For more than five decades, U.S. Small Business Administration loans have served as financial lifelines for American entrepreneurs. The SBA was created to foster free enterpriswe and to help sustain economic strength throughout all corners of a free market.

Traditionally, small business owners who have struggled to secure affordable lending have turned to the SBA for help. But the agency itself does not issue loans. Rather, it acts as a quarantor while working with thousands of private and commercial institutions. Business owners who can obtain reasonable financing may not be eligible for SBA-backed loans.

The SBA offers a series of loans geared toward helping small businesses. There are three major loan programs. Each provides entrepreneurs with different degrees of financing options and flexibility.

First, let’s examine the distinct loan programs before discussing eligibility and the loan application process.

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