WASHINGTON -- Though capital has been scarce for many small businesses, the U.S. Small Business Administration's growth capital program provided a record $1.59 billion in financing in fiscal year 2010 to spur growth and create jobs.
Financing increased 23 percent in fiscal year 2010, making it the highest single-year volume in the 50-year history of the SBA's Small Business Investment Co. debenture program. The increased volume is, in part, a result of changes made by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which increased the number of new SBIC licenses, decreased license processing time and initial capital to new funds.
Twenty-one new SBIC licenses were issued in fiscal year 2010, a 130 percent increase over the last four-year average. Processing time for a SBIC license also improved to 5.8 months, a nearly 60 percent decrease from an average of 14.6 months in 2009. SBA commitments to new funds also broke a 50-year record, increasing to $1.23 billion, a 135 percent jump from an average of $524.3 million in the previous four years.
"At a time when access to capital was tight, including from the traditional sources for growth capital, SBA helped fill some of that gap with a record amount of financing through our SBIC program," said Karen Mills, SBA administrator. "Across the country, there are small business owners and entrepreneurs who are well-positioned to take that next step, grow their business and create good-paying jobs. Our efforts to strengthen our program efficiency and increase funding available through the SBIC program has provided another critical tool to help these small businesses get the capital they need and drive economic growth."
Today, there are more than 300 SBICs with more than $16 billion in capital under management.