The U.S. Small Business Administration approved 439 loans for $78.2 million to small businesses in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands during fiscal year 2019, a 35 and 28 percent increase, respectively, from the previous year. Of the total loans approved, 189 for $39 million were for small businesses in rural areas.
“Fiscal year 2019 brought with it many challenges, but also much success,” SBA Puerto Rico and USVI District Director Yvette Collazo said in a statement released Monday.
“While it is true that our economy continues to recover two years after the devastation left behind by hurricanes Irma and Maria, it is also true that our entrepreneurs are resilient and persevering. Our results speak for themselves. Small businesses continue to start and grow, and they look to the SBA to help meet their financial needs,” she said.
According to the statement, as of Sept. 30, the SBA approved 384 loans for $56.7 million under the agency’s 7(a) Loan Guaranty program, which provides financing for a variety of general business purposes, such as working capital, expansion or renovation of facilities, the purchase of machinery and equipment and the purchase of land, among others. Through its Certified Development Company program – designed to promote economic development by creating jobs through long-term, fixed financing – the SBA delivered 55 loans for $21.5 million.
Also, to help bring access to capital to more aspiring and existing small businesses, during fiscal year 2019 the SBA welcomed Cooperativa de Ahorro y Crédito Jesús Obrero and stateside micro-lender Latino Economic Development Center to its family of authorized lenders in Puerto Rico. In addition, Puerto Rico micro-lender Corporación para el Fomento Económico del Comercio y de las Comunidades (COFECC) received approval to expand its coverage to the U.S. Virgin Islands.