First Step Review

What is the First Step Review?

First Step Review is a screening tool that helps smaller businesses (with less than 100 employees and annual sales of less than $5 million) determine the likelihood of qualifying for a SBA guaranteed loan. If your score is 70 or greater on First Step, then the next step would be to find a lender who is SBA certified for loans. However, if your score is less than 70 on First Step, your next step would be to find a counselor at your local Small Business Administration (SBA), Small Business Development Center (SBDC) or Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) offices who can provide help with bettering your position and score.

Who Funds the Loan?

Loans come from local lenders, not the SBA; the SBA helps by guaranteeing a major portion of the loans to reduce the risk to lenders. Your local SBDC, SCORE chapter, or SBA office should be able to help you find a lender. A listing of certified lenders is available at your local SBDC, SCORE, or SBA office. Local offices should also be able to help you gain a better understanding of the criteria and steps necessary to qualify for a loan.

First Step Review Handbook

The handbook was designed as a tool to help you familiarize yourself with the First Step Review Program.   We suggest completion of all sections on this manual prior to using the First Step Review online or your personal computer.

Download the Handbook

Computer/System Requirements

First Step Review requires a current version of an Internet Browser or you can also Download the First Step Review and run it on your local computer. (NOTE: print and e-mail functions won’t work without an Internet Connection).  Please select “Next” below to complete an online version of First Step Review.