(This article originally appeared in The Guardian)
hree bills are working their way through Congress that can provide significant help for small businesses. Do you know what they all have in common? Welcome signs of bipartisan support for small business.
The first is the 504 Modernization and Small Manufacturer Enhancement Act of 2021. This bill, which passed the House in mid-April and is awaiting a Senate vote, is designed to make the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 504 Loan Program more accessible to manufacturers through certified development company (CDC) intermediaries. The manufacturers would be able to apply for the funding – which can be as much as $6.5m – if they can show that funds will be used for energy efficiency or aid in the revitalization of a disaster area. The bill increases the loan amount available for small manufacturers and relaxes some collateral requirements, as well requiring the SBA to provide training.
Why is this bill important? Because it directs capital to manufacturers and leverages the underused CDCs. “Too many people are not as familiar with institutions like certified development companies,” says the Democratic representative Sharice Davids, a co-sponsor of the bill. “But they have a really great track record of servicing and helping small businesses who are either unbanked or underbanked.”