Small Business Loans

Boost your business or nonprofit with a loan--from a few thousand dollars to $250,000, depending on your next project. Use the loan to cover expansion expenses, purchase a building or equipment or to get a new venture off the ground. Our goal is to support your vision with financing that makes good business sense.

Need a loan larger than $250,000? Check out our commercial loans

Qualifying for a Loan

Note: Self-Help makes larger loans to borrowers in multiple states. For loans of $250,000 or less, our lending is limited to North Carolina and Chicago-area borrowers.

When evaluating a loan application, we consider all of the following:

1. Relevant experience. What experience do you have in the industry related to your business? What management experience do you have?

2. Credit history. Does your business have a history of paying business debts and vendors/suppliers on time? Do you have a history of paying personal debts on time? (For a free copy of your credit report go to

3. Capital/owner's investment. How much money have you invested in your business? How much money can you invest in this project? We generally like to see an investment of 20% to 30%.

4. Cash flow. Can your business cover expenses and the loan payment?

5. Collateral. What assets can be used to secure the loan? Possible collateral includes assets owned by your business or you, such as real estate, cash and in some cases equipment or vehicles.

6. Personal debt-to-income ratio and secondary sources of income. Is your business able to pay you a sufficient salary? It can take a long time for a business to become profitable enough to start paying its owners. For start-ups especially, we may look for the borrower or co-signer to have a secondary source of income.

Our Loan Programs

We make loans to small businesses of all kinds, but we have special expertise in sectors like rural lending and child care lending. Check out our sector-specific loan pages for more information:

For loans of more than $250,000, take a look at our commercial loan programs. 

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