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SBA Awards $5 Million in PRIME Grants

Includes Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation in London, KY
Release Date: 
Friday, September 18, 2015
Release Number: 
Miguel Ayala (202) 205-6420

WASHINGTON – Thirty-nine community-based organizations across the United States that provide assistance to disadvantaged entrepreneurs are set to receive $5 million in grants from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs (PRIME). These organizations help low-income entrepreneurs gain access to capital to establish and expand their small businesses.

“By training low-income and disadvantaged micro-entrepreneurs on how to grow their businesses, particularly through the smart use of information technology, the PRIME Program helps small businesses thrive in a 21st century economy,” said Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, head of the SBA. “The beauty of PRIME is that it assists small businesses and micro-entrepreneurs to become lender ready, complementing the roughly $140 million approved this year through SBA’s mission-based lending programs.”

This year’s 39 recipients come from 16 states, including Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation in London, KY, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. The grants range from $35,000 to $200,000 and typically require at least 50 percent in matching funds or in-kind contributions. In total, 104 organizations applied for PRIME awards.

SBA placed special emphasis in this year’s competition on applications for projects utilizing information technology and software to help small businesses start, strengthen and/or grow.  Assisting small businesses with the tools needed to implement automated financial accounting, financial reporting, inventory management and web-based marketing and distribution is emerging as an industry best practice among SBA’s most successful microlenders.

This year’s awards also emphasized organizations participating in SBA’s Community Advantage Program. This program provides mission-oriented, non-profit lenders access to SBA’s 7(a) loan guarantees to help small businesses that have outgrown microlending but are not able to access more traditional financing, including funding from SBA commercial lending partners. Twenty SBA Community Advantage lenders submitted applications, and 13 were selected for PRIME awards. 

PRIME was created by Congress as part of the Program for Investment in microentrepreneurs Act of 1999. Funds become available on September 30 and the grant is for one year.

For more information on PRIME grants and a list of this year’s grantees, visit