The US Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that a pilot program designed to connect underserved small businesses has been made permanent and will be called the Community Advantage Program.
Isabel Guzman, administrator of the SBA, made the announcement at the Opportunity Finance Network annual meeting that the Community Advantage Loan Pilot Program will end on October 31 to make way for the permanent version.
More than 140 lenders are participating. They will have access to 7(a) loans to serve businesses that historically have been excluded from access to capital due to limited financial resources and many other systemic barriers.
The pilot program began in 2011 and lent over $141 million in fiscal year 2023, compared to $86 million in fiscal year 2020.
“Access to capital remains the greatest barrier for entrepreneurs looking to add jobs or start and grow their businesses—especially women, people of color, veterans, and rural and [low- and moderate-income] communities,” Guzman said. “Under the Biden-Harris Administration, the SBA has prioritized closing longstanding capital gaps by expanding the number of lenders focused on underserved markets so these highly entrepreneurial communities can power our economy.”