Getting Your Share of the Recovery Package

Barbara Weltman

With the federal government spending billions on infrastructure and other projects as well as helping to loosen up the credit market, how can you as a small business benefit? Here are some ideas to help you claim your share of the recovery package.

The American Recovery
and Reinvestment Act provides $730 million to the Small Business Administration (SBA) and makes changes to this agency's lending and investment programs. These should help small businesses gain better access to capital now. Some programs to explore:

  • Increased SBA guarantees of up to 90% under its basic loan program as well as elimination of the fees. The elimination of the fees will remain in effect until the end of the calendar year or until the funding is exhausted.
  • Expansion of the 7(a) microloan program.
  • A new loan program called the ARC (America's Recovery Capital) Stabilization Loan, to help "viable" small businesses meet up to six months of existing loan payments (other than existing SBA loans). The program allows borrowing up to $35,000 from private lenders that is 100% SBA-guaranteed; repayment does not begin until one year after the funds have been dispersed. Eligibility rules are currently in development at the SBA.

For loan opportunities, check You can also complete a short questionnaire to determine eligibility for any of the loan programs listed here.

Caution: While the money may be there, access to it may be limited for struggling businesses who cannot meet lending standards.

Construction projects
There are numerous projects across the country. The trick is to find out how you can get in on the action:

  • To learn how you can participate in Recovery Act opportunities, visit the General Services Administration.
  • To find opportunities within the entire federal contracting community, visit and click on the "Search Recovery Opportunities" button.
  • For general information about federal procurement resources for small businesses, go to the SBE Council.
  • Join The Federal Contractor Network (TFCN), a social networking site, to learn the buzz on federal contract opportunities.

Caution: Wihle there are supposed ot be set-asides for small businesses (23% of federal contracting should go to small businesses), in the past large corporations co-opted many of these contracts. It remains to be seen whether this problem can be corrected so smaller companies garner a fair share of the projects.

If you need a surety bond to compete for construction and service contracts, the SBA has increased the amount of coverage available through its
surety bond guarantee program to $5 million (up from $2 million). Small contractors can apply online through the e-application system or call 1-800-U ASK SBA.

Barbara Weltman, author of several books including her most recent, 1001 Deductions & Tax Breaks 2009
Copyright 2009. All Rights Reserved.

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