More than $73.5 billion in small business loans have been issued nationwide over the past two years, supporting a growing number of businesses, Business.org reports.
The average loan size approved by the US Small Business Administration in 2021 was $727,343, a 27% increase from 2020, according to the report. In Oklahoma, the average loan was $651,000.
These loans were in addition to coronavirus relief dollars allocated to help businesses stay open.
The Oklahoma District Office guaranteed $69.1 million in SBA loans over the two-year period, spokesman Larry Weatherford said.
The number of loans and the total amount approved increased in fiscal year 2021. The district office approved 652 loans totaling $422 million, compared to 536 loans totaling $268 million the previous year.
“We had a great year last year, there’s no doubt about it,” Weatherford said. “Small businesses are so important. It creates jobs and stimulates the economy.
Small businesses in Oklahoma provide 715,603 jobs, or 51.7% of all state employees, according to SBA data.
Although financial institutions are making other loans outside of SBA-backed loans, they’re “a pretty good indication of overall activity,” Weatherford said.
“We’re seeing a lot more financial institutions offering SBA loans and a lot more lending activity in Oklahoma and an increase in small businesses,” he said.
Not everyone starts as a traditional business, Weatherford said.
Many people start side businesses, like selling Christmas trees or crafts, and some of them become full-time businesses. Also in the mix are “new entrepreneurs” who have retired and want to start their own business, which can be a sole proprietorship or include additional employees.
Nationally, the report shows that over the two-year period, accommodation and food services earned the highest approval total at $11.9 billion; telecommunications had the highest average funding required to support each job, $157,250; and professional, scientific and technical services had the most companies backed by SBA loans, 821,129.
In FY21, Oklahoma’s hospitality industry topped the list with 22 loans averaging $435,000 approved for full-service restaurants, 21 loans averaging $1 $346,000 approved for non-casino hotels and motels and 20 loans with an average value of $287,300 approved for limited-service restaurants.
Insurance agencies and brokerages were also approved for 20 loans with an average value of $278,300. The second highest average amount was $1,016,000 for nine loans to car washes.
General cargo trucking companies were approved for 16 loans averaging $65,250 (long haul) and 13 loans averaging $54,300 (local).
Other industries with loans above $500,000 on average were gas stations with convenience stores (14), veterinary services (10), convenience stores (eight) and home care services (six).
Other industries that had 10 or more loans were ‘other specialty contractors’, oil and gas operations support activities, and fitness and recreational sports facilities.