A Greener Future

DATE: Jul, 7   COMMENTS: 0   AUTHOR: Allan Azarola

Green energy is a major topic today. With the number of extreme weather events growing more and more frequent, not to mention the excessive use of nonrenewable energy, it is only a matter of time before something truly catastrophic happens. Before this, humanity needs to change our ways and start living more in alignment with nature. Green energy is the most obvious way to do that, allowing us to keep the modern conveniences we are accustomed to while reducing our impact on the planet.

The government is of course interested in preventing any kind of catastrophic climate event or other kind of man made disaster. For this reason, the federal government offers a number of different incentives and programs through a number of different agencies to help individuals and businesses adapt to the changing needs of society – everything from tax credits to contracting programs to preferential buying from green companies. There are about as many solutions as there are problems.

In particular, one government agency is focused on helping small businesses adapt and prepare themselves for the coming ecological challenges of this century. The SBA offers all sorts of assistance in this vein to different American companies. Their support centers are three main aspects – capital, counseling, and contracting.

SBA loans and going green

The SBA has dozens of different loan programs meant to help small businesses respond to all sorts of different challenges. Their most popular program is the 7(a) program. These loans have a broad range of qualifications and are meant to help businesses that cannot get access to capital anywhere else as a reasonable rate. Within this program is the popular SBA express loan program, which provides busienesses access to capital in a much quicker timespan than they normally would have.

These different loans can be used for all sorts of things, but equipment purchases and upgrades are a primary function. Lots of businesses wanting to reduce their environmental impact could utilize an SBA loan, from a factory wanting to ‘go green’ and upgrade their machinery to be more efficient (and therefore save energy) to a restaurant or office hoping to redo their building’s heating and cooling systems to make it more energy efficient. There are a few industries that are ineligible for SBA loans such as businesses operating in insurance and gambling, but the vast majority could benefit from these loans to go green!

Your new green mentor

The SBA also offers business coaching and counseling services to eligible small businesses. Speaking with a mentor that has experience in green industry – or taking an environmentally damaging business and turning it around – could really benefit your transition. The SBA uses a system of regional offices located in each of their districts to carry out their programs, so finding which district your business is located in is the first step. After that, you need to decide what kind of mentor would be best for you to speak with. They have experienced professionals with all sorts of different backgrounds that could help you.

There is no substitute for taking action and speaking with someone at the SBA today. A mentor is likely to be the best decision you ever make. Finding someone who has faced the hurdles of transforming a business into a green enterprise and has navigated the paperwork and challenges of getting an SBA loan is an investment in your future.

Sign on the green dotted line

The third “C” in the SBA’s offerings represents contracting. The SBA works to meet the federal government’s commitments to hiring underrepresented and underprivileged groups for federal contracts. They do this in a number of ways, mostly through providing support through the district offices.

There are many steps in applying for a federal contract and a lot of hurdles to jump through, so it is extremely beneficial for small businesses that lack both the manpower and the expertise to do this to have professionals that have gone through the process before to help them. This is really a merger of all that the SBA offers, since these professionals are providing mentoring as well as contracting help, and oftentimes they recommend some kind of SBA loan as well to help your business make whatever necessary changes it needs to to become a federal contractor and qualify for the process.

Overall, the SBA operates a lot of different programs that help small businesses stay competitive and adapt to the changing needs of both the market and the environment. If your business has been wanting to go green but hasn’t been able to find the time or lacks the personnel to make the transition, chances are there is an SBA program out there for you. If we don’t start reacting to the problems we’ve created things will only get worse. It may already be too late, but American business has always led the way, so there’s no excuse not to lead on this either!

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