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Standard 7(a) Evaluation Criteria

Eligibility

To be considered for a 7(a) loan, applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements. These requirements are designed to be as broad as possible so the program can accommodate the most diverse variety of small business financing needs.

What SBA Looks For:

  • Operate as a for-profit company.

  • Do business (or propose to) in the United States or its possessions.

  • Meet SBA Size Standards.

  • Be an eligible type of business. While the vast majority of businesses are eligible for financial assistance from the SBA, some are not. Check this list of Eligible and Ineligible Types of Businesses to see if your company qualifies.

  • Plan to use proceeds for an approved purpose. 7(a) loan proceeds may be used to establish a new business or to assist in the operation, acquisition or expansion of an existing business. This list explains Eligible and Ineligible Use of Proceeds.

  • Not have funds available from other sources. SBA does not extend financial assistance to businesses when the financial strength of the individual owners or the company itself is sufficient to provide all or part of the financing. Both business and personal financial resources are reviewed as part of the eligibility criteria. If these resources are found to be excessive, the business will be required to use those resources in lieu of part or all of the requested loan proceeds.

  • Ability to repay the loan on time from the projected operating cash flow of the business.

  • Good character. SBA obtains a "Statement of Personal History" from the principals of each applicant firm to determine if they have historically shown the willingness and ability to pay their debts and whether they have abided by the laws of their community.  

  • Management expertise and commitment necessary for success.

  • Feasible business plan