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Kentucky, the Bluegrass State famous for its thoroughbred horse racing, also has a broad economy driven by hundreds of small businesses. Supporting the startups and growth of these small businesses are numerous community banks, nonprofit financial organizations, and credit unions that are providing the loans these businesses need.
The established group of lenders in Kentucky know how to put together short-term and long-term financing options for small businesses in the Bluegrass State, especially those engaged in manufacturing, automotive-related Industries, aerospace, and agriculture.
Many small businesses take advantage of loans guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration because of their lower rates and flexible repayment terms. Lenders like to make SBA guaranteed loans because it reduces their risk. SBA offers both short- and long-term financing.
Businesses that need short-term financing should consider a revolving line of credit (LOC). When you have an LOC set up with your local bank or financial institution, you can draw down the funds you need when you need the money, and you only have to pay interest on the amount of the drawdown. The loan advances get repaid when your cash flow cycle turns positive.
Term loans are designed to finance the acquisition of fixed assets. You would want a term loan if you were purchasing property, opening a new location, or acquiring another business. Repayments are made in installments over several years.
Purchasing a new piece of equipment or replacing outdated machinery can get expensive and require a significant amount of cash. Rather than laying out all the money up front, you can use equipment financing options, which could be either a loan or a lease. With equipment financing, you’ll only have to make a little or no down payment, and repayment terms will be spread over several years.
When selling to their customers on credit terms, small businesses will sometimes need the cash before their customers pay their invoices. In these situations, an accounts receivable financing arrangement will solve the problem. Lenders can use your receivables as collateral and make an immediate advance up to a certain percentage against the face value of the invoices. You’ll receive the balance of your invoice when your customer pays.
Businesses that need funds to expand will find plenty of commercial banks, credit union, and nonprofit organizations in Kentucky that are willing to make loans to small businesses.
Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority offers financing to purchase or update equipment for small businesses engaged in manufacturing, agribusiness, or services and technology
Metropolitan Business Development Corporation provides loans to businesses located in Jefferson County for expansion, additions to working capital, equipment purchases, and commercial property improvements.
LiftFund uses funds donated by interested individuals and businesses to finance small business owners who want to expand and create new jobs that improve the economies of their communities.
Capital Access Corporation is a leading provider in the state of Kentucky for SBA 504 loans that can be used to purchase commercial properties or equipment.
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Small business owners in the Bluegrass State have a wide choice of other resources to go to for networking and advice. For example, the SBA maintains an office in Louisville that small business owners can contact when applying for SBA loans or seeking business advice. SCORE is a nonprofit organization staffed by volunteer business executives who provide advice and mentoring to small business owners who want to expand their operations.
The Kentucky Small Business Development Center, which is located in Lexington, provides seminars, training, and connections for small business owners to find financing.
You can search for grants available for businesses in Kentucky at GrantWatch.com. For federal grants to Kentucky businesses, go to Grants.gov. Women entrepreneurs will want to check the requirements for grants at AmberGrants.
To improve your chances of qualifying for a loan, find out the exact requirements that your lender is asking for. Typically, a lender will require your application to clearly state the purpose of the loan, the collateral being offered, and how your business will be able to produce the cash flow needed to pay the loan back. You will also need to present the last several years of income statements and balance sheets.
The type of loan you request depends on how you intend to use the money. If you’re looking to purchase long-term fixed assets, you’ll want to apply for a term loan or a loan that allows you to purchase commercial property. Short-term financial needs to make up temporary deficits in cash flow will need a short-term loan or a revolving line of credit.
In addition to putting up initial equity capital, businesses will need to borrow money from time to time to fund increases in working capital and purchases of fixed assets. Taking on debt in a small business increases the profitability of the business and improves the return on owner’s equity.
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