Good guys can get federal funds, too


POSTED: Friday, March 20, 2009

Taxpayer-funded bonuses for failing executives are getting all the attention, but federal money is also available to bolster the backbone of America's economy - small business.

The U.S. Small Business Administration has started to implement two key provisions of the Recovery Act - and funds are available for “;everything from startups to existing businesses,”; said Karen Sakihama, acting Hawaii District director.

One provision eliminates certain loan fees, while another increases the level of guarantees on some SBA loans to 90 percent.

“;The fee elimination makes the cost of borrowing less expensive and the higher guarantee reduces the risk on the part of the banks,”; making them potentially “;more willing to consider a small business for funding,”; Sakihama said.

There is no geographical allocation for the funds and “;the maximum loan amount is $2 million,”; he said.

Some special programs have different caps, however.

SBA Hawaii is reaching out to small businesses in various ways, through SBA resource days at local banks, “;advertising frequently throughout the media”; and appearing at different community functions.

Its event calendar can be found online, along with a multitude of recovery-fund resources. Information on private consultations is also on the Hawaii SBA site.

A break for spring break

Honolulu is among Travelocity's recommended list of eight cities offering deep discounts for spring- break travel, as its average room rates are down 15 percent from last year.

Of the other cities, Las Vegas hotels' average rates are down 34 percent from last year and New York City's are down 24 percent, according to the travel company.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Reach her by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).