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SBA announces new Patriot Express Loan initiative

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The SBA recently announced the new Patriot Express Pilot Loan as the latest extension to the financial, procurement, and technical assistance programs the agency provides to the military community. Patriot Express is a streamlined loan product based on SBA’s highly successful SBA Express Program, but with enhanced guarantee and interest rate characteristics.

Patriot Express is available to military community members including veterans, service-disabled veterans, active-duty service members participating in the military’s Transition Assistance Program, Reservists and National Guard members, current spouses of any of the above, and the widowed spouse of a service member or veteran who died during service, or of a service-connected disability.

The new Patriot Express Loan is offered by SBA’s network of participating lenders nationwide and features SBA’s fastest turnaround time for loan approvals. Loans are available up to $500,000 and qualify for SBA’s maximum guaranty of up to 85 percent for loans of $150,000 or less and up to 75 percent for loans over $150,000 up to $500,000. For loans above $350,000, lenders are required to take all available collateral.

The Patriot Express Loan can be used for most business purposes, including start-up, expansion, equipment purchases, working capital, inventory or business-occupied real-estate purchases.

Patriot Express Loans feature SBA’s lowest interest rates for business loans, generally 2.25 percent to 4.75 percent over prime depending upon the size and maturity of the loan. Local SBA district offices will have a listing of Patriot Express lenders in their areas. Details on the initiative can be found at www.sba.gov/patriotexpress

SBA provides programs and services for veterans and members of the military community wanting to establish or expand small businesses. SBA has veterans’ business development officers in district offices in every state and territory able to provide military community members full access to the SBA’s range of programs and services. There are also five Veterans Business Outreach Centers located in: Albany, N.Y; Pittsburgh, PA; Lynn Haven, Fla.; Edinburg, Texas; and Sacramento, Calif.

In addition to district offices, SBA’s resource partners SCORE, Counselors to America’s Small Business; Small Business Development Centers; and Women’s Business Centers provide local and online assistance with: writing a business plan, financing options to start or grow your business, managing the business, expanding the business and selling goods and services to the government.

For those who are already small business owners and who expect call-up, the SBA and its resource partners have expertise to assist with preparing their businesses before deployment, managing their businesses, selling goods and services to the government, obtaining other SBA financing and financial assistance, and obtaining loans for economic injury – Military Reserve Economic Injury Disaster Loans (MREIDL) – Loans of up to $1.5 million are available for small businesses sustaining economic injury because an owner or essential employee has been called to active duty as a military reservist.

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Small Business Success — Shilla Design Studios

When Shilla Tabrizi decided in 2004 to change careers and leave her conventional job as a landscape architect at an engineering and design consulting firm to start her own decorative glass business, her attorney gave her some sage advice right from the beginning: get in touch with SCORE: Counselors to America’s Small Businesses.

SCORE helps small businesses become established, grow and prosper; and offers low-cost business workshops and free initial and ongoing counseling either online, at the client’s place of business or at SCORE chapter offices and select Chambers of Commerce.

Between taking SCORE’s valuable and informative workshops and the personal attention and guidance she received from her counselor, Tabrizi’s Carlsbad business, Shilla Design Studios, got off to a rousing start. Specializing in architectural decorative glass used for glass partitions, table tops and windows, as well as cabinets and shower doors, the business is now thriving. She has already completed 85 projects – some commercial, some residential – and grossed $150,000 in sales revenue in 2005, her first year in business. There’s currently enough work to keep her and her two employees busy.

“Aside from establishing my business and watching it grow, what I have enjoyed the most is having another business owner who listens to me and understands all the fears and trepidations of starting a business and how to guide and support me through it all,” Tabrizi explained. “Lisa has continued to review my goals and decisions and has also identified possible pitfalls and challenges to watch out for. I am grateful that there are successful business owners out there who are prepared to invest their precious time in this way and pass on their wisdom to others, and all at no cost! I only hope that I may be able to do the same for others one day.”

Tabrizi’s counselor, Lisa Bentson, said the budding entrepreneur did all the right things when starting her business and wisely took her attorney’s advice about using SCORE to help her lay a strong foundation upon which to build the business.

“From the very beginning, Shilla did her homework and had the right attitude and a healthy enthusiasm about going off on her own,” Bentson said. “But that’s not always enough to guarantee success. You have to have a solid foundation about business when starting your own and she got that from the SCORE workshops and from the one-on-one counseling we did and continue to do. It’s extremely gratifying to see the results and know you played a part in her success. That’s what inspires me to continue my involvement in this organization and help others find their niche and thrive in business.”

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