As you know, May is Small Business Month in Charlotte (#CLTMonthofBiz). Over the course of this month, there will be many opportunities for small business owners of Charlotte to participate in and learn more about their business community. One of these events, Capital Ideas: Entrepreneurs, Expansion and the New Financing Landscape, is a conference that gives you the chance to network and engage with experts in the business financing and legal industries. Charlotte Business Resources is a proud host of this seminar, partnering with three other organizations, BEFCOR, SBA and SBTDC, to plan the event.
We spoke to Elaine Fairman of BEFCOR to provide you with more information about this event.
Charlotte Business Resources (CBR): How can participants register?
Elaine Fairman (EF): It’s easy! Try this link:
The cost to attend is minimal ($20 + parking), and the event is guaranteed to equip small business owners with valuable information and resources.
CBR: Is this the first year this event is being held? Who/what inspired this event?
EF: This year’s seminar was inspired by a subcommittee of the Charlotte Business Resource (CBR) Partners who wanted to create a program geared to the needs of local businesses that might be in the market for financing. The Charlotte area is fortunate to have a great group of small business advocates who support the growth and development of companies in the region. We are an extension of the many organizations that offer services to emerging and expanding companies.
If you have approached a bank lately to consider borrowing money, you may have noticed that the financing landscape is different. It is no secret that companies with access to capital also create jobs and support the local economy. A strong local economy benefits each of us and creates an environment that attracts others to the Charlotte area. This event, which identifies financing resources, is timely – many of the businesses that weathered the economic recession are now ready to expand and are in a position for future growth. Growth plans may include purchasing land to construct a new building, buying an existing facility and renovating it, or upgrading to more efficient, productive, and technologically-advanced machinery.
A similar event has been held in prior years, but this year’s event has been tailored to the needs of today’s expanding businesses in today’s lending environment. With the recent changes in the financing landscape, we can help companies learn how to find capital to expand!
CBR: Which organizations are involved in this event?
EF: Many organizations partnered to make this event a reality. Charlotte Business Resources (CBR) consortium thought this event would be a great opportunity for the small business community to learn about financing options.
Attendees will meet Charlotte area bankers, SBA lenders, and other providers of creative financing. You can expect to see representatives from CBR, including BEFCOR, Queen City Forward, The Small Business Technology and Development Center, U. S. Small Business Administration, City of Charlotte, CPCC, Centralina Development, Self-Help Credit Union, and many others. You will be impressed how many people will be there to answer your questions and try to help your business.
CBR: What types of business owners will be most interested in this event? How many people do you anticipate will attend this event?
EF: Existing small business owners are the target audience. Companies that are 2 years to 100 years old can benefit from our panel discussions. Many emerging and expanding companies are at a crossroads and are seeking answers to their many questions.
For instance, is now the time to move from a leased facility to an owned one? With the economy on the rebound, is now a good time to purchase newer equipment to make my company more efficient and productive? Does my business need more space? How will I manage cash flow so that I can add more employees? What types of documents will a bank lender need? Who makes the decisions at the bank, and how long will it take? How can an SBA 504 loan help my business? How much down payment will be required?
Many companies who have weathered the economic storm are looking at ways to position their businesses for growth and stability, a process that often involves borrowing money. This event will help small businesses be better prepared to pursue financing. As a business owner, you will learn about creative sources of financing, how banks make decisions, and how beneficial an SBA 504 or 7a loan can be for your business. Equally important, you will learn who can help you through the process.
CBR: How will business owners benefit from this event?
EF: Business owners will benefit from our panels of great presenters and great content! Our panel of experienced speakers has been assembled to give Charlotte area businesses great ideas and suggestions. We have regional experts on our panel discussions.
Business owners will learn firsthand the mechanics and details of borrowing money for expansion. Processes, decision-makers, forms, financial statement types, loan closings, etc. will be addressed – these are topics that are relevant to business owners!
Our goal has been to offer discussions and answer questions on the subjects that interest you most. Small business owners are busy – we have a strong agenda focused on real information for today’s businesses from the experts. In summary, business owners will be provided with a practical understanding of financing and the appropriate sources that apply to their stage in the business lifecycle or that fit their unique investment situation.
CBR: What are the goals going into the event? What are your personal goals?
EF: Borrowing money can be a frustrating, time-consuming process – and it has changed in recent years. We want to make that process easier, with information that is current, relevant, and tailored to the Charlotte market. Our panelists and panel topics are designed to help demystify the financing process!
The Capital Ideas planners have assembled resources for our small business community – under one roof, on one morning, addressing a wide variety of topics geared specifically to small business financing.
I have enjoyed working in the small business lending market for over 25 years and welcomed the opportunity to help with the planning for this event. When small businesses are healthy, our entire region benefits from a stronger, vibrant economy. Unfortunately, many business owners do not have the time to thoroughly research financing options, and many of them get poor advice when borrowing money. Sometimes, mismatching the use of the loan funds with the type of loan can have devastating effects for the business – in some cases, the cash flow consequences resulting from the wrong loan product can cause a business to fail. By offering my time to help create this event, I can help our community. Maybe business owners will learn the many, many benefits of the SBA 504 program! Maybe guests will learn about the loan process, and that will increase their opportunity to get a loan. Maybe a business facing an A/R challenge will learn about ways to secure A/R financing. Or, a business that has a loan approval can learn what to expect from the loan closing/funding process.
I look forward to meeting you at Capital Ideas and learning about your business!
CBR: What do you hope attendees will take from it?
EF: Contacts and Resources!
CBR: What can participants expect?
EF: Great information and an agenda tailored to the needs of the growing, expanding business. You can expect an expert panel – seasoned bankers talking about the Charlotte lending market, legal professionals discussing how businesses migrate from loan approval to loan funding, credit analysts explaining the underwriting process, and much more!
CBR: How did you select the panel/keynote speakers?
EF: In selecting speakers, our goal was to compose panel topics with a variety of experts in small business financing. We know that small business owners are frequently overwhelmed or confused about borrowing money – the process has changed in recent years, the lending parameters are different. Some businesses feel less loyal to their bank. It is a different market now.
Our panelists have a wealth of information to share – they are part of our community. We specifically sought individuals in the Charlotte region who have a history of working alongside small business owners! You will definitely want to hear our speakers!
CBR: How will this event contribute to Small Business Month?
EF: Anytime is a great time to provide resources and information to small businesses! However, Small Business Month is the perfect time to focus on an event designed to address specific challenges many small businesses face when seeking financing options. The 2014 North Carolina Small Business of the Year, Triangle Rock Club, was recently announced – that business utilized two SBA 504 loans to open its two operations. This year’s recipient is a perfect example of how two loan sources, working together creatively, can achieve financing success. This is a great month to highlight our many small businesses and how they impact our community.
CBR: Is it me, or has getting a bank loan changed in recent years?
EF: Borrowing money HAS changed! That is why the Charlotte Business Resource Partners wanted to offer this event! Many business owners find it takes more time and the rules are different. Knowing what to expect and having some answers to key questions can make an incredible difference!
Download the event flyer here.
Interested in attending this event? Don’t forget–it’s on May 20th at 7:30 a.m. Register here!