By Melanie Anzidei The Record (Hackensack, N.J.)
Loan approvals for small businesses in New Jersey owned by women are on the rise.
The U.S. Small Business Administration approved 120 loans for $41 million to women business owners in New Jersey between Oct. 1, 2014, and March 31, up from 106 loans for $50 million over the same period a year earlier, said SBA New Jersey District Director Al Titone.
Bergen County businesses owned by women received 25 loan approvals for $13.7 million, making Bergen the county with the most approvals in the period. Passaic County businesses received four loans totaling $2 million.
Last year, Bergen County companies owned by women received 19 loans for $4.2 million and Passaic County businesses received two for $100,000.
"Our lenders have been increasing their push to small businesses," Titone said Tuesday. "In general, we're up in [loan] numbers and I think it's a reflection of a bettering economy."
As the number of loan approvals rose, the price tag on individual loans dropped. The average loan from the period was $378,000 – down from $472,000 last year. The SBA offers no fee incentives for loans of $150,000 or less, which may explain the drop, said Titone.
According to Titone, the leading businesses types across the state that women borrowed money for included nine restaurants ($3 million); nine amusement and recreation businesses ($2.2 million); nine management consulting businesses ($1.5 million); four retailers ($10 million); four schools ($4.6 million); four home furnishing stores ($1.8 million); four automotive repair shops ($1.7 million); and four food manufacturers ($788,000).
The average size of women-owned businesses that received loans from the SBA during this period was 7 to 8 employees, according to data provided by the SBA. The 120 loans are expected to generate 37 additional jobs.
In 2014, there were nearly 9.1 million women-owned businesses in the United States that generated more than $1.4 trillion in revenues and employ 7.9 million people, according to American Express OPEN's State of Women-Owned Businesses report. However, these firms, often one-person businesses, employed just 6 percent of the country's workforce and contributed just above 4 percent of business revenues.
In the New York and New Jersey area, there were 665,700 firms owned by women in 2014, according to the same report.
By the end of the year, Titone said, the SBA is "on pace" to approve more than 240 loans totaling more than $90 million to women-owned businesses in New Jersey.