Real estate mogul Fred Sands doesn't seem to fit the profile of your typical small business loan recipient, but he's pulled it off sort of.


Sands' private equity firm, Vintage Capital LLC, received a small business investment company (SBIC) license late last month from the Small Business Administration. The license gives Vintage access to $118 million in federal money, which can be pooled with Sands' private capital and leveraged to make investments in "underserved markets and overlooked industries."


Of course, the SBIC program differs dramatically from regular SBA loans that are doled out to small business owners. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger held a roundtable discussion in Lynwood to announce Vintage's SBIC license and said that some of the money would go to Hispanic business owners.


The governor called the Vintage deal "a significant investment in small businesses in this state." Most of the investments made by Vintage SBIC are likely to go to companies with between $20 million and $250 million in revenues, however.


Sands, a regular contributor to Schwarzenegger's election campaigns, said the best part of the deal is its 10-year fixed interest rate of 5.5 percent to 5.9 percent.


"We basically borrow it, we leverage it, we put in a certain amount and the government puts in the rest," said Sands, adding that Vintage SBIC will make investments of between $5 million to $10 million in companies that are not subject to SBA review.


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Los Angeles rolled out the welcome mat last week to Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi and an entourage of 200 business executives and members of the Chinese Communist Party, who are traveling on a 13-state economic tour of the U.S.


The trade delegation had breakfast and held a signing ceremony at the Universal Hilton Hotel, where Vice Minister of Commerce Ma Xiuhong and 16 other Chinese ministers met with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante and Los Angeles Deputy Mayor Cecile Ablack.


The various ministers and Chinese business owners plan to sign more than $4 billion in purchasing contracts from the U.S.


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Countrywide Financial Corp.'s Chairman and Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo was honored last week by Shelter Partnership, the non-profit founded by Ruth Schwartz, that is dedicated to creating housing for the homeless.


More than 500 people attended the group's 17th annual gala dinner at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, where Mozilo received the Tom Bradley Lifetime Achievement Award for "lowering the barriers to homeownership."


*Staff reporter Kate Berry can be reached at (323) 549-5225, ext. 228, or at kberry@labusinessjournal.com .

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