United States Government

United States Government

Descriptions and contact information for U.S. Government business assistance organizations are listed below.

Small Business Administration (SBA)

The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) provides financial, technical, and management assistance to help entrepreneurs start, run, and grow their businesses. The SBA provides business loans, loan guarantees, disaster loans, and venture capital. The SBA also provides businesses with tools such as management and technical assistance.

For more information, please contact the SBA - San Francisco District at 415-744-6820.

The U.S. Small Business Administration offers several different types of loans to small businesses including:
  • 7(a) Loan Guaranty Program - This program is designed to stimulate small business activity and promote small business' contribution to economic growth. It is designed to reduce the risk to banks in making loans and thereby increase the availability of short-term capital for small businesses.
    • Uses: Land, buildings, equipment, expansions, renovations, and/or working capital.
    • Term: Loan guarantees up to 75% of a bank loan under $100,000
  • LowDoc - A low documentation loan guaranty program for business loans of $150,000 or less. This program is designed to reduce the paperwork involved in the SBA loan programs for smaller loan requests. LowDoc simplifies the application process and provides a rapid response from SBA - usually only two or three business days. LowDoc focuses on character, credit, and experience.
    • Uses: Working capital and equipment
    • Terms: All loans are to be adequately secured, but loans generally are not declined where inadequate collateral is the only unfavorable factor.
  • Prequalification Loan Program - The Prequalification Loan Program is designed to assist the borrower with the preparation of the loan prequalification and application process by providing an intermediary such as the Small Business Development Center to help prepare business plans and complete a prequalification loan application package
    • Term: Loan guarantees up to 75% of a bank loan under $100,000
  • 504 Loan Program - The objective of the 504 Program is to achieve community economic development through job creation and retention by providing long-term fixed asset financing to small business concerns.
    • Uses: As a general rule, Certified Development Companies consider only profitable, healthy, expanding businesses. Projects can range in size from $50,000 to $1 million. The program is NOT intended to assist ailing businesses.
  • SBAExpress - The SBAExpress loan was designed to make it easier and faster for lenders to provide small business loans by allowing the lenders to use their own forms and allows lenders to take advantage of electronic loan processing. The program also provides a rapid response from the SBA - within 36 hours of receiving your complete applications.
    • Terms: Loans up to $150,000
  • CAPline Seasonal Line of Credit - The CAPline Seasonal Program offers short-term, guaranteed loans to help small businesses get past cash crunches attributable to seasonal changes in business volume. Potential borrowers must have established a definite pattern of seasonal activity.
    • Uses: Loans may be used for working capital, fixed assets, receivables, and inventory required from seasonal upswings in business.
    • Term: Businesses must have been in operation continuously for one year immediately preceding the application date.

Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)

East Bay SCORE, a partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration, is an association of working and retired executives and business owners who donate their time and talents as volunteer business counselors and provide, at no cost, confidential counseling and mentoring. The East Bay Chapter of SCORE also offers low cost business, planning, and export-import workshops. For more information, please contact the East Bay SCORE at 510-273-6611.

United States Department of Commerce - Economic Development Administration

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) was established under the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965 to generate jobs, help retain existing jobs, and stimulate industrial and commercial growth in economically distressed areas of the United States. EDA assistance is available to areas experiencing high unemployment, low income, or other severe economic distress.

In fulfilling its mission, EDA is guided by the basic principle that distressed communities must be empowered to develop and implement their own economic development and revitalization strategies. Based on these locally and regionally developed priorities, EDA works in partnership with state and local governments; regional economic development districts; public and private nonprofit organizations; and Indian tribes. EDA works to help distressed communities address problems associated with long-term economic distress, as well as sudden and severe economic dislocations, including recovering from the economic impacts of natural disasters, the closure of military installations and other federal facilities, etc.

United States Commercial Service

The United States Commercial Service is the global business solutions unit of the United States Department of Commerce. Commercial Service offers valuable assistance to help businesses export goods and services to markets worldwide. In addition, the Commercial Service supports U.S. firms in their efforts to increase their exports, strengthen the American economy, and create jobs. Through its network of Export Assistance Centers in more than 140 U.S. cities, embassies, and consulates, the Commercial Service provides information on foreign markets, international partnering, cost-effective trade mission and trade show exhibition opportunities, and government to government advocacy. For more information, please contact the Oakland U.S. Export Assistance Center at 510-273-7350.