In connection with the United States Small Business Administration’s (SBA) commitment of up to $1 billion in available leverage to Early Stage SBIC funds over a five-year period, SBA has issued a call notice for Early Stage fund managers interested in forming a Small Business Investment Company fund to be licensed as an Early Stage SBIC fund.

To expeditiously license qualified applicants that have raised the requisite capital for an Early Stage SBIC license, SBA has divided applicants into two tracks based on applicants’ committed capital. Track 1 will apply to applicants with signed commitments for at least $15 million in Regulatory Capital and with “soft-circled” commitments for the remaining capital needed to reach the minimum of $20 million in Regulatory Capital. Track 2 will apply to all other applicants.

The question and answer period for all applicants ends on May 18, 2012. Thereafter, Tracks 1 and 2 diverge. Management Assessment Questionnaires (MAQs) for Track 1 applicants are due no later than May 25, 2012. SBA expects to invite qualified Track 1 applicants for interviews between June 6, 2012, and June 13, 2012. Green Light letters will be issued no later than June 29, 2012. Track 1 applicants will be required to submit full license applications to SBA no later than July 30, 2012, and licensing decisions will be made no later than Sept. 28, 2012.

Track 2 applicants must submit their MAQs to SBA no later than June 19, 2012. Thereafter, qualified applicants will be invited for interviews with SBA to be held between July 23, 2012, and Aug. 3, 2012. Green Light letters will be issued by Sept. 28, 2012. License applications are due no later than May 15, 2013, and licensing decisions will be made no later than Sept. 30, 2013.

In the case of both Track 1 and 2 applicants, license applications must be submitted with at least $20 million in committed Regulatory Capital.