Young Entrepreneurs, An “Endangered Species” Nationwide, Thrive in Emery County

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Zions Bank Press Release

Castle Valley Small Engine among young entrepreneurs supported by Zions Bank during 26th consecutive year as Utah’s top SBA lender

There was a time when Brett White had 60 machines in his backyard waiting to be repaired — lawn mowers, chainsaws and even large side-by-side utility vehicles and ATVs.

“My wife was incredibly patient with me,” said White, referring to the first months after starting his repair business. White, who had always fixed small engines on the side and attended trade school to learn motorcycle and small engine repair, quit his desk job in 2016 to do repairs full time.

After running a repair business out of his home for six months, White and his family moved back to his childhood home of Castle Dale, where they built a 1,200-square-foot repair shop on a half-acre lot on Main Street.

Today, Castle Valley Small Engine and its four full-time employees serve locals and tourists in repairing and servicing ATVs, motorcycles, snowmobiles, lawn mowers, tillers and many other types of small engines. Castle Valley Small Engine has been so successful that, after two years, White is already planning an expansion.

At 30 years old, White is among a cadre of young Utah entrepreneurs who are bucking a nationwide trend. While the percentage of U.S. entrepreneurs ages 25-34 has been declining for three decades, Utah’s youthful business landscape runs counter to that trend — a phenomenon noted by the state’s top lender of Small Business Administration loans at the end of fiscal year 2019.

Through the end of Sept. 30, 2019, Zions Bank provided capital to help 120 Utah businesses grow, approving SBA 7(a) loans totaling more than $23.3 million, according to SBA data. And more than 10% of those loans went to businesses owned by Utahns under the age of 35 — including the Watsons. Nationally, about 4% of entrepreneurs fit into the 25-34 age bracket, a number that has been steadily declining since 1989 when 10.1% of U.S. entrepreneurs were younger than 35, according to a 2019 report by Lance Surety Bond Associates.

“While young entrepreneurs in the U.S. have been called an ‘endangered species,’ they are a robust part of Utah’s economy — thanks in part to our outdoor lifestyle, booming tech industry and growing economy,” said Zions Bank president and CEO Scott Anderson. “Young entrepreneurs add vibrancy to the economy, offering fresh perspectives and finding new ways to tackle old problems.”

For the past 26 consecutive years, Zions Bank has ranked as the top provider of U.S. Small Business Administration 7(a) loans in Utah. In 2019, Zions Bank helped Utah businesses grow so that they could create 468 new jobs and retain 496 existing positions, according to SBA data. Loans approved by Zions Bank represent 16% of the 1,074 SBA-backed loans approved in the Utah District during the last fiscal year.

Zions Bank continues to be a leader in marketing SBA loans to businesses owned by women and people of color, which accounted for 28% of the loans approved by Zions Bank in Utah and Idaho during fiscal year 2019. In Idaho, Zions Bank approved 54 SBA 7(a) loans in 2019, totaling nearly $7 million, marking 18 consecutive years as the Boise District’s top lender.

About the SBA 7(a) Loan Program

The 7(a) loan program is the SBA’s primary program for providing financial assistance to small businesses and offers guarantees on loans to small businesses of up to $5 million on reasonable terms and conditions. These loans are commonly used for acquiring land, purchasing equipment or working capital. Credit approval required; terms and conditions apply.

About Zions Bank

Zions Bank is Utah’s oldest financial institution and is the only local bank with a statewide distribution of branches operating 98 full-service branches. Zions Bank also operates 26 branches in Idaho and Wyoming. In addition to offering a wide range of traditional banking services, Zions Bank is also a leader in small business lending and has ranked as the No. 1 lender of U.S. Small Business Administration 7(a) loans in Utah for the past 26 consecutive years. Founded in 1873, Zions Bank has been serving the communities of Utah for more than 145 years. Additional information is available at www.zionsbank.com. A division of Zions Bancorporation N.A., Member FDIC.

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