More than $73.5 billion in small business loans were issued nationwide in the past two years, supporting a growing number of ventures, Business.org reports.
The average loan amount 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 were loans in addition to coronavirus relief dollars allocated to help businesses stay open.
The Oklahoma District Office guaranteed $69.1 million in SBA loans during the two-year period, spokesman Larry Weatherford said.
Both the number of loans and total amount approved increased in fiscal year 2021. The district office approved 652 loans totaling $422 million, up from 536 loans totaling $268 million the prior year.
“We had a great year last year, there’s no doubt,” Weatherford said. “Small business is so important. It provides jobs and drives the economy.”
Oklahoma’s small businesses provide 715,603 jobs, accounting for 51.7% of all employees in the state, according to SBA data.
Although financial institutions make other loans outside SBA-guaranteed loans, they are “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 a surge of small businesses,” he said.
Not all of them start as a traditional business, Weatherford said.
Many people are starting side businesses – like selling Christmas trees or crafts – and some of those grow into a full-time business. Also in the mix are “encore entrepreneurs” who have retired from a career and want to start their own business, which may be a one-person operation or include additional employees.
Nationally, the report shows during the two-year period accommodation and food services had the highest approval total, $11.9 billion; telecommunications had the highest average required funding to support each job, $157,250; and professional, scientific and technical services had the most firms supported 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 averaging $287,300 approved for limited-service restaurants.
Insurance agencies and brokerages also were approved for 20 loans averaging $278,300. The second-highest average amount was $1,016,000 for nine loans to car washes.
General freight trucking companies were approved for 16 loans averaging $65,250 (long distance) and 13 averaging $54,300 (local).
Other industries with loans that averaged more than $500,000 were gasoline stations with convenience stores (14), veterinary services (10), convenience stores (eight) and home health care services (six).
Other industries that had 10 or more loans were “other specialty trade contractors,” support activities for oil and gas operations, and fitness and recreational sports centers.