Financial Services Advocate 1

Malcolm Morgan helps businesses with a lot of loan programs, but the one that most excites him is the SBA microlending program.

“These are the ones who are struggling with an idea,” says Morgan, who was also chosen as 1999’s Pennsylvania and regional financial services advocate and a co-winner in the category for the Pittsburgh district.

“Some of them haven’t even had a bank account.” Morgan says of the aspiring business owners he deals with.

The Washington County Council for Economic Development is one of only a handful of entities authorized to write microloans, a relatively new product that offers loans of up to $25,000 to entrepreneurs. To secure the loans, the agency has to put up $45,000 to cover every $300,000 worth of loans issued.

The microloan program can give people with limited resources and a good business plan the help they need to launch their venture. Morgan credits the University of Pittsburgh, which has a field office in Washington County, California University of Pennsylvania, and Washington & Jefferson College for the help they give entrepreneurs in preparing business plans and, ultimately, securing loans.

Several other SBA loan programs are available through the Washington County Council for Economic Development. Since 1993, 118 firms have received more than $3.1 million in small business loans through that organization.

Morgan, who was nominated for the award by the University of Pittsburgh and the Washington County Council for Economic Development, has spent more than a decade working to secure the funding of foundations, corporations and the state and federal governments to bolster growth in the Southwestern Pennsylvania and Washington County business community.