Courtesy Small Business Development Program
Small-business owners and those interested in becoming small-business owners will have the opportunity to meet with dozens of lenders at the Meet the Lender Business Loan Fair. The event will be held at Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road, on Oct. 11 from 3-7 p.m. Attendees will have the opportunity to speak with the lenders about the loan process and network with government agency officials and other entrepreneurs at the fair.
"The opportunity is, you've got the lenders out of their offices. Instead of having to bang on every one of their doors, you've got 30 of them right in front of you," said Vicky Valdez, Small Business administrator for the City of Austin.
Along with networking opportunities, Sunita Murti of Southwestern National Bank, Obi Chukwumah of BB&T, Aaron Lee of Ron King Salon and Blair Smith of Dirty Dog will speak on the Borrowing 101 panel covering what preparation is necessary to begin loan discussions, the current lending climate and what lenders see as an ideal applicant. The panel discussion will be followed by a Q-and-A.
"One of our panelists, Blair of Dirty Dog, actually started her relationship with a banker at Meet the Lender," said Joy Miller, marketing and outreach coordinator for the city's Small Business Development Program.
The event features BizOpen Orientation, a class explaining how to navigate the city's zoning, permitting and development process, giving attendees a clear idea of the path to a Certificate of Occupancy.
Valdez said entrepreneurs interested in attending the event should bring a short executive summary, about one page in length, to share with lenders. She said though larger, national banks had not lent to entrepreneurs with less than two years of experience, that is not necessarily true now.
"Meet the Lender allows you to shop around quickly and easily to see who is supporting the niche of the market that you are in," Miller said.
The Meet the Lender event is now in its ninth year, and it has received an award from the National League of Cities and the Harvard Bright Ideas award. Valdez said the event is helpful for entrepreneurs at all stages, from a prospect with only an idea to a more established small business owner looking to expand.
"At some point in their business life, they're going to need to apply for a loan," she said. "They're going to need access to capital."
Advanced registration is not required, but attendees are encouraged to register for the BizOpen Orientation and the Borrowing 101 panel discussion at www.meetthelender.com.