A new online tool created by the Small Business Administration (SBA) was launched last week that would help to connect small business owners with SBA lenders. Called the Leveraging Information and Networks to access Capital (LINC), entrepreneurs looking for capital need simply to fill out an online form containing 20 questions. That information will then be sent out to various SBA lenders, who will get into contact with an applicant within 48 hours if there's a match to their specific business needs.
Finding money to fund a small business is a laborious task. Ask any entrepreneur who's managed to get their business off the ground, and they'll tell you that finding the initial capital to help turn ideas into reality is one of the most time-consuming (yet essential) aspects of starting a business. I mean, unless you've got many thousands of dollars saved up on the side, you're going to need find money from somewhere to launch your business. Throughout the country, thousands of small business owners go through the painstaking tasks of looking for capital to help their businesses grow – whether that be in the form of term loans, equipment financing, lines of credit, invoice financing, or real estate loans. The new tool by the SBA makes things a little bit easier by connecting these owners to the type of lenders that can help fulfill their specific needs, and just through a simple questionnaire.
The information that entrepreneurs provide through LINC are sent out to lenders in the applicant's county, as well as to other regional or national lenders. Within 48 hours, interested lenders will connect with the potential borrower. By doing it this way, the SBA has not only streamlined the process of finding additional capital for small business owners, but has also provided entrepreneurs the opportunity to go beyond their neighborhood bank in order to find the money they need.
According to the SBA, LINC will be rolled out in waves. The tool will begin by connecting entrepreneurs with nonprofit lenders offering free financial advice and specializing in micro lending, loans in the SBA's Community Advantage program, and real estate financing. Further down the road, they'll add traditional banks offering more financial products. Currently, 124 lenders across the SBA's lending programs are participating in LINC.
Lead image via Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com