A thriving small-business community is essential for any local economy -- Lincoln included.
When you consider the rigors our mom-and-pop shops and family-owned restaurants have been forced to endure at the hands of COVID over the last 18 months, it's important we consider their needs during these challenging times.
In addition, it's just as vital that we continue to foster the seeds of entrepreneurialism as we move forward. We need to continue being open to new ideas, business plans and commercial ventures, while providing the tools necessary to those with the courage to bring their ideas to market.
That's where the Nebraska Economic Development Corp., is making a difference, reports the Journal Star's Matt Olberding. The Small Business Administration lender specializes in what are known as 504 loans, which allow businesses to buy large equipment or build, buy or expand buildings.
The statistics show that it is allowing new businesses to open their doors, while providing opportunities for other small businesses to expand their operations.
In fact, powered by loans processed by NEDCO and other lending organizations, the SBA shattered the all-time record for the amount of loans guaranteed in Nebraska, with nearly $244 million in its 2021 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30. That was $90 million more than 2020 and nearly $80 million more than the record of $167.5 million set in 2011.
The $244 million only represents traditional SBA-backed loans. The SBA also guaranteed more than $1.9 billion in Paycheck Protection Program loans in Nebraska in fiscal 2021 and more than $1.2 billion in Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
The SBA said its 2021 lending in Nebraska either created or saved nearly 5,900 jobs.
And that's why programs like this need to continue. Small business is our economic backbone -- a vital piece that strengthens our local economy.
Lincoln has to continue doing all it can to ensure there is a path for a diverse field of entrepreneurs.
The SBA should continue to provide a roadmap for fledgling businesses with training necessary to transform those good ideas into solid business plans and potentially vibrant commercial enterprises.
By preparing potential business owners and putting them in contact with lenders, small business will prove itself as a vital cog in Lincoln's economic landscape.
We understand that all new business ideas come with their share of financial risk to everyone involved. Preparing entrepreneurs for what awaits them during these challenging economic times will make the process more efficient.