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Local entrepreneurs benefit from Small Business Administration program

Published: Friday, Aug. 21 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

Six months ago, Robert Adams would never have guessed that he would be the owner of a profitable small business. But thanks in part to a government program, he and his wife, Teresa, are happy to be living their American dream.

Adams is the co-owner and director of nursing at the Midtown Manor Care Center in Salt Lake City. The 35-year old father of four is a registered nurse by trade and had never been a business owner before but said he always had aspirations of becoming an entrepreneur.

"I pinch myself still," he told the Deseret News. "I can't believe it happened."

The Adamses are beneficiaries of a U.S. Small Business Administration effort funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The program appropriated $730 million dollars in funding to the agency, aimed at expanding access to investment capital for small businesses nationwide.

The Recovery Act contains tax breaks, market enhancements and strong lending programs, which help foster job creation and restart lending to small businesses, according to the Recovery.gov Web site. The SBA plan temporarily eliminates loan fees and increases loan guarantees, agency administrator Karen Mills said.

Mills spoke at a news conference at Midtown Manor on Thursday. The nursing home provides long-term care for just over 70 patients, most of whom are veterans, Mills said.

Locally, SBA programs have aided approximately 1,900 small businesses since last October, according to Stan Nakano, SBA district director in Utah.

"The state has a very pro-business climate," he said. "If the lender is willing to make the loan, we can now guarantee up to 90 percent of these loans."

In addition to increasing start-up funding capital, the SBA also implemented the America's Recovery Capital loan program to assist existing, otherwise profitable small businesses that are adversely affected by the economic downturn, Hayley Matz, SBA press secretary, told the Deseret News.

The ARC program provides up to $35,000 in no-interest, deferred-payment loans to viable businesses to help them make debt payments, she said.

"It's a bridge over troubled water, if you will," she said. "They need a little help to pay some bills … to make sure they see the end of this recession."

Mary Mark, president of litigation support services company Mark & Associates, told the Deseret News that the ARC program was just the help she needed to keep her business going during this tough economic time.

"We had our best year ever last year, then February hit and we went down," she said. "This was a bit of a bailout for me to get to the next level."

Mark said she was grateful to have resources available to keep her company afloat until the economy rebounds. Meanwhile, Adams said he was glad to have the chance to build a business that could support his family and help the community.

He noted that the process of getting the loan and taking over the nursing home took four months, and was not without its challenges. But in just a short time, the facility is already turning a profit, he said.

"It was stressful," Adams said, "but there is no question that it was worth it."

For more information on SBA programs, visit www.sba.gov/recovery or contact the Utah district office at 801-524-3209 or www.sba.gov/localresources/district/ut/index.html.

e-mail: jlee@desnews.com

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