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Tips for Atlanta leaders in need of business funding

Moderator Alonzo Llorens with panelists Terri Denson, Achie Jones, Lonnie Saboor, Frederick Daniels Jr. and Anthony Flack during the Atlanta Business League’s 11th Annual Congress on the State of Black Business in Metro Atlanta on Monday, April 9, 2018. (Photo Credit: Sistarazzi for Steed Media Service)

With 85 years of experience fostering the “growth, creation and development of successful business enterprises owned, operated and managed by African Americans in the metropolitan Atlanta,” the Atlanta Business League knows what programs, policies and legislative initiatives are needed to ensure businesses are profitable. On Monday, April 9, 2018, ABL hosted the 11th Annual Congress on the State of Black Business in Metro Atlanta. The day-long event was held at the Easley Conference Pavilion at Atlanta Metropolitan State College.

During one of the featured panel discussions titled, “Growing Businesses, Growing Wealth: Funding Your Business,” five industry leaders outlined steps, practices and insights on how leaders can take their businesses forward with the right funding.

The panel was moderated by Alonzo Llorens, ABL co-vice chair of Public Policy and partner with Patel Burkhalter Law Group. Here are the highlights.

Frederick Daniels Jr., EVP/credit officer, Citizen’s Trust Bank

“Consistency and sustainability of income are the key considerations we’re looking for in business, especially coming out on the downturn. We know during the downturn many businesses lost customers and relationships and you had to rebuild your businesses. But, know that we are in sustained growth. There should be sustained profitability in your company.”

Terri Denison, Georgia district director, SBA

“The great thing about a microlender is they are not-for-profit and they are mission-driven. I think there is flexibility there that may not be with a commercial lender.”

“Our community advantage loan program guarantees up 85 percent of the loan that is made by a mission-based lender such as a microlender or a community financial institution.”

Anthony Flack, commercial loan officer, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs

“As a nontraditional microlender, being able to lend anywhere from a $5K to $2M loan size gives us the opportunity to work with those clients that are just starting out.”

“The criteria that we follow is less stringent than the standard banking sources that we partner with in helping them with some of their deals. Our criteria can go as low as a 600 [credit score], where universally standard banking starts at 650. Those 50 points make a huge difference in allowing someone to have access to funding with our SBA program.”

Archie Jones, V.P., Finance NOWaccount

“NOW Is unique because the capital we’re helping you get is your own capital. As many small businesses owners know, getting paid faster drives your own cash flow.” 

“Before you think about needing to borrow and taking equity dollars from other sources, actually getting paid for the work you’ve already done is probably the best place to start. The NOWaccount is set up so that you can continue to do business the way you always have with your customers.”

Lonnie Saboor, senior manager of Small Business Finance, Invest Atlanta

“Invest Atlanta is the City of Atlanta’s economic development arm chaired by the mayor of the City of Atlanta. One of our goals is to empower business people in the City of Atlanta. We’re here to help you grow and expand your business as much as possible.”

“We’re here to help. We’re here to work with you. We’re here to partner with you to make that dream become a reality for your business to expand to another level of opportunity and we look forward to working with you.”