To help small businesses rebound from the pandemic, the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) is distributing $10 billion in funding across all 50 states and territories in the United States. Funding is given on a first-come-first-serve basis, so small business owners need to act fast and learn the ins and outs of how the program works in their state.
For a list of all 50 states and where they stand on SSBCI, click here. Maryland is one of the first states to start accepting applications. In total, the state has $198 million to distribute.
📍 If you're in a different state, you can add your email here to be the first to know when your state opens up applications.
Which SSBCI programs are open now in Maryland?
There are nine programs open for applications in Maryland. Two relate specifically to loans and the other seven are more geared around equity financing. This article focuses on the two loan programs:
Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority - EPIP Loan: This is a loan program designed for businesses that have been denied funding elsewhere, or have low credit scores.
Neighborhood Business Works (NBW) Loan Participation Program: This is a bridge loan that provides businesses with money to launch a new product or service.
Which businesses are eligible for SSBCI funding?
Before you apply for funding from a program, make sure you are eligible. In general, your business will be eligible for SSBCI funding in the state of Maryland if:
- It has under 500 employees
- It has been operating for at least two years
- You have a personal credit score of at least 550
Some programs are more nuanced. For example, the Neighborhood Business Works (NBW) Loan Participation Program also requires your business to be located in a CDFI Investment Area.
Skip recommends visiting Maryland.gov’s SSBCI information page to read about each program and determine which one fits your business's needs. You can also talk to our team for 1-1 guidance about which program is best for you.
What can SSBCI funding be spent on?
The SSBCI is committed to addressing racial, cultural, and class barriers that keep underrepresented small business owners from accessing capital. Therefore, funding must be spent on business purposes. This includes:
- Working capital
- Equipment and inventory
- Start-up costs
- Term loan financing
- Lines of credit
- Trade cycle financing
- Purchase or construction renovations of non-passive real estate
What CAN’T the funding be spent on?
- Passive real estate investment
- Speculative activities, gambling
- Pyramid sales
- Activities prohibited by Federal or State law
How to apply for SSBCI funding in Maryland
Because Maryland offers so many different SSBCI programs, the application process is not one size fits all. Each program has its own requirements, plus an individualized application form and/or portal.
Nearly all applications require you to provide thorough documentation of your business. It’s wise to gather the following documents as you begin the application process:
- Cover letter
- Business plan
- Legal picture ID
- 3 months of personal bank statements
- 3 months of business bank statements, if available
- Personal Cash Flow Form
- Use of Funds Form
- Personal Financial Statement
To apply for the EPIP Loan, click here.
To apply for the NBW Venture Funds program, click here.
Common challenges in applying for SSBCI funding
Applying for SSBCI funding can be challenging. Since the massive program is still in its early roll-out stage, it’s not uncommon to encounter vague or conflicting information online about the application processes. And, unfortunately, the government websites are not always up to date about which programs are, in fact, open.
To say the least, going through the application alone can be frustrating.
It’s not uncommon for even the savviest business owners to run into challenges while accessing the correct forms, navigating the different application portals, and prepping a successful application.