Originally created 10/11/00

Agency will sponsor fair



The government agency that assisted once-fledgling businesses such as Nike, Federal Express and Ben & Jerry's will be in Augusta today offering help to area small businesses.

The U.S. Small Business Administration, along with a number of area organizations, will have experts on hand to help new and established small-business owners with everything from commercial loans to bidding on government contracts.

Known as the Small Business Street Fair 2000, the daylong downtown event will feature booths and tents set up next to the historic Cotton Exchange building where Eighth Street meets the riverfront.

The small-business bazaar is designed to introduce a wider variety of business owners and entrepreneurs to the SBA by exploding common misconceptions about the agency.

"In my travels around the state, I was amazed at the number of small business owners that don't know what we're all about," said Charles Anderson, the SBA's Georgia district director.

The SBA is not a lender, but it does help small businesses obtain financing from private lenders by guaranteeing a percentage of the loan. A common myth about the SBA is that it helps only struggling businesses and minorities, Mr. Anderson said.

"Too many people think of us as a lender of last resort," he said. "That couldn't be further from the truth."

More than 250 people representing the SBA, area lending institutions, economic development agencies and major employers are expected to attend the free event. It is sponsored by the SBA, Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, The Augusta Chronicle and the CSRA Development Cos.

Reach Damon Cline at (706) 823-3486 or at bized@augustachronicle.com.

Business Fair

What: Small Business Street Fair

When: Today, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Eighth Street and riverfront, next to the historic Cotton Exchange building