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  • Writer's pictureOlga Nesterova

Alabama Receives $97 Million Boost for Small Businesses Under American Rescue Plan

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has greenlit Alabama’s ambitious plan to allocate up to $97 million under the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), marking a significant step in bolstering small business resilience and growth across the state. This funding, facilitated by the American Rescue Plan Act, aims to expand access to crucial capital and support entrepreneurship amidst ongoing economic recovery efforts.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo highlighted the pivotal role of SSBCI in fostering a thriving small business ecosystem nationwide.

"Expanding access to capital is key to continuing the historic small business boom that’s occurred under President Biden," Adeyemo remarked, emphasizing the initiative's impact on unlocking opportunities for entrepreneurs and communities in need.

Originally established and recently expanded by President Biden's administration, SSBCI now boasts nearly $10 billion in funding dedicated to empowering small businesses through targeted financial assistance and technical support. This initiative enables states, the District of Columbia, territories, and Tribal governments to tailor programs that address local economic challenges and promote small business stability and success.

Alabama’s approved allocation of $97.9 million will fund five strategic programs designed to meet diverse business needs across the state:

- Loan Guarantee Program: Providing assurances to lenders to facilitate increased access to capital for small businesses.

- Collateral Support Program: Creating cash collateral accounts to bolster loan collateral where deficiencies exist.

- Loan Participation Program: Enhancing financial partnerships to support small business financing efforts.

- Equity/Venture Capital Programs: Including two initiatives:

- Innovate Alabama Co-Investment Program ($16 million): Direct investments in early-stage companies.

- Innovate Alabama Fund-of-Funds Program ($9 million): Providing equity capital through venture capital fund investments.

A significant portion of Alabama’s SSBCI funding, approximately $26.9 million, will be directed towards the Innovate Alabama Collateral Support Program. This initiative aims to fortify loan collateral with participating lenders, addressing gaps that hinder small business access to financing.

Moreover, the equity/venture capital programs underscore Alabama's commitment to inclusivity and economic equity. These initiatives prioritize investments in startups led by women and minority entrepreneurs, as well as businesses situated in Alabama’s distressed communities. By partnering with venture capital funds dedicated to underserved businesses, Alabama aims to foster an environment where all entrepreneurs can thrive.

The Treasury Department’s efforts in implementing SSBCI are crucial in ensuring equitable distribution of resources to historically underserved small businesses and communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. As Alabama moves forward with these initiatives, the focus remains on fostering economic recovery and sustainable growth statewide.

The approval of Alabama’s SSBCI plan represents a significant milestone in the state’s efforts to empower its small business sector, reflecting a concerted national commitment to economic revitalization and resilience in the face of unprecedented challenges.

Source: Department Of Treasury, July 2, 2024


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