International Women’s Day is an opportunity to acknowledge the tremendous contributions women have made to the business world. Women are at the helm of some of the world’s biggest corporations—General Motors, Pepsi, Yahoo, IBM, Deloitte and Mondelez [Mondelēz] among them—and women own 10.6 million companies in the United States.
This is also the time to recognize that there are still not enough women in business, and the world is missing out on an untold amount of talent and insight because of this shortage. Happily, even as women face barriers in the business world, there is abundant support available as well, in the form of mentoring, networking, grants and equitably accessible credit. The Small Business Administration (SBA) plays a leading role in providing this support, and the 504 loan is one of its mainstays.
Leveling the Playing Field for Women in Business
“This generation of women has been brought up with this unspoken expectation of equality,” a business consultant told Entrepreneur magazine in a recent article that documents the increasing presence of women in franchising. But there is still a long way to go to reach that equality in practice.
One of the most basic impediments to women in business is lack of access to credit. This challenge is widely recognized and many ways have emerged for women to find support. Extensive lists available of financing options, including grants, tailored to women. Some finance companies offer non traditional financing methods such as factoring or business lines of credit for women business owners as well.
Beyond providing a list of women’s professional organizations, the SBA Office of Women’s Business Ownership runs over 100 Women’s Business Centers that strive to “level the playing field” for women through training and counseling. The SBA 8(a) Business Development Program is another valuable resource for women, as are the SCORE volunteer mentoring program and the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program, which helps woman-owned businesses receive federal contracts.
There are SBA funded microloans and other microloan programs which are also valuable resources for women in business. Women in the San Francisco Bay Area can also take advantage of Working Solutions, a nonprofit organization co founded by TMC Financing CEO Barbara Morrison dedicated to providing microentrepreneurs access to capital and resources to start or grow a successful business.
The role of SBA loans in financing woman-owned business was acknowledged by Entrepreneur’s research on franchises. “The average SBA loan given to a female franchisee acting as the sole owner has risen roughly 22.5%” between 2013 and 2017, the author noted. That compares to a 5.76% increase in loan size for male franchisees. “In other words, the women are catching up with the men,” the article concludes.
Advantages of the SBA 504 Loan
The accessibility and affordability of the 504 loan are among its greatest advantages. The vast majority of American businesses are eligible for a 504 loan. The main eligibility requirements are:
- The business must be for-profit
- The business’s tangible net worth cannot exceed $15 million
- The business’s after-tax profit for the last two years cannot exceed $5 million
A 504 loan can be used to:
- purchase land or buildings
- construct, upgrade or renovate buildings
- purchase equipment with a service life of ten years or more
- refinance conventional debt
The 504 loan is administered by a Certified Development Company (CDC) such as TMC, and loans are granted in conjunction with a conventional lender (bank or credit union) that provides 50% or more of the total. The borrower’s CDC facilitates the SBA loan for up to 40%, or $5 million ($5.5 million for manufacturing projects or if the project includes energy-efficiency measures), at a fixed, below-market rate. The borrower provides 10% of the project cost as a down payment. Certain types of facilities are classified as single-purpose properties by the SBA and require a 15% down payment.
A 504 loan takes roughly the same amount of time to process as the average bank loan. Prequalifying for the 504 loan as early as possible helps speed it up. The only documents required to prequalify for a 504 loan are:
- Three years of personal and business tax returns
- A personal financial statement
- Interim financials
The 504 loan provides accessible financing with flexible and cost-effective options designed to help small businesses grow, and advances the progress of women in business across the country.
Client Success Story
Corporate Couture is a woman-owned business that creates customized corporate gifts. The company’s services include design, packaging, mailings, inventorying, delivery logistics and everything it takes to create a company store of branded merchandise and gifts.
Corporate Couture secured a 504 loan through TMC to purchase a 4,652-square foot office building in Danville, CA to provide themselves with increased space and greater long-term stability than they had in their former leased space. Their 504 loan provided net $922,000 of the $2.3 million total project cost. Today, it can boast some of the biggest clients in the business world, including YouTube, Pepsi, Google, Amazon, Lyft, Twitter and eBay.
You can find out more about what a 504 loan can do for your business from one of TMC Financing’s 504 loan experts. TMC is an SBA Premier Certified Lender and a high-volume loan provider. With over 35 years of experience, TMC can help you find the financing that is best for you and guide you through the 504 loan process. Contact TMC Financing today.