SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - Small businesses will no doubt play a key role in our economy's recovery. But one of the biggest challenges for them is getting small loans to make improvements and expand. One local non-profit is stepping-up to fill that gap.
The only stain the economy left on Artur Ryabtsev's cabinet-making business is wood stain -- lots of it.
Ryabtsev did what many couldn't in the last few years; he not only survived the recession, but thrived through it.
Coming to the US from Ukraine in 2004, he did what he knew: cabinets. And when his business outgrew his garage, he needed money to expand. But Ryabtsev says banks declined his loan applications. Then he found Opening Doors, a non-profit offering microloans, which are small amounts up to $50,000.
The Organization lent him a total of $15,000 in the past two years, allowing him to buy equipment to process more orders.
"Thousands of small businesses cannot acquire a loan through a bank. And the bank does not do it because they can't make money doing it," said Opening Doors Executive Director David Blicker.
Blicker calls it a financing gap. Opening Doors has been filling the gap for years by lending to immigrants and refugees like Ryabtsev. But it is now expanding the program with $300,000 in new loans, available to any qualifying small business owner in the Sacramento area.
"We're not large enough with the $300,000 loan fund as it stands now to be able to really kick-start the economy in Sacramento," said Blicker, "But we can kick-start 30 people or more a year."
Ryabtsev was able to hire five employees after microloans helped expand his business. And with two million microbusinesses like his in California, if each one was able to hire just one additional employee, it would solve our state's unemployment rate immediately.
"So the access to capital component, the loan, is really the catalyst for job creation across the board," said Brook Taylor, Deputy Director of Communications and Policy at the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development.
He calls small businesses the foundation of California's economy.
"Small microloans like the program that Opening Doors is running are very critical to financing business owners that want to do that next step, take that next step towards growth," said Taylor.
Talk about growth. Ryabtsev says he's doing 10 times the amount of business he was doing just five years ago. He says Opening Doors really did open the door for him.
To qualify for a microloan offered by Opening Doors, you have to have a business plan and your finances in order. If you don't, Opening Doors will get you the assistance you need so you can apply when you're ready.
And Opening Doors isn't the only organization offering these types of loans. For more information head to these websites:
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