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Contracts Speed ​​Up Home Loan Approval Rates for Small Businesses


Two recent stars of Little Rock Venture Center’s Community Banking Accelerator Program continue their efforts in securing federal contracts that make it easier to approve small business and home loans.

Springdale’s Teslar Software reports that its banking technology supported more than 20% of paycheck protection program loans issued by community financial institutions this year.

The 1.3 million loans funded by Teslar represent $ 22 billion in financing for small businesses across the country. Fintech has received approval for 80 loans per minute during peak hours, according to the company.

In 2018, Teslar won the Banker’s Choice Award during the Venture Capital Center’s ICBA ThinkTech Accelerator Program, which is sponsored by Independent Community Bankers of America.

Another winner from community bank, Lendsmart of New York City, last week announced a partnership with federal lender Freddie Mac to reduce loan origination processing time for lenders and borrowers.

The company will integrate its artificial intelligence-based lending platform with the federal agency’s underwriting system, a move that will shorten the lending process by weeks and speed borrower approval.

In 2020, Lendsmart was the big winner of the ThinkTech competition.

When the Paycheck Protection Program launched in March 2020, Teslar saw an opportunity and quickly offered products and educational tools to financial institutions and non-traditional lenders participating in the loan initiative.

As the lending program continued – it ended in May this year – Teslar partnered with startups, other fintechs, and banks to process PPP loans. The company says five of the country’s top lenders used Teslar software to process their PPP loans, which were administered by the US Small Business Administration.

“The Paycheque Protection Program has been successful because the entire industry has come together to work towards a common goal: to help small businesses persevere,” said Joe Ehrhardt, CEO and Founder of Teslar Software . “The technology we have built and the lessons we have learned from this experience have inspired our company to create new strategies and efficiencies to help community institutions succeed.

Now Teslar is using what he learned in the PPP process to remove approval bottlenecks that have arisen in the lending process.

The approach, which integrates Teslar’s software into a bank’s central system, will allow banks and other financial institutions to digitize all aspects of their commercial and SBA lending processes that are now entered manually. Teslar’s efforts will speed up approvals.

The company plans to roll out the new module in three phases until 2022.

“This new module will equip institutions with the tools to strengthen business relationships with greater confidence and change the future of commercial and SBA lending,” said Erhardt.


The University of Arkansas offers a new service for connecting entrepreneurs and mentors, including venture capitalists, serial entrepreneurs, business executives and financial experts.

The founders of start-ups and young companies affiliated with the university, whether as students, alumni, professors or staff, will be able to access a network of mentors able to accelerate and support growth. of their businesses.

A launch event earlier this month drew more than a dozen potential mentors to the program. The first mentoring meetings are expected to begin in August.

The initiative is part of the University’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Office. Volunteer mentors will follow a methodology established 20 years ago at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and tailored to the unique strengths and needs of the Northwest Arkansas entrepreneurial community.

“We believe that mentors who find this to be a well-organized and rewarding experience will recruit additional mentors over time, and entrepreneurs who attribute some of their success to the program will also give back,” said Shaheen Lokhandwala, Head of entrepreneurial initiatives program.

Using a team approach, mentors will provide practical advice and make recommendations that will grow the entrepreneur as well as their business. The main objective is to support the development and success of entrepreneurs by their own definitions.

Additional goals include strengthening seed funding opportunities and creating jobs that retain entrepreneurs, engineers, software developers and product managers in the region.

More information is available at entrepreneurship.uark.edu.


Minority entrepreneurs are invited to join a three-part business development series focused on improving business systems and strategies.

The sessions will be moderated by Mario Wallace, an expert in process improvement, change management, leadership development and strategic management. The program is free for participants.

Online sessions will be held on Monday evenings – August 2, 9 and 16 – from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. systems.

The initiative, titled “Small Business Strategies for Success,” is sponsored by the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center in partnership with Remix Ideas and Hope Credit Union.

The courses are designed for potential and current entrepreneurs of color interested in starting a business on a solid foundation or seeking to improve the systems of an existing business.

Wallace will discuss key business systems, the roles systems play in day-to-day operations, and methods of using systems to create consistency, efficiency, and exceptional customer service.

More information is available at asbtdc.org.

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