The FAP also conducts research to determine specifics about various financing packages and it produces financing guides for businesses in the Lehigh Valley. The FAP serves as a liaison between businesses and loan funds, banks, economic development agencies, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the Pennsylvania Department of Commerce.
NOTE: "The U.S. Small Business
Administration DOES NOT offer grants to start or expand small businesses,
although it does offer a wide variety of loan programs... While
the SBA does offer some grant programs, these are generally designed
to expand and enhance organizations that provide small business
management, technical, or financial assistance. These grants generally
support non-profit organizations, intermediary lending institutions,
and state and local governments."
See http://www.sba.gov/financing for more information.
Lehigh Valley Financing provides a brief overview of financial programs currently available to entrepreneurs and businesses in the Lehigh Valley. The program profile is linked to the sponsoring agency to allow for more detail. The site also lists all the commercial financial institutions servicing the greater Lehigh Valley area.
A major activity of the FAP is informing clients of financing options. Information on bank and government loan programs is readily available. Once a client determines the amount of funds needed, the FAP specialist identifies appropriate funding sources. With the assistance of FAP personnel, clients are enabled to structure a financial package utilizing various federal, state, and local programs to obtain the lowest possible blended interest rate. Clients are also helped with the development of an appropriate loan proposal with ratio analysis and cash flow projections.
The FAP specialist works closely with administrators of various alternate bank lending programs. Because of these contacts, clients are able to receive information about the newest developments in loan programs and to structure their loan package to obtain lower interest rates. Through an extensive network of contacts, the FAP specialist stays abreast of changes in financing program requirements as well as legislative changes affecting these programs.
The FAP staff conducts research on new financing programs and assists clients in obtaining information from these new sources.
In order to receive assistance from the FAP, clients first complete
a Request for Service form.
The financing assistance specialist will then call and arrange a
meeting. The counseling procedure may include several interviews
and an on-site visit. After the FAP specialist evaluates the client's
financial situation, a course of action is recommended.
Counseling services are completely confidential and free of charge.