The SBA said its Small Business Investment Company debenture program provided a record $2.95 billion to small businesses in fiscal year 2012.
That figure was a 14% increase over last year’s $2.59 billion and an 85% increase over 2010, also a record year, according to the SBA.
The SBIC program was created in 1958 to stimulate the growth of America’s small businesses by supplementing the long-term debt and private-equity capital available to them, the agency said.
The SBA’s capital commitments to debenture funds broke another record, increasing to $1.92 billion in FY 2012, up from $1.82 billion in FY 2011, according to the agency.
The SBIC debenture program has also attracted more initial private sector capital in FY 2012 than in any year in the history of the program – approximately $1 billion compared to $840 million in FY 2011, the previous high. The average debenture SBIC has raised more than twice the private capital than the average debenture fund of a decade ago.
The SBA said 30 new debenture and unleveraged SBIC licenses were issued in FY 2012, exceeding last year’s total of 22 by 36%. Additionally, SBIC license processing time improved to just 5.4 months in FY 2012, down from 14.6 months in 2009.
SBICs are privately owned and managed investment firms that are licensed and regulated by the SBA. They use a combination of funds raised from private sources and money raised through the use of SBA guarantees to make equity and mezzanine capital investments in small businesses.
According to the SBA, there are 301 SBICs with more than $18 billion in capital under management.