SBA helps Albany company expand to Europe -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

SBA helps Albany company expand to Europe

The U. S. Small Business Administration is pumping a record amount of money into Georgia businesses. Over the last year, the SBA has approved more than a billion dollars in guaranteed loans to help 1,600 small businesses here expand.

An SBA loan helped one Albany business make $5 million in improvements and expand to Europe.

The SBA guarantees a portion of the loan, making local banks more confident in lending during a time when fewer businesses have been able to secure funding for an expansion that could ultimately add jobs to our region.

More than 600 different chemical products are produced in the tanks at Equinox Chemical in Albany. Products that touch industries from food, to pharmaceuticals, to alternative fuels but without help from the Small Business Administration, Equinox may not have grown into the global company it's become in eight years.

"The SBA funding and financing that we've gotten over the past couple of years has been incredibly critical to our growth that we've been able to achieve and jobs that we've been able to add,"  said Mark Grimaldi, the CEO of  Equinox Chemical.

Nine so far, but more could be added when they expand and take over the neighboring LRA building later this year giving them 38 acres where they can expand. Now a new partnership with a European company will allow them to open a site in the Netherlands and market their product Rynex, a dry cleaning solvent worldwide.

"The industry that we're in is incredibly capital intensive and so it requires a lot of funding to be able to put in the equipment and resources we need to do the work that's available out there and to be able to capitalize on those opportunities," said Grimaldi.

At the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center they've seen how SBA guaranteed loans have opened the doors for businesses to expand.

"SBA guarantees a portion of the loan, so I feel like that's why you've seen this significant increase in lending at this point, because it does give a certain guarantee to the bank," said UGA-Small Business Development Ctr. Area Director Debbie Finney.

They say a lot of these resources are available for businesses who take the time to look, for Mark Grimaldi and Equinox the SBA's Export Working Capital program helps to fill those international orders and is keeping the business growing.

"It gives us room to grow over the next few years and add additional capabilities and additional processes," said the Equinox chief.

Leaving the business in a constant search from chemists and engineers to keep the south Georgia facility working 24 hours a day, seven days a week all year long.

In the last year Equinox made five million dollars in improvements to the infrastructure at its Albany facility.

Georgia businesses got more SBA guaranteed loans this fiscal year than any other state in the southeast.


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