SNAP micro-enterprise loans range from $500 up to $50,000. Overall, the program has access to around $1 million in loan pools for business owners who meet established income guidelines. Loans are also available to businesses that employ residents who meet income guidelines.

A recent survey of SNAP business borrowers revealed that 79 percent of the companies are still operating within five years after receiving their loan. On average, these households have increased their income by 40 percent. SNAP Financial Access 'green loans' are also available for businesses that promote eco-friendly products or practices.

"SNAP is emphasizing green business," said Juliet Sinisterra, owner of Sun People Dry Goods in downtown Spokane. "It helped me when they were thorough and gave me feedback about how I could become more efficient."

Along with a financial boost to local companies, SNAP counselors also provide help crafting business plans that cover the intricacies of starting and maintaining a successful venture, from marketing strategies to legal advice to tax requirements.

Several times a year, SNAP sponsors a six-week Small Business Success Workshop that covers the essentials of operating a startup operation. The free class features outside speakers from fields like law, accounting and marketing and, according to former students like Robert Rigo, can be a springboard to success.

"I would recommend it for anyone starting from scratch," said Rigo who owns Rigo Ranch in the West Plains and went through the workshop three years ago. "The speakers were able to answer any questions I had. It was definitely beneficial."

SNAP Financial Access also specializes in refugee loans for entrepreneurs who have come to the Inland Northwest from other countries. Among the many success stories of businesses fulfilling "the American Dream" are Oasis Hair Salons, Kiev Markets, NMZ Trucking and more.

Look for stories featuring SNAP-supported companies across the greater Spokane community in upcoming issues of How's Business? To learn more about the agency's micro-enterprise program, contact SNAP Financial Access at 509-456-7106 or visit www.snapwa.org. " />
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Business success is a SNAP as local nonprofit offers micro-enterprise loans, counseling

— For 48 years, SNAP has been helping residents of Spokane County gain stability through a combination of resources, support and education. While the private nonprofit agency is known as the provider of energy assistance, housing, weatherization and other vital programs to nearly 50,000 individuals each year, SNAP also does its part to create jobs and boost the local economy by offering micro-enterprise loans and counseling to aspiring entrepreneurs. In the past three years, SNAP Financial Access has started, expanded or financially enhanced 287 small businesses in the greater Spokane area while creating or retaining 250 jobs.

For business owners like John Christensen, proprietor of Hook's Auto Repair in Spokane Valley, the support from SNAP served as a catalyst on the road to success. "Everyone I dealt with at SNAP was very helpful," said Christensen, whose shop specializes in air-cooled Volkswagen engines. "They don't disrespect you."

SNAP micro-enterprise loans range from $500 up to $50,000. Overall, the program has access to around $1 million in loan pools for business owners who meet established income guidelines. Loans are also available to businesses that employ residents who meet income guidelines.

A recent survey of SNAP business borrowers revealed that 79 percent of the companies are still operating within five years after receiving their loan. On average, these households have increased their income by 40 percent. SNAP Financial Access 'green loans' are also available for businesses that promote eco-friendly products or practices.

"SNAP is emphasizing green business," said Juliet Sinisterra, owner of Sun People Dry Goods in downtown Spokane. "It helped me when they were thorough and gave me feedback about how I could become more efficient."

Along with a financial boost to local companies, SNAP counselors also provide help crafting business plans that cover the intricacies of starting and maintaining a successful venture, from marketing strategies to legal advice to tax requirements.

Several times a year, SNAP sponsors a six-week Small Business Success Workshop that covers the essentials of operating a startup operation. The free class features outside speakers from fields like law, accounting and marketing and, according to former students like Robert Rigo, can be a springboard to success.

"I would recommend it for anyone starting from scratch," said Rigo who owns Rigo Ranch in the West Plains and went through the workshop three years ago. "The speakers were able to answer any questions I had. It was definitely beneficial."

SNAP Financial Access also specializes in refugee loans for entrepreneurs who have come to the Inland Northwest from other countries. Among the many success stories of businesses fulfilling "the American Dream" are Oasis Hair Salons, Kiev Markets, NMZ Trucking and more.

Look for stories featuring SNAP-supported companies across the greater Spokane community in upcoming issues of How's Business? To learn more about the agency's micro-enterprise program, contact SNAP Financial Access at 509-456-7106 or visit www.snapwa.org.

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