Making sure that small business owners can easily access the capital they need to start and grow their business is priority one for the Small Business Administration (SBA). Some 260,000 small businesses and entrepreneurs have benefitted from $126 billion in lending since 2009.

Entrepreneurs and small businesses have consistently proven to be drivers of jobs and innovation, and are often the major contributors to most local economies. Reaching their third highest year of lending in FY 2013 (more than $29 billion), the SBA has contributed to the strength and resiliency of America’s 28 million small businesses. As they continue to recover, they are driving the economy forward.

It’s no coincidence that many small business owners and entrepreneurs have served in the military. Data from the SBA shows that Veterans own about 2.4 million businesses, or 9 percent of all U.S. businesses, employing 5.8 million workers.

Small businesses help stimulate economic growth by providing employment opportunities. Additionally, entrepreneurs and small businesses tend to attract talent who invent new products or implement new solutions for existing ideas. Many small businesses also possess the ability to respond and adapt quickly to changing economic climates. This is due, in part, to the fact that small businesses are often very customer-oriented. Local customers will remain loyal to their favorite small businesses, especially those that are “Veteran Owned”, in the midst of an economic crisis. This loyalty means that small businesses are often able to stay afloat during tough times, which can further strengthen local economies.

The Small Loan Advantage (SLA) program, first launched in February, 2011, and revamped in June, 2012 produced dramatic results by providing loans under $350,000 to small businesses and entrepreneurs in underserved communities.

Streamlining the loan process helped the success of the CAPlines program. This program provides working capital lines of credit designed to help small businesses with their short-term working capital needs.

So far this year, the SBA has supported more than 7,700,504 loans, providing small businesses with long-term, fixed-rate financing to acquire real estate and major fixed assets, for a total of more than $11.7 billion.

For more information about these and other SBA programs, visit the SBA website at www.sba.gov, or contact your local SBA field office.