Where’s my stimulus?

As the government throws billions at bailouts, Main Street is feeling left out.
By Joseph V. Tirella
August 19, 2009: 11:28 AM ET

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SOS: Send loans now
With bank lending to small businesses nearly frozen, these 8 entrepreneurs are among the thousands fighting for the credit lines and loans they need to keep their companies alive.
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Where the ARC loans are
The government’s America’s Recovery Capital (ARC) loan program aims to help struggling small businesses. Here a look at which banks are making the loans. View Map
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The government is engaged in a far-reaching – and expensive – effort to rescue the economy. Here’s how you can keep tabs on the bailouts. More

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Fortune Recovery Index

(Fortune Small Business) — During her four years as an entrepreneur, Trina Nelson has seen plenty of ups and downs. But nothing prepared her for the crisis last December, when the American economy lay in tatters and her Dallas-based catering business nearly collapsed.

“The phones stopped ringing,” says the founder of Par-T-Trayz Catering (motto: “From sushi to soul food”).

Unfortunately, Nelson, 38, has had a history of borrowing woes. In 2007 she needed a loan to stay afloat but was turned down by four banks because she didn’t have an established line of credit. (Like many startup founders, Nelson had used personal credit cards to fund her business; now her credit rating is “shot.”) Lenders said the amount she was seeking — $15,000 — was too small.

“They told me I wasn’t asking for enough money,” she recalls. “Why would I ask for more money than I needed?”

Read more at CNNMoney Small Business

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