Obtaining financing for a small business may require some persistence, but finding information on local small business loans has never been easier. Today's entrepreneurs can use the Internet to identify and locate the best financing for their situation, beginning with government-supported small business programs administered at the state and local level. Here are five places to start your search for funding:

SBA-Approved Lenders

One of the first steps to finding small business loans in your area is to identify lenders approved by the local Small Business Administration (SBA). This will help you find banks in your area that work with small companies — not all banks do. These lenders provide financing that's guaranteed by the federal government through various programs. Visit SBA LINC to search nearby SBA-approved lenders.

Specialty 7(a) Loans

While 7(a) loans are some of the most widely known and used SBA small business loans, a lesser-known subset of these loans may help small businesses in certain areas find the funding they need.

SBA Community Advantage loans provide more affordable credit to businesses in underserved markets that might not qualify for traditional lending. This program supports qualifying local lenders with guarantees of up to 85 percent on loans as high as $250,000. Businesses in rural areas may qualify for the Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which guarantees up to 80 percent of commercial loans for this program.

Access Financing Wizard

BusinessUSA's Access Financing Wizard summarizes local small business loans and financing options based on your ZIP code, business purpose, ownership and industry details. There are also check boxes to determine eligibility for specialty local small business loans, such as those for women- or minority-owned businesses.

Local Small Business Development Center

With hundreds of locations across the U.S. and its territories, your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a valuable resource. A partnership between state economic development agencies and local universities, with partial funding from the SBA, local SBDCs provide information on every aspect of running a small business, including access to local small business loans. You can find your closest office through the SBA's Local Assistance page, which lists all offices by state and territory.

Neighborhood Contacts

SBA loans aren't the only game in town when it comes to local small business loans. Your neighborhood bank or credit union may offer financing that meets your needs. Give them a call. After all, they're familiar with how you handle your personal finances if you have an account there, and they should also be familiar with any state, regional or municipal business loans or grants.

In addition to these options, don't forget to contact city business development groups and your local chamber of commerce, which may offer additional information on local small business loans in your area. As always, be sure to consult with a trusted financial advisor before choosing a loan.

Tags: local small business loans