Small Businesses Take Hit In Credit Crunch

Adriana Martin started a fitness-training spa for mothers out of her Florida home. Now, she wants to expand.

"Something that really takes my business to the next level," Martin said.

She's looking for $50,000 to help produce and promote DVDs. But so far the banks haven't come through, CBS News correspondent Anthony Mason reports.

"Its very frustrating, because I have a great dream," Martin said. "I think I have a great idea."

Yolanda Goldwire wants to grow the medical billing business she also started at home. But she needs $25,000 to open an office and hire employees.

"I went to Wachovia, Bank of America, Community Bank," she said.

They all turned her down. She says they told her: "Either that my business wasn't open long enough, didn't have established business credit. Or they just didn't have the funding."

It's the fallout from the mortgage mess. Lenders are running away from risk, and according to the Federal Reserve, more than half of the banks in the country have tightened up their lending standards for small businesses.

"Is it harder now to start a business right now because of this?" Mason asked.

"I would say definitely," said Jennifer Brin of the Florida Women's Business Center.

Brin says loans just aren't there for start-ups.

"They're not even there for an established business who are just right now for the first time experiencing a struggle," she said.

Couric & Co. Blog: Learn more about the untold story of the credit crunch.
It's small businesses that power the U.S. economy. They create 70 percent of the new jobs.

Martin said: "And I really can't contribute to the economy the way I wish I could, because of this situation."

Martin and Goldwire are still hoping to get loans, because otherwise, as Goldwire says, "we may shut down."

In this credit crunch, many young businesses are struggling to stay fit enough to survive.

  • Anthony Mason

    CBS News senior business and economics correspondent; Co-host, "CBS This Morning: Saturday"