruple loans


September 21, 1998|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF

The local office of the U.S. Small Business Administration has begun a partnership with Baltimore City Community College to provide training for African-America business owners and budding entrepreneurs in the city.

The training is part of the SBA's nationwide effort to lend $1.4 billion to African-American small businesses.

The partnership will provide workshops Saturdays at BCCC's Liberty Heights campus beginning Oct. 24.

The plan is to train city residents on how to start and expand a business, and then consult with the SBA on how to get a loan, said Cortez Walker, a program coordinator in BCCC's Business and Information Systems Department.

"Classes such as these are often offered in the suburbs or the fringes of Baltimore," he said.

"We're trying to make sure that people in the city of Baltimore have access to business information," said Walker, who teaches marketing and entrepreneurship and will preside over many of the workshops. They will cost $15 each, he said.

BCCC will market the workshops -- on topics such as business plan preparation and marketing a business -- through community groups and churches, Walker said.

SBA officials said the partnership is part of its three-year plan to quadruple lending to African-American business owners to $1.4 billion.

The SBA awarded $286.4 million in federal loans to African-American small-business owners last year, SBA officials said.

Last fiscal year, the Baltimore district authorized 620 loan guarantees, up from 577 the previous year, totaling $120 million. A quarter of those were given to minorities, and 10 percent went to women, local officials said.

In May, the national SBA office signed memorandums of understanding with minority business groups -- such as the National Black Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce -- that required them to market the SBA's goals throughout their networks.

Since then, the Baltimore district office has entered into six agreements with local groups, including the Maryland Minority Contractors, the Funeral Directors and Morticians Association, Women Entrepreneurs of Baltimore, and now BCCC, said Joyce Evans, a spokeswoman for the local SBA office.

In the partnership, the SBA will provide resources to BCCC about business development and loan programs, and personnel to conduct seminars. In exchange, BCCC will provide space for the workshops, Walker said.

In the meantime, the SBA is steadily creating new loan programs, two of which were announced Friday by Aida Alvarez, SBA administrator.

The "Low Dock" program is available for business owners looking for loans of less than $100,000, and the "Express" program for $150,000 or less, Evans said.

The SBA will provide a 50 percent guarantee on the loans in a package that also allows businesses to receive unsecured lines of credit up to $25,000, she said.

Pub Date: 9/21/98

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