WASHINGTON (8/21/09)--Recent funding additions related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act have allowed the U.S. Small Business Administration to expand its microloan program, increasing access to capital for small businesses nationwide. In a Thursday release, the SBA said that it will focus on “adding new lenders and encouraging entrepreneurs to seek out SBA-backed microlenders to finance their businesses.” The SBA has “exhausted” its reserves of $20 million in loans and $20 million in technical assistance funds and will now use the additional $50 million in loan funds and $24 million in technical assistance funds, according to the release. SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills said that the additional resources will allow the SBA to “put more entrepreneurs and small business owners in a position to succeed and create jobs that will in turn help drive our nation’s economic recovery.” The SBA has approved eight new microloan applications following the passage of the Recovery Act and will disburse $10.7 million in Recovery Act funding through microloans. Durham, N.C.-based Self Help CU is one credit union that participates in the microlending program. Applicants who wish to participate in the program must: be organized as a non-profit organization, quasi-governmental economic development corporation, or an agency established by a Native American Tribal Government; have a minimum of one year of experience providing technical assistance to borrowers; and must have made and serviced short-term fixed-rate loans of not more than $35,000 to newly established or growing small businesses for at least one year, according to the SBA.