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Small businesses eligible for United States SBA loan

By By Adrienne McKenzie
Assistance for small business owners in Escambia County is available with the click of a mouse.
The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) declared that federal disaster loans are now available to small businesses in Baldwin, Covington, Escambia, Geneva and Houston counties because of recent droughts.
"These counties are eligible because they are contiguous to one or more primary counties in the state of Florida," director of SBA field operations center east Frank Skaggs said. "The Small Business Administration recognizes that disasters do not usually stop at the county or state lines. For that reason, counties adjacent to primary counties named in the declaration are included."
According to an SBA press release, loans are issued in order to help small business owners when a disaster is declared.
"When the secretary of agriculture issues a disaster declaration to help farmers recover from damages and losses to crops, SBA issues a declaration to assist small businesses affected by the same disaster," Skaggs said.
SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program is for both farm-related and nonfarm-related small business owners. Farmers and ranchers are not allowed to apply to the SBA, but nurseries are.
Eligible small businesses may be eligible for up to $1.5 million. The loans are available at a 4 percent interest rate with terms up to 30 years, according to the release.
Also, small business owners in Baldwin, Choctaw, Clarke, Escambia, Green, Hale, Marengo, Mobile, Pickens, Sumter, Tuscaloosa and Washington counties can who were affected by the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes can also apply for an EIDL loan until Dec. 31.
"The 2005 hurricane season was one of the most destructive on record," U.S. senator Richard Shelby said in a release. "It is critical that we aid the people, businesses and communities of Alabama and the Gulf Coast who were affected by these natural disasters. I encourage small business owners who suffered financial losses as a result of the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes to apply for these loans before the deadline on Dec. 31."
To apply for an SBA loan, visit www.sba.gov to download an application or call the agency's customer service center at 1-800-659-2955.