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Alaska, the Last Frontier State, offers almost unlimited opportunities for entrepreneurs to start new businesses and expand existing ones. The banks and other financial institutions, including state and local government agencies, have a multitude of loan programs to aid small businesses in their journey.
Lenders in Alaska have experience in making loans to all types of small businesses, such as agriculture, fishing, and tourism. Loans can be either short-term for temporary needs or long-term for acquisition of fixed assets.
Loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA) are attractive to banks and other lenders because the loans have partial guarantees from a federal agency. SBA loans can be used to increase working capital, fund increases in inventory, purchase equipment, or buy real estate. Small businesses like SBA loans because of their low interest rates and long repayment terms.
A line of credit is a flexible form of financing that can be used to support working capital increases during busy seasons or increases in inventory for large orders. The lender establishes a maximum amount of a line of credit. You can draw down against the line of credit as needed and repay the loan as cash flow becomes available.
You can use a term loan to finance major projects—like a plant expansion or an acquisition—that require larger amounts of money. The loans are repaid over several years, and the interest rate can be either fixed or variable, depending on the lender.
Equipment finance loans allow you to purchase expensive pieces of machinery and spread the payments out over several years. This way, you don’t have to lay out all of the money up front, and you get to use and benefit from the equipment immediately.
If you are selling to your customers on credit terms, you can use your account receivables as collateral, and a lender will advance the funds to you immediately upon creation of the invoices. The loan advance will be repaid when your customer pays the invoice, but you get use of the funds sooner than having to wait until they pay.
The Last Frontier State has numerous commercial banks, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations that offer loans to small businesses.
Spruce Root Loan Program works with businesses to develop a plan, budget, and financial structure and create loan terms that fit the business’ needs.
State of Alaska Loan Programs work through the Division of Economic Development to provide loans for businesses in the fishing industry, agriculture, or alternative energy.
Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority participates with Alaskan financial institutions in purchasing long-term loans that can be used to finance projects that will enhance the state’s businesses.
Alaska Commercial Fishing and Agriculture Bank is a member-owned cooperative set up to finance businesses operating in agriculture, commercial fishing, tourism, or natural resources.
Southeast Alaska Revolving Loan Fund is a non-profit institution that finances projects that will increase or retain jobs in Southeast Alaska.
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See which credit cards you qualify for before choosing the one that best suits your business needs and offers the cash rewards you’re looking for.
Once you choose a card, you can get approved in as little as 7-10 days.
The Alaska Small Business Development Center offers guidance and advice to small business owners, whether starting up a new one or expanding existing businesses. The SBDC can provide on-site services in addition to online support. The Anchorage Economic Development Corporation is a nonprofit organization that connects business owners with local community and government resources.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has an office in Anchorage that can arrange SBA loans and provide consulting advice to entrepreneurs and business owners.
Alaska has a grants program that supports minority women entrepreneurs to build their businesses and secure contracts to increase jobs. Another Alaskan program provides grants to graduate students to pursue projects that benefit specialty crop industries.
If you think your Alaska business may qualify for a federal grant, it’s highly recommended that you take a look at Grants.gov.
Before you apply for a loan with a lender, you need to choose a business structure. In the beginning, a sole proprietorship may work if you only have yourself and a couple of employees, but as you grow and add more people, you’ll want to either incorporate or form a limited liability company. At this point, you’ll need to register the company with the Alaska Secretary of State.
The lender will want to see that you’ve carefully considered the need for a loan and that it fits into the debt structure and cash flow of your business. As you present documentation stating the purpose of the loan, a description of the collateral that will adequately secure the loan, and the schedule on which you intend to pay the loan back, the lender will then make a choice to extend financing to your business or not.
Loans should be structured according to their purpose. Let’s say you’re in the business of drilling for oil in Alaska. If you need heavy-duty trucks to carry materials and supplies to the job site, these purchases should be financed with long-term loans, payable over a few years. On the other hand, if you’re using the money to purchase the supplies, such as drilling fluids, carried by the trucks, then short-term loans or a revolving line of credit would be the best financing method. Online platforms, such as Lendio, have financial advisors who can listen to a business owner’s needs and match them up with the appropriate type of financing.
Businesses typically need more money than just the owner’s equity to operate. Taking out loans and various other forms of debt is part of funding the growth and operations of a business. Retail businesses, for example, will need more funds during the holiday season to carry higher levels of inventory that can be financed with short-term loans. And long-term loans can enable an owner to purchase expensive machinery and equipment without having to lay out all cash up front. Loans play a vital role in the growth and development of any business.
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