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Everything You Need to Know if You’re Looking for a Small Business Loan in Nebraska

If you either own a small business or are looking to start one, you’ll likely benefit from a small business loan. We’ve compiled all the relevant information to help take the headache out of finding Nebraska small business grants, including helpful sites, statistics, and more.

At a glance There are several small business loans available in Nebraska. One recent initiative is the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which aims at giving small businesses a financial boost to make up for what they may have lost over the last year or so. To date, over $3.4 billion has been awarded in Nebraska small business grants through PPP alone. This isn’t the only option, though. We’ll take a look at what else is on offer if you own or run a small business in Nebraska. 

Top Three Nebraska Small Business Loan Options

Rural Enterprise Assistance Project

Given that Nebraska spans over 76,000 miles, it’s no surprise that 35% of the state’s population live and work in rural areas. The Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) is an option provided by the Center for Rural Affairs (CFRA) geared toward small business owners. 

There are three main loan types available: Small Business Loans, Recovery Loans, and Express Loans. 

A small business loan is for any amount between $1,000 to $250,000 and can be used as working capital, to purchase inventory or equipment, and for real estate. Recovery Loans go up to $50,000 ($250,000 with blended interest rates) and can be used in a similar way, as well as for small business recovery and growth. Express Loans are for those who’ve already borrowed from CFRA, as well as new borrowers, these loans go up to $15,000.

Paycheck Protection Program

Small business loan requirements in Nebraska vary by providers, with the PPP open to anyone with 500 or fewer employees. The PPP is also part of the Small Business Administration service, which we’ll look at in greater detail later. 

As for the PPP, it doesn’t matter if your small business is a veteran organization, nonprofit, Tribal business concerns, sole proprietorship, or if you’re a self-employed individual or independent contractor. As long as you have a workforce of 500 or less, you can apply. 

Applications are made through approved lenders in Nebraska and range from First Draw loans (if you haven’t had one before) and Second Draw if you have. There are many conditions involved, but what makes PPP so attractive is that it can be forgivable and has an interest rate of 1%. Also, note that current PPP regulations are set to change so that they’re more equitable.

Bank of Bennington

If you live or work in Douglas, Saunders, or Lancaster, the Bank of Bennington may be able to help you. It offers small business loans with repayments spread out between one and four years.

The Bank of Bennington specializes in loans for agricultural businesses, so it’s another viable option for a good chunk of the state’s population. If you don’t live in one of the three counties mentioned above, you can still apply as long as your business is registered in one of them.

This is also a good option for those who need a loan fast, as applications can be quick (though you’ll likely still need to appear in-branch) and are sometimes awarded the next business day after approval. 

Summary Table

Provider

Loan Type(s)

Suitable for:

Center for Rural Affairs

Small Business, $1,000 to $250,000 

Recovery, up to $250,000

Express, up to $15,000 

Any small business, for a variety of uses

Small Business Administration, Omaha Branch

Paycheck Protection Program, amounts vary

Any business with 500 or fewer employees

Bank of Bennington

Small Business (specializing in agricultural businesses), amounts vary

Any small business registered in Douglas, Saunders, or Lancaster

Top Online Nebraska Small Business Loan Options

The good news is that there are more than just Nebraska small business grants available, with many organizations offering loans at both the national and online levels. 

1. Small Business Administration

The SBA is a government body dedicated to helping small businesses by providing support across various areas. From finding suitable lending partners to linking with state-specific resources, the SBA should be one of the first organizations any small business owner consult with.

The SBA has an office in Omaha, which can link you to Nebraska-specific resources (more information below), but it also offers nationwide financial help. Rather than provide loans itself, the SBA draws up strict lending guidelines that licensed lenders adhere to. You can also use the SBA to find a lender best suited to your small business needs.

Three of the main loan types you’ll find with an approved lender include the 7(a), 504, and Microloans. The first is the most common SBA loan type and can grant up to $5 million. The 504 also covers up to $5 million and is primarily for anything that helps business growth. A Microloan is for up to $50,000 and is especially useful for small businesses, particularly those just starting out.

2. Fundera

Like the SBA, Fundera helps small business owners find a loan that’s best for their needs. However, it’s not a government organization but rather an independent company; Fundera’s been around since 2013 and has helped over 35,000 businesses so far.

One of the most significant advantages of using Fundera is that they can help small businesses who are just starting up. If you don’t have any previous financial records, Fundera should have a lender that will offer a loan.

Due to the company’s focus on providing small business owners with relevant aid, Fundera is also impartial, so your business’s credit score (or possible lack of) won’t affect your application process.

Additional Montana Small Business Financial Resources

Small businesses in Montana can also access other financial resources to help fund their business idea. These financial resources include business grants. A grant is often more beneficial than a loan, because you don't need to repay funding from grants. 

Small business grants can be competitive but it is worth checking to see if you are eligible. 

Below are some of the business grants available for small businesses in Montana: 

Montana Business Stabilization Program 

The Montana Business Stabilization Program was created to offer working capital to small businesses to support debt service, payroll, accounts, rent, and other expenses needed to maintain business operations. If you want to apply for this grant, your business should be based in Montana, and it must have 50 or fewer workers. 

Montana Facility Finance Authority, Emergency Loan Program

The Emergency Loan Program makes short-term loans available for eligible businesses and institutions at a very competitive rate. Eligible projects for these business grants include operating expenses, purchase of equipment, facility acquisition, and many more. 

How to Prepare for a Nebraska Small Business Loan 

Whether your business has been on the go for a while or you’re just starting up, there are a few key points to keep in mind. Aside from making use of free services like SCORE, it’s vital you do the following before you apply for a loan:

  • Have a business plan. Most lenders require a traditional, in-depth plan, but some may be happy with a Lean Startup Plan (key points only).
  • Research which grants are suitable for your particular business needs.
  • Ensure you have all the relevant documents in order before applying for a loan. If you forget something or complete a form incorrectly, this will reflect badly on your organizational skills and delay the loan process.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re unsure about how to word a grant application, or even if you fully meet the requirements, SCORE and the SBA both have plenty of free resources online. 
  • Be prepared to face rejection. You may not want to hear it, but there’s always a chance a funding body declines your application. If this happens, don’t panic. Always have at least a second option in mind in case you need to try a different lender.

The Bottom Line

Nebraska small business loans aren’t difficult to find; the trick is to make a successful application. It can be a daunting task, but we’ve now provided you with a wealth of relevant tools to help make everything just that little bit easier. Whatever type of small business you run or plan to start, there’s a loan available for you - either at the state level, online, or both.