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(Washington, DC)- U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen has cosponsored the Small Business Access to Capital Act (S. 1832), which would further enable refinancing through the 504 loan program and increase the limit of small business loans backed by the Small Business Administration (SBA). These provisions will help improve access to much-needed capital for small business owners.

"Small businesses create jobs and stimulate local economies, and, in New Hampshire, small businesses are the engine of the state's economy," said Shaheen. "To end the recession, it is essential that we provide small business owners the capital they need so that they can keep their doors open, hire more employees and grow their businesses in the very difficult economic environment."

"As the director of a business incubator, I am extremely pleased with the outcomes of the ‘Small Business Access to Capital Act' and am grateful to Senator Shaheen for her part.  Increasing the SBA loan amounts available to small businesses will go a long way towards helping businesses to move forward in the current economic climate," said Julie Gustafson, president and CEO of the Amoskeag Business Incubator.

The bill, which was introduced yesterday, would:

  • Increase the maximum 7(a) loan to $5 million (up from a maximum of $2 million).
  • Increase the maximum 504 loan to $5.5 million (up from a maximum of $1.5 million).
  • Increase the maximum microloan to $50,000 (up from a maximum of $35,000).
  • Enhance the ability of 504 loans to be used to refinance existing commercial real estate loans.
  • Allow microloan intermediaries to have greater access to technical assistance grants.
  • Increase the amount that a New Market Venture Capital Company can invest in any one company, helping fast-growing businesses located in areas with chronic underemployment.
  • Remove the Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) contracting exemption that was included in the Recovery Act.
  • Allow ARC loans to be used to help borrowers with existing 7(a) loans.


In her first year in the U.S. Senate, Senator Shaheen, who is a member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, has focused heavily on small business issues.  She persuaded the SBA to make loan guarantees available to 70,000 additional businesses; voted to allow small businesses to use fiscal year 2008 losses to offset profits made during the previous five years, enabling businesses hit the hardest to obtain substantial tax refunds; cosponsored legislation recently passed by the Senate to reauthorize and strengthen the Small Business Innovation Research  (SBIR)and Small Business Technology Transfer programs; and cosponsored legislation to strengthen SBA programs that assist small exporters, as well as legislation that will make sure the Overseas Private Investment Corporation dedicates resources to small business. Shaheen has also established a Small Business Advisory Council, which is made up of small business owners from across the state.