The chief administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration says Iowa merchants are suffering more than those in most other states because of the war in Iraq. Hector Baretto says Iowa has one of the country’s highest per capita National Guard and Reserve response rates which is leaving many small businesses shorthanded. Baretto says 98-percent of all Iowa businesses are considered small businesses — that’s 210,000 businesses. When one employee out of a small staff of two or three is called up by the military, he says it can put the business in a very tough spot. Baretto says as many as 3700 Guard and Reservists are being called up from Iowa, many of whom work in or own small businesses, and their departures are leaving a big vacuum. The Military Reservist Economic Injury Loan program has been around since the latter half of 2001. Baretto says small businesses that qualify can be eligible for loans of up to $1.5 million at four-percent interest, or less, for up to 30 years. For more information, call 800-U-ASK-SBA, call one of the Iowa S-B-A offices in Des Moines or Cedar Rapids, or surf the Internet to www.sba.gov.
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