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Meet Heather Fern-Luzzi, Helping Small Businesses Start and Grow through SBA’s 7a Loan Program

Meet Heather Fern-Luzzi, Helping Small Businesses Start and Grow through SBA’s 7a Loan Program

By janied
Published: April 20, 2012 Updated: April 20, 2012

When a friend or family member asks what you do to help small businesses, what do you say?

I explain that I work for the U.S. Small Business Administration in our Loan Guaranty Processing Center (LGPC). I am very proud of the work we do here assisting small businesses around the country to start, build and grow their businesses through the SBA’s flagship 7a loan program.

What’s your favorite thing about what the SBA does for small businesses? Photo of Heather Fern-Luzzi

SBA lending is critical to the economic recovery of this country and is the backbone of building America’s future.

Is there a particular small business “success story” that comes to mind when you think about how the SBA helps people?

Actually there are many success stories; two in particular come to mind:

There is a small business located in Santa Cruz, California named “The Penny Ice Creamery”. This small business was turned down by a few banks in their immediate area and they became kind of discouraged about the prospect of opening their own business. They came to their local SBA office and were counseled on how to proceed with their dream. They were connected with an approved SBA lender that believed in their dream and the loan was eventually approved by our office. It made national news and they even received a call from Vice President Biden congratulating them and wishing them much success.

Another success story that made me proud to work for an agency that can truly make a difference was a company called “J. Lowery Hauling”, a Small Trucking Company located in Satartia, Mississippi. The borrower came to SBA for assistance during the Recovery Act and applied for a small $35,000.00 loan called ARC (America’s Recovery Capital). The concept of the loan was that it was a zero interest loan to the small business applicant, and SBA paid interest to the lender. Although the loan size was limited, the impact that this loan had on this and many other small businesses was immense! J. Lowery Hauling was able to pay off high interest rate credit card debt and save several hundred dollars per month. This loan made the difference in this business staying afloat or folding. I am very proud to have been a part of assisting this business during very difficult times. I still get cards and letters from the applicant letting me know how they are doing and that their business continues to grow! The growth and the fact that this small business is still around is directly attributed to the ARC loan program.

Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs and small business owners out there?

Contact your local SBA office and utilize the tools and resources available that can help you to realize your dreams.

Anything else to add?

This Agency has a tremendous amount of talented individuals whose knowledge and expertise and can aid, assist, educate and council the public in small business lending. I would encourage anyone who is thinking about opening or growing a business to contact the SBA for guidance. There are many District and Branch offices around the country; SBA has partnerships with Community Development Centers (CDC”s), SCORE offices, Women’s Business Centers as well as other public and private partnerships that are a wonderful resource. SBA has truly created a partnership with our lenders and we make a difference!

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