From coffee houses to barber shops and all sorts of home-based ventures, the Iowa office of the U.S. Small Business Administration says it was a record year for start-ups and expansions in the state. S-B-A district director Joe Folsom says the just-ended fiscal year saw dramatic increases in the number of loans made to Iowans and in the amount of dollars loaned. Folsom says the loan volume was up 31-percent over the previous fiscal year, which was up 22-percent from the year before, “so we’ve been on a steady upward climb.” The S-B-A made 821 loans in Iowa over the past fiscal year, up from 626 the previous year. The dollar value of the loans nearly reached 139-million dollars — that’s up nearly 16-percent from the year before. Folsom credits the Iowa economy. “It’s an increased volume due to an increase in overall economic activity with an upturn in the economic conditions relative to the recession we’d had earlier. I think there are some greater opportunities out there.” Folsom says small business loans to several key minority groups also rose in Iowa. Small business loans to veterans rose from 53 to 83 in the past year, while loans to women bounded from 128 to 166 statewide. Loans to members of the minority community also rose. The top ten Iowa counties for S-B-A loans are: Black Hawk, Johnson, Linn, Polk, Pottawattamie, Scott, Sioux, Story, Webster and Woodbury.
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