Conference tries to connect small businesses with the credit they need to grow

Banks have money to lend but some small businesses fall short of qualifying for loans.
Banks have money to lend but some small businesses fall short of qualifying for loans. Mark Scott

A conference in Los Angeles Thursday was designed to connect small businesses with sources of money to grow: Banks.

A recent survey of small businesses from Pepperdine University says more than 75 percent of small businesses have a difficult time qualifying for bank financing.

A Garden Grove business, Western Propane Services, is one of those companies trying to expand.

“We have over 100 customers on the books already, but we have been funding that growth on our own," said owner Dan Burkhart. "I would like to take that to next level."

Burkhart’s company sells and leases patio heaters to restaurants and hotels and also provides the propane.

The conference was designed to put businesses, like Burkhart’s, together with lenders.

Bryan Moeller with Wells Fargo said his bank has money to lend – if the companies asking have solid finances and a plan.

”We need to be able to predict what your cash flow is today, what it was the last two or three years, but more importantly, where it’s going to be a year from now, where it’s going to be two years from now," Moeller said during a panel discussion. "Because you’re going to be making payments on this loan, I need to know where the money’s coming from.”

But predicting cash flow is not easy for Dan Burkhart’s propane company.

He said his nearly two-year old business is successful. But it has only been in existence for less than two-years, not long enough for the banks to give him a line of credit.

Burkhart said most want to see a business in operation for at least two years. But he hoped the conference would give him a chance to connect one-to-one with bankers ... and a chance at getting some financing for his fledgling company.

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