William Manger

The head of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s lending operation will be in Sioux City today to meet with lenders and to visit businesses that are prospering thanks, in part, to SBA. loans.

Bill Manger, director of the SBA’s Office of Capital Access, says he’s promoting the agency’s Lender Match initiative. It is a free online referral tool that connects entrepreneurs and small business owners with SBA. approved lenders. “It allows an individual and small businessperson to go online, request capital by filling out a short form, and that will go out to lenders in the area,” Manger says. “Within 48 hours, the small business will hear back if there is someone interested in making a loan to that small business.”

Lender Match is a fairly new program for the SBA. and Manger says it’s proving to be very useful. “Since we’ve had the platform up and running, we’ve had almost four-and-a-half million hits on it and actually almost 200,000 connections made between small businesses and lenders,” Manger says. “We are seeing success from it and we’re making further enhancements to it.”

The SBA. is working closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in order to reach out to rural areas where people want to start or expand small businesses.  “We have one instance where the Department of Agriculture made $25 million available to a business and we made $5 million available to that business,” Manger says. “So, it’s a $30 million loan this small business got and they’ve been able to build this business and manufacture denim for export.”

Manger says the SBA’s Rural Outreach Initiative is designed to boost small business formation and growth to create jobs and improve the health of local communities. The agency is also encouraging lenders to make loans in counties designated as “rural” by offering them reduced fees.