In 2023, the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity built and set up a new federally funded program to reinforce small businesses throughout Utah, particularly emphasizing underserved and rural communities. The new program is the Utah Small Business Credit Initiative (USBCI).
USBCI, financed by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s State Small Business Credit Initiative Program under the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act, is a strategic response to the difficulties faced by small businesses in securing necessary capital.
With $69 million allocated to Utah from the U.S. Treasury, the initiative seeks to invigorate Utah’s entrepreneurial landscape. The Treasury and the state of Utah signed an agreement in November 2022, and USBCI program funds are available in tranches through 2030.
Utah expects the program to unlock about $690 million in private investments, substantially impacting the state’s small business sector.
Capital Access Program (CAP) — The Capital Access Program motivates lenders to finance more projects by offering loss protection. Loan protection is particularly vital for businesses that may not meet the criteria for conventional loans. By mitigating lending risks, CAP ensures that a broader range of small businesses can access the capital they need to flourish.
Loan Participation Program (LPP) — The Loan Participation Program enhances small business owners’ access to funding. By acquiring up to 50% of a small business loan, this program not only makes funding more accessible but also brings the advantage of reduced interest rates. This initiative is crucial for small business owners looking to start or expand their businesses, especially in underserved areas.
2023: A Pivotal Year for USBCI
The year 2023 marked significant progress in the rollout of USBCI. The team is engaged extensively with small business owners, community partners, and lenders to effectively tailor and build the program. A key milestone was the team’s participation in the One Utah Summit in October 2023, which focused on addressing the specific challenges of Utah’s rural and underserved communities.
The year began with one program director and ended with a new director. The new director built the team to include a program manager and analyst. The GOEO operations team has allocated personnel resources for contracting, compliance, and financial reporting.
In a strategic decision to build an online loan application utilizing the Salesforce platform, GOEO set Utah’s State Small Business Credit Initiative program apart from other U.S. state iterations of the program.
USBCI will last well into the future, partnering with Utah lenders to help ensure access to capital for more Utah entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Our Pledge To Support and Grow
The USBCI stands as more than a financial program; it’s a pledge to nurture and support the growth of Utah’s small businesses. By improving access to capital, the initiative helps drive business expansion, realize the dreams of entrepreneurs, and fortify the state’s economic base.