Archive for the 'Seattle/Bellevue Franchise' Category

Home Helpers Franchise

February 6th, 2011

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Mark Stanley invested 30 years of his life into the cement and concrete company Lafarge, only to be laid off unexpectedly and left to care for his widowed mother.

He didn’t know at the time that caring for his elderly mother would lead to his next career.  The 52-year-old Loveland resident didn’t know what to do in December 2008 when he lost his job.  Most people told him to get back to work as soon as possible in his field, but Stanley took a pause.  Rather than jump headfirst into another manufacturing job, Stanley decided to take some time to get perspective.

He was able to narrowly survive with his severance pay, savings and his wife’s income.  In April 2009, shortly after losing his job, Stanley’s father died and his mother, who has multiple sclerosis, moved in with him because she was unable to care for herself.

While looking for a job, Stanley soon realized how competitive the market was during the height of the Great Recession.  Rather than take a lower-paying job, Stanley started looking into opening his own business via a franchise.  “Jobs were pretty limited, it was tough,” said Stanley who didn’t want to go on unemployment. “If I make half of what I used to make, I might as well work for myself,” he said.  While researching potential business options, Stanley stumbled across Home Helpers, a franchise that offers caregivers who provide clients with non-medical care and companionship.

Caring for his mother at the time, Stanley was acutely aware of how useful such a service could be to the elderly and their families.  This year alone, an estimated 10,000 people per day will turn 65 years old, said Stanley, citing the built-in client base he has waiting for him as the baby boomer generation ages.

For the past 10 months, Stanley has been working to get his own Home Helper franchise off the ground, and on Jan. 3, he officially launched the company based in Loveland that services all of Northern Colorado.  Stanley paid $42,000, for the franchise, money he took from his own savings.  His first official client is his own mother, Betty Stanley, 70, who has been able to move back into her home in west Loveland where she lived with her late husband.

“It’s wonderful. They (Home Helpers Franchise) help so much because of things that I can’t do alone,” said Betty Stanley, sitting in her living room.  Betty Stanley said she prefers being able to live in her own home with the aid of a Home Helper employee because it is familiar to her.  Little things, like the horses she watches in a field east of her home and her wheelchair ramp make her more comfortable.

Betty Stanley’s caregiver Keri Dotson said she assists Betty Stanley in her day-to-day activities and helps her go to the senior center two to three times a week, but said that she primarily keeps her company.  “I am mainly companionship for her,” said Dotson who tearfully compared Betty Stanley to family. “I introduce her as a friend not a client.”  Stanley said it is that companionship and care that he wants to provide to others who need it.  While Home Helpers  Franchise is not restricted to just seniors, he said that most elderly people fear having to leave their home for a nursing home or some other form of assisted living.

Compared to $70,000 or more for assisted living care, Stanley said his services cost about $18,000 a year for 20 hours per week. The amount of time a client wants to hire a home helper depends on their needs, and Stanley said he is prepared to cater to both needs and budgets.  “Home Helpers Franchise offers an affordable alternative to senior care and assisted living,” Stanley said.

Stanley is not the only unemployed person gravitating toward owning their own franchises.  According to new studies released this month, the U.S franchising industry is expected to see some growth in 2011.  The study produced by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers on behalf of the International Franchise Association, projects that the number of franchise units will grow 2.5 percent in 2011 to 784,802, as opposed to last year’s increase of just 0.3 percent.

With nearly 35 million residents above the age of 65, there is a need for such services.  According to the Administration on Aging, individuals reaching age 65 have an average life expectancy of an additional 18.6 years and the number of Americans ages 45 to 64 who will reach 65 over the next two decades increased by 31 percent this decade.

The bottom line for Stanley is he turned an unexpected layoff into a business he genuinely enjoys.  “I could be doing construction and I would be happy, but this is more rewarding,” he said. “I can’t wait to get up every morning… I’m not going to get rich, but I’m rich in life.”

For more information on Home Helpers Franchise, or any of the other 10-15 Senior Care or Assisted Living Franchise Models I have available, please contact me for a presentation.

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Popularity: 7% [?]

Domino’s Pizza – Still a Hot Franchise?

January 29th, 2011

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SAC Takes a Slice of Domino’s


 Steven Cohen’s hedge fund, SAC Capital, disclosed on Monday that it had acquired a 5.3 percent stake in Domino’s Pizza Franchise.

While it is a passive investment, the news caused Domino’s shares to rise more than 2 percent in after-hours trading.

The filing comes at a time of renewed investor interest in fast-food chain franchises, as the economy slowly improves and as deal makers perceive value, as highlighted by 3G Capital’s deal for Burger King in September.

SAC now owns 3.19 million shares of Domino’s Franchise, making it the fifth-biggest shareholder. The biggest is the private equity firm Bain Capital, which bought Domino’s Franchise from its founder, Tom Monaghan, in 1998 for a reported $1 billion. After taking the company public in 2004, Bain now has a 13.65 percent stake, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Domino’s Franchise, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., operates a network of nearly 9,000 company-owned and franchise pizza shops nationwide.

Mr. Cohen’s passion for pizza has been noted before. According to a New York Post Page Six item in January 2006, Mr. Cohen was seen buying a pie from Pizza 33 on East 33rd Street and Third Avenue, using an American Express “black card,” the ultra-elite Centurian charge card.

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Popularity: 6% [?]

Celebrities – What Franchises Do They Own?

January 24th, 2011

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We all know from the   photos  in celebrity magazines that famous people walk their dogs, go to the gym, attend their kids’ Little League games and get pulled over for speeding exactly like us regular folk who don’t make $20 million on every movie or record deal. Many of them try to make a killing in franchising, too–frequently turning to fast food, a resilient investment even in harsh economic times. Here are five celebs putting their money where mouths are.

Dick Clark
The venerable  American Bandstand  host and longtimeNew Year’s Rockin’ Eve  ringleader first tuned in to the Krispy Kreme franchise brand during the 1960s, while   traveling  in the South with his Caravan of Stars rock ‘n’ roll road shows. When the chain went national in the 1990s, Clark lobbied unsuccessfully to purchase a New York City location–but in 2002 he and his business partners were granted the rights to develop 25 Krispy Kreme locations in Great Britain. Day-old doughnuts are apparently not an option for the World’s Oldest Teenager.

Hank Aaron
The Baseball Hall of Famer swapped his jaw-dropping bat for a mouth-watering chicken leg in 1995, when his 755 Restaurant Corp. opened a pair of  Church’s Chicken franchises in Atlanta. 755 (so named for the record-breaking number of homers Hammerin’ Hank hit during his 23-year career) now owns five Church’s franchise locations across the southeastern United States, as well as 20 Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and two Krispy Kreme units.
Success:  It tastes like chicken.

Phil Mickelson
Golf superstar Mickelson took a swing at entrepreneurial glory when he quietly joined a group of investors awarded the  Orange  County, Calif., rights to the fast-growing  Five Guys Burgers and Fries  franchise, the first of which opened in August. Mickelson’s involvement in Five Guys franchises became public days after he slyly trumpeted the chain as “hands down the best burger I’ve ever had” during the 2010 Players Championship. Weeks later, he pulled the opposite of a good PR move when he turned vegetarian in an attempt to ease his psoriatic arthritis.

Caron Butler
Basketball is a team sport, but business is all about having it your way. Just ask NBA veteran  Butler, small forward with the Dallas Mavericks and sole proprietor of six  Burger King  franchise locations across the country. Butler worked at BK as a teen, saying he knows the business “from the janitorial spot all the way through the management side.” Burger King also feeds Butler’s unusual habit of chewing drinking straws during games: He would gnaw as many as a dozen a night before the league banned the practice in early 2010, citing safety concerns. “I don’t do 7-Eleven straws or anything,” Butler once explained. “McDonald’s, Burger King, that’s it.”
Fun fact:  Straws are actually tastier and more nutritious than most fast-foodfare.

Kanye West
Hip-hop superstar West expanded from beats to eats in mid-2008, when his KW Foods signed on to construct a series of  Fatburger franchise locations across his native Chicago. As of press time, only two of the proposed 10 Fatburger franchise units have opened, however. There’s apparently no truth to the rumors that the delays are a result of West’s insistence on renaming the chain “Phatburger”–or that he interrupted pop singer Taylor Swift’s own plans to partner with the burger chain.

Now of course, you don’t have to be a celebrity to own one of thesed Franchises.  Give me a call for more information.

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Popularity: 7% [?]

U.S Franchise Industry Poised for Growth in 2011

January 20th, 2011

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This post has been written and published by SARAH E. NEEDLEMAN of the Wall Street Journal:

The U.S. franchising industry is poised for modest growth in 2011, according to two new studies to be released this week.

Franchise businesses in most sectors are expected to add more store units and employees this year, concludes an analysis produced by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers on behalf of the International Franchise Association, a trade group in Washington. PWC attributes the positive outlook in large part to the recently enacted tax and unemployment benefits package, which includes payroll and income tax cuts.


The study projects that the number of franchise units will grow 2.5% in 2011 to 784,802. Last year, franchise units increased just 0.3%, and their ranks declined 3.6% in 2009.

Franchises are also expected to create 194,000 new jobs in 2011, a 2.5% increase that will bring total employment to an estimated 7.8 million. Franchises expanded their payrolls 0.6% in 2010 after shedding 2.8% of their employees in 2009.

Economic output—the gross value of the goods and services a business produces—is projected to grow 4.7%, or $33.3 billion, for franchise businesses, reaching an estimated $739.9 billion in 2011, PWC said. Last year, economic output rose 3.4%, following a 0.3% increase in 2009.

By sector, all business lines except business services are projected to increase in store volume and employment this year. The largest gains in these areas are expected in lodging, automotive and retail products/services. In terms of economic output, industries expected to see the greatest increases are automotive, commercial and residential services, personal services and retail food.

Business is starting to improve for Driven Brands Inc. and its six franchise brands, which include Maaco and Meineke, said Ken Walker, chairman and chief executive of the Charlotte, N.C., auto-repair company. Following a relatively flat 2009, Driven Brands’s revenue increased 3.1% last year, and Mr. Walker anticipates a 5% increase in 2011 sales. “We’re going to see a good period,” he said. “I am very confident.”

Meanwhile, a recent survey of 142 franchisees by the franchise association also suggests that 2011 will be a better year for their businesses. Nearly three-quarters of respondents said they expect “moderate to significant” increases in same-store sales over the next 12 months, while 40% said they expect to see an improvement in business conditions. Forty-five percent said they expect to increase employment “moderately to significantly.”

To be sure, survey respondents also noted that obtaining sufficient funding remains a major hurdle to success. Thirty percent said lack of credit has had a “significant impact on ability to expand business,” and 25% reported it has had a “moderate impact.” In addition, 42% of franchisees said they’ve seen “no improvement” in access to credit in recent months, while 28% reported a “moderate improvement.” Just 18% said that a lack of credit had “no impact” on their business and that they were able to obtain financing, while 27% said their business did not require any financing.

“Without more consistent access to credit, franchisees can’t grow,” said Steve Caldeira, president and CEO of the association. “We’re beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel, but clearly again we have a long way to go.”

These days, only about 40% of BrightStar Care franchisees rely on bank loans to get started, add more units or make renovations, whereas three years ago just about all of them tapped home-equity loans for such purposes, said Shelly Sun, chief executive officer. Today, 40% of the home health-care company’s 195 franchisees nationwide are also funded by owners’ retirement savings, and 20% operate with cash investments, she said.

BrightStar Care earned $100 million in system-wide sales last year, up from $52 million in 2009. The company projects sales of $175 million in 2011, plus the opening of 86 more locations. Its corporate staff increased to 53 people last year and “because of the [extension of] the Bush tax cuts, we plan to add 15 additional personnel in 2011,” Ms. Sun said. She further attributes the company’s expansion to a growing preference among seniors for home-based health care rather than relocation to a nursing home or assisted-living facility.

To help prospective franchisees get started, some franchisors have begun offering in-house financing options in recent years. Nadiene Raia said she launched a Money Mailer franchise last September by borrowing roughly $30,000 of the $40,000 total cost from the direct-mail advertiser. The loan includes the option to defer interest-free payments for the first two years.

Ms. Raia had previously been laid off from a publisher position at an alternative weekly newspaper in Sarasota, Fla., and she said she didn’t bother to seek out a bank loan because she lacked a track record of owning a business. “For somebody that’s looking to get involved in franchising and doesn’t have the capital, this is the way to go,” she said of the option she chose.

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Popularity: 4% [?]

Kick Start Your Path to Entrepreneurship Interview

January 7th, 2011

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A few days ago I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Michael Surkan, the founder of Meetup Seattle.  Meetup Seattle is a Linkedin Networking Group of approx 28,000 Members.

Michael had an interest in knowing more about the Franchise Industry, so he asked if I would give him a short interview.  Here is his description of our interview:

In this episode Thomas Wolter explains that starting a Franchise can be a simpler and more reliable path to successful to entrepreneurship than starting your own firm from scratch. Franchises come with a proven business model and a turn-key operation (not to mention guidance) to get started. Franchises aren’t just about retail food. Thomas shares his suggestions of some great Franchise options which are both inexpensive, and tailored to different expertise and personalities. There is a wide assortment of Franchise opportunities, with options right for almost everyone.

Click Here for the link to the podcast Franchise interview:

If you have an interest in Franchising, you may want to download this podcast and listed to some of the details discussed.  If there are any question you have, don’t hestitate to email me at:

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Popularity: 3% [?]

Prediction or Fact? Top 10 Franchises for 2011.

January 4th, 2011

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Are you currently considering Buying a Franchise in 2011?  If so, you may want to consider reviewing the most recent issue of Entrepreneur magazine.  In this issue they review some very prominent Franchise Concepts.  Click here

Keep in mind that there are many more Franchise Concepts available in the marketplace that are not mentioned in this article.  Please contact me for more Franchise information.

Popularity: 3% [?]


January 3rd, 2011

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WASHINGTON, Dec. 17, 2010—The International Franchise Association today  submitted comments urging the Food and Drug Administration to complete a full rulemaking process for all provisions in the new menu-labeling regulations at the same time, rather than a tiered approach to help minimize the cost and confusion for small, franchised restaurants and more efficiently provide valuable information to consumers.

“The International Franchise Associations continues to support providing consumers with clear and consistent nutrition information,” said International Franchise Association President and CEO Stephen J. Caldeira. “However, as we have more fully explored the myriad of questions associated with implementation for all of the different types of franchised restaurant systems, we believe that by implementing all the provisions at the same time, FDA can implement the law with the least amount of confusion and in the most efficient, cost-effective manner possible with adequate time to comply.”

Caldeira explained that the franchised restaurant business model is complex, with no two companies alike. Certain business models franchise all their establishments while others divide between franchised ownership and corporate ownership. While the new law requires chain restaurants to post certain specified nutrition information for consumers, International Franchise Association member restaurant chains are made up of hundreds or even thousands of individual owners who may operate slightly differently, but operate under the same brand.   

“For these small business owners, the cost of implementing the law two or more times, becomes quite daunting, particularly during the current economic crisis, Caldeira said. “By implementing the provisions all at the same time, small businesses struggling to stay afloat will be awarded with regulatory certainty that will help them manage the costs involved.”

The determination of how to provide calories on menus for franchised restaurants can be complex. Some franchise companies require all foods to be approved by the corporation. Other corporations allow individual franchise owners to put a certain number of their own items on the menu, without corporate approval.  Others allow the franchise owner to develop an entire menu consisting of “non-system” foods.   

“The determination of what is ‘standard’ and what is not become more complicated,” Caldeira said. “In cases where the franchise owner determines the entire menu, the cost of implementation will rest solely on the franchise owner.”

The International Franchise Association supports implementation of nutrition menu labeling, Caldeira added. “Our comments are meant to help the FDA write efficient and effective rules for the franchised small businesses that make up most restaurant chains,” he said. “We truly appreciate the ongoing dialogue with FDA officials and their willingness to consider reasonable suggestions to the new regulations to ease the burden on small businesses.”

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Popularity: 3% [?]

Mitt Romney to Headline Franchise Event in February

December 27th, 2010

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As former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gears up for a near-certain second bid for the presidency, he will attempt to show off his business bona fides by headlining a small business event in Las Vegas in mid-February.

At the International Franchise Association’s conference, he will have the opportunity to showcase his resume before a friendly and influential audience of approximately 2,500 small business owners in what also happens to be an early nominating state on the Republican primary calendar.

Internation Franchise Association’s Web site notes that its mission is “to protect, enhance and promote franchising through government relations, public relations and educational programs.” Data on the group’s site show that approximately 21 million jobs are attributable to small franchises.

International Franchise Association’s 51st annual convention will take place in Las Vegas from Feb. 13 to 16 at the MGM Grand, and the theme is “Building the Future Together.” Organizers plan to emphasize how small business owners can position themselves “as the economy begins to improve,” meaning Romney will have to navigate his message carefully as he keeps up his current criticism of President Obama’s handling of the economy.

Romney is the convention headliner, and he will speak at the opening general session on Monday, Feb. 14th. Forbes Inc. CEO Steve Forbes, who ran in the GOP primaries for president in 1996 and 2000, is keynoting the event during the closing luncheon on Wednesday the 16th.

Romney is the top draw and may help the group pull in some funds; International Franchise Association notes in its registration materials that Romney will be on hand to schmooze at a VIP reception for the association’s political action committee, FranPAC.

In a release detailing Romney’s appearance, International Franchise Association notes, “Elected governor of Massachusetts in 2002, Romney presided over a dramatic reversal of state fortunes and a period of sustained economic expansion. Without raising taxes or increasing debt, Gov. Romney balanced the budget every year of his administration, closing a $3 billion budget gap inherited when he took office and created tens of thousands of jobs.”

The announcement even touts Romney’s stewardship of health care reform in the Bay State.

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Popularity: 6% [?]

War Veterans Choose to be Entrepreneurs

December 24th, 2010

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Shaped by their war experiences and military training, many veterans are opting to go into business for themselves rather than work for someone else.

Josh Evans stands in front of a Huey helicopter in Iraq in 2004.

Credit: Courtesy of Josh Evans

Above: Josh Evans stands in front of a Huey helicopter in Iraq in 2004.

Jose Martinez received a medical discharge from the Army in 2006 at age 24. He was a sergeant with the U.S. Army Ranger unit that found Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 2003.

Today, he owns Siglo 22, an Escondido-based record company he began two years ago. It specializes in Norteno, or music from Northern Mexico. He also manages four bands and has six employees who book gigs for the groups, design graphics and perform other tasks.

After his discharge, Martinez weighed his options and decided he did not want to start at the bottom in a minimum-wage job. So he went out on his own, gradually establishing his business.

“It was the only answer. I held a couple of retail jobs when I was first discharged, but it wasn’t working out,” Martinez said. “Paychecks were small and there was no future in it. Being a huge fan of music, I decided to start a record company.”

When he did not find enough business locally, Martinez cast his net further. His bands have gigs now in Los Angeles, Sacramento, and even Colorado and Utah.

“It’s a business that will one day give me the financial security I’m looking for.”

Martinez said he likes having control over both the business and his finances. He applies everything he learned in the military, he said, even though the missions are not the same.

“There’s nothing like the leadership skills you learn in the military. When you come out, you’re automatically at the top of the totem pole, because you’ve lead people on combat and training missions, and this just becomes second nature to you.”

Martinez put discipline at the top of the list of traits he acquired while serving. A close second was dogged persistence, since quitting on the battlefield was not an option.

“I’m never going to give up on my dreams, I want to work harder because I want to be the best and I want to instill that in my employees,” Martinez said.

The intrinsic discipline of military men and women, combined with risk-taking and persistence, form strong foundations for entrepreneurial veterans.

“I think so many veterans decide to go into business for themselves because the skills and characteristics they acquire during their service align with traits that successful small business owners typically have,” explained Rachel Fischer. She is deputy program manager at the San Diego Contracting Opportunities Center.

“(Veterans have) persistence, tenacity, great organizational skills, initiative, and follow-through,” she said.

The Center, which is part of Southwestern College, just launched a federal contractor-certification program. It will train local service-disabled veterans in the skills and knowledge they need to go after government contracts.

Having worked with hundreds of veteran-owned small businesses at the center, Fischer noted that veterans often tend to choose construction or trade-related businesses, falling back on what they know or learned.

But there are exceptions, such as Martinez, who chose the music industry, or Josh Evans, who went into private security.

Evans founded Global Security Options five years ago. It has three employees and provides perimeter security for government and utility-company facilities, such as waste-water plants, wells, substations and refineries.

Evans served in the Marine Corps for 10 years, as a C-130 pilot. He was a captain when he left active duty in 2005, and is a Navy reservist now.

He decided not to become a civilian pilot, choosing an unrelated field because of circumstances.

“In 2005, the airline industry was in chaos; it wasn’t a very healthy industry then. I felt there was an opportunity in the security market,” Evans said.

He came across an East Coast company with impressive products and decided to sell their solutions out here. He also wanted to be his own boss with flexible hours, to be with his growing family.

“The freedom and flexibility of working for yourself is a real driver for me. A lot of the veterans out there are at least partially accustomed to taking risks and succeeding or failing on their own,” Evans said.

Serving in the Marine Corps helped Evans in many ways, he said.

“I think probably the largest is mission accomplishment. You set a goal, you figure out a plan on how to get there. You execute your plan and you can measure yourself based against the plan,” Evans said.

In San Diego, there are about 90 businesses owned by service-disabled veterans which are registered with the California Disabled Veterans Business Enterprise.

Evans, a member of the statewide association, said there are many more that are not certified, or do not meet the disability requirement to be certified.

San Diego is also home to the Elite Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Network. It is a national organization helping veterans start businesses and find government-contract opportunities.

Veterans have also begun more than 2,000 Franchise businesses across the country in the last few years, through an initiative called VetFran, started by the International Franchise Association. The program offers discounts on the initial franchise fee, which can lower up-front costs by thousands of dollars.

The most popular franchise choices are retail and service businesses.

Veterans benefit from contracting opportunities that give veteran-owned businesses priority, and are able to tap the vast network of veterans and mentoring organizations. But they also have unique challenges.

Among them are adopting to a less-rigid routine and dealing with the fallout from Post-Traumatic-Stress Disorder, or PTSD.

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Popularity: 3% [?]

SBA Extends Authority to Help Franchises

December 22nd, 2010

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WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 22, 2010—Following passage of the continuing resolution to extend government funding through March 4, the International Franchise Association (IFA) today hailed the decision by lawmakers to include a provision extending the Small Business Administration’s authority for key lending programs critical to franchise small businesses still struggling to recover from the recession, which were scheduled to expire on December 31, 2010.

“Congressional leaders have heard loud and clear our message that the franchise small business industry will be unable to grow and create jobs without extending the SBA’s lending authority,” said International Franchise Association President & CEO Steve Caldeira.

Earlier this year, President Obama signed into law the Small Business Jobs Act to permanently increase the SBA’s 7(a) loan limits from $2 million to $5 million. That legislation, which was one of International Franchise Associations top legislative priorities, only temporarily extended the 90-percent loan guarantee rate and borrower fee reduction through the end of this year.

“This extension is a critical short-term solution that will provide much-needed access to credit for franchise small businesses looking to expand,” said Caldeira.

The CR includes an extension of SBA’s authority to grant fee waivers to 7(a) and 504 small business applicants and to offer higher guarantees (up to 90 percent) on 7(a) loans through March 4, 2011, or until funds are expended, whichever occurs first.

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Popularity: 6% [?]

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