CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A federally funded small business program is getting more use in West Virginia than almost any other state.The U.S. Department of the Treasury's State Small Business Credit Initiative released a new quarterly report
showing that West Virginia had used $12.8 million, or 97 percent of the federal funds given to the state, at the end of 2013.The U.S. Treasury department allocates funds to each state, which can then design its own program to disperse funds and respond to local market conditions. In West Virginia, the state's Economic Development Authority provides these loans.Only Idaho, which used 99 percent of its federal funds, disbursed more of the available money than West Virginia, according to the report.Nationwide, the program has distributed more than $1 billion to state economic development agencies to support small business lending and investment.Annual Treasury SSBCI reports show the money helps businesses five years old or younger, with 80 percent of loan recipients employing 10 or fewer people and 42 percent of loans being made in low- or moderate-income communities.
In 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, creating programs like the SSBCI to encourage small business lending. All 50 states have received funding.Obama's FY 2015 budget proposes extending the lending program with an additional $1.5 billion in funding."The extension would build on the momentum of the program's success to date, especially in states like West Virginia that have quickly utilized the first round of funds," a U.S. Treasury Department press release states. "A second round of funding would capitalize on new working relationships between states and small business lenders and investors, and strengthen the federal government's support of state economic development agencies that are highly responsive to capital needs in local markets."Reach Caitlin Cook at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5113.