SBA fills in funding gap for Nashua start-up



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It took 2-1/2 years and nine different banks before Christine Pedzik got her small-business loan. “After the eighth try, I was almost about to give up,” said Pedzik, 40, of New Boston. But thanks to the New Hampshire office of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Pedzik recently closed on her loan and is about to open her full-service pet grooming and boarding business, Pedzik’s Pets, in New Boston. Pedzik sought help from the SBA after continually being turned down for start-up business loans. Her luck took a turn for the better after meeting Lillian Evans, a Nashua-based lender relations specialist with the SBA. Pedzik had already invested time and money before getting a loan. She paid for survey fees and won the appropriate zoning approvals to build a commercial kennel on her three-acre New Boston property. “It could have been less difficult if she had come to us to begin with,” Evans said. Pedzik also worked with the Service Corps of Retired Executives, better known as SCORE, which is a volunteer association sponsored by the SBA. SCORE business management counselors give advice to prospective small-business owners, and there are SCORE counselors available in Nashua and Manchester. She had been self-employed as an independent dog groomer - but banks did not view that as having had business ownership or experience, Evans said. It took some time, but they worked on Pedzik’s loan presentation, and finally got it right. “We had to work with the numbers and shop around,” Evans said. “We had to get a lender who was willing to do it.” Newtek Small Business Finance, an SBA participating lender based in New York, provided the loan within three weeks of submittal. Newtek specializes in small-business loans for the purchase of commercial real estate, equipment and inventory, and gives loans to refinance debt and fund franchises, working capital and business acquisitions. The SBA offers free training and technical services to small-business owners, and helps entrepreneurs with writing business plans. They also offer several different kinds of loans, including the MicroLoan Program, which gives small loans to start-up or growing small businesses. In 2004, the SBA backed a total of 1,510 loans worth $152.2 million in New Hampshire. Pedzik said the SBA was helpful in putting the entire deal together, but especially in making sure the financing would be enough to cover everything she needed. Pedzik - who plans to open her 762 River Rd. business in mid-August or early September — said the process was worth the wait. “Had I gotten it any easier, I don’t think I’d be as aware of what’s needed,” she said. And she has advice for anyone who’s written a thorough business plan: “Understand well what kind of business you want and why you want it. Get the financing first, before doing anything.” - KAREN SPILLER THE TELEGRAPH

 

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