While still in the committee stage in the U.S. Senate, members of the Senate Small Business Committee have introduced the Strengthening Investment to Grow Manufacturing in America Act, "SIGMA". This bill is specifically designed to support and accelerate the start-up and expansion of small manufacturers throughout the United States.
Initial provisions included in SIGMA that would improve the SBA 504 loan program for small manufacturers are:
- Increase the maximum 504 loan amount from $5.5 million to $10 million;
- Allow for a 5% borrower injection (current minimum is 10%) unless project involves both a start-up and limited use building, in which case it would be 10%;
- Allow for 51% occupancy for acquisition of existing building and new construction (currently 51% occupancy only applies to acquisition, with higher requirements for new construction);
- 1/$150,000 job creation and retention requirement (currently 1/$120,000 for small manufacturers);
- Establishing a 504 Express Loan for loans under $500,000; and
- Consolidating the closing process and improving oversight of the program.
Again, it is unknown at this time whether SIGMA and any of its specific provisions will pass the Senate and the House and be signed by the President. But it appears that members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are in favor of improving assistance to small businesses.
SEDA-COG will provide updates as this bill moves through Congress.