Tester Secures $61 Million for Montana Small Businesses Through American Rescue Plan

SSBCI program will provide capital to small businesses to create jobs and expand operations

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today continued his push to support Montana small businesses across the state grow and create good-paying jobs by securing $61,327,969 for Montana’s State Small Business Credit Initiative through the American Rescue Plan Act. These resources are for credit and investment programs for small businesses and startups to help them grow and succeed, strengthening the economy.

Tester was the only member of Montana’s delegation to vote for the American Rescue Plan Act.

“Small businesses are the backbone of Montana’s economy, creating good paying jobs and strengthening our communities from our most rural areas to our cities,” said Tester. “I’m proud to have secured these critical investments through the American Rescue Plan that will allow our small businesses to thrive and that have proven to exponentially grow our state’s economy. I’m urging the state to get these resources out the door as quickly as possible, and I’m going to keep fighting to create jobs and new opportunities for Montana’s small businesses and lower costs for our state’s working families.”

Tester’s work was praised by Montana community development organizations:

“This is fabulous news—the SSBCI program was so beneficial to Montana’s economy in 2008,” said Brett Doney, President of Great Falls Development Authority. “This couldn’t come at a better time to help Montana small businesses recover and come back stronger than ever. We appreciate the hard work of Senator Tester to secure these resources and support Montana small businesses.” 

“Montana’s economic development community is thankful for Senator Tester’s leadership in helping to secure these SSBCI funds for our state from the Treasury Department,” said Paul Tuss, Executive Director of Bear Paw Development Corporation, a five-county, two-reservation Economic Development District based in Havre. “Through a partnership with the Montana Department of Commerce, these funds will be used to help Main Street businesses start-up or expand, leading to more jobs, an expanded tax base and a more robust economy for our entire state. In northern Montana, our organization looks forward to partnering with area banks and the private sector to deploy these funds so small businesses in our rural area have the capital they need to be successful.”

Tester helped secure $10 billion for the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) in the American Rescue Plan to support small business financing through state, territorial, and tribal government programs.  Following the previous financial crisis, Congress recognized the need to increase credit availability to small business and otherwise support small businesses and authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to establish and administer a $1.5 billion SSBCI fund.  Through SSBCI, Treasury provided funding to participating states to create or expand small business investment programs, including capital access programs, collateral support programs, loan guarantee programs, loan participation programs, or venture capital programs.  

An October 2016 evaluation of SSBCI found that, by the end of 2015, state SSBCI programs supported nearly $8.4 billion in new capital in small business loans and investments with $1.04 billion in program funding.  The program was hugely successful in Montana, the state received $13 million in funding which it distributed through regional economic development organizations.

In 2020, Tester held hundreds of meetings with Montana’s workers, small business owners, frontline health care workers, educators, Tribes, and local officials to solicit input about what Montanans need to make it through the pandemic. Tester used that input to help craft the American Rescue Plan, which provided $20 billion in vaccine funding, $382 million for Montana K-12 schools, legislation to restore long-distance service to the Empire Builder Amtrak route, and billions for small businesses, rural hospitals and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

More information about the SSBCI program can be found HERE.


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