The SBA is perhaps the best known resource to small business owners, but there are other governmental and private sector organizations which can offer financial assistance and guidance to individuals in need of it.

SBIC (Small Business Investment Companies) are privately organized and managed firms which make equity capital and long-term credit available to small, independent businesses. SBICs are licensed by the SBA but set their own policies and investment decisions. SSBICs (Special Small Business Investment Companies) invest specifically in socially and economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs. The SBIC can borrow up to four times its private capital through a federally guaranteed funding system, at an interest rate slightly above the cost of money to the U.S., making it an attractive and powerful source of capital for new and growing businesses.

The National Association of Small Business Investment Companies (NASBIC) is the national trade association for the 215 SBICs and 127 SSBICs. It publishes a directory of members, broken down by state, size of financing, industry preference, and geographical preference. The NASBIC directory is entitled Venture Capital: Where to Find It. Phone and credit card orders are not accepted.

To obtain a directory, contact: NASBIC Directory, P.O. Box 2039, Merrifield, VA 22116. For other questions or information, call or write: National Association of Small Business, Investment Companies, 1199 N. Fairfax Street, Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22314. Phone: (703) 683-1601.

BDCs (Business Development Corporations) are groups affiliated with 30 various state governments and they differ from SBAs. BDCs agree to accept riskier loans, for longer terms. They frequently sell parts of these loans to others on the secondary loan market to offset the risk. Interest rates usually average 2% to 4% above the prime lending rate and some BDCs charge a flat fee.

To locate the BDC within a state, or to obtain assistance in locating other funding sources, an individual should write or call a specific state Small Business Development Center. The national organization will direct the caller to one of 750 state or regional centers. These centers provide assistance in the form of training, counseling, and research assistance in start-up, operation, and expansion of business in all 50 states. While the centers do not provide funding, they do refer individuals to the organizations that can offer the greatest assistance.

The Association of Small Business Development Centers is at 1313 Farnum, Suite 132, Omaha, NE, 68182. Phone (402) 595-2387.