The SBIC program, administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), was created in 1958 to fill the gap between the availability of venture capital and the needs of small businesses in start-up and growth situations. The structure of the program is unique in that SBICs are privately owned and managed investment funds, licensed and regulated by SBA, that use their own capital plus funds borrowed with an SBA guarantee to make equity and debt investments in qualifying small businesses. The SBA does not invest directly into small business through the SBIC Program, but provides funding to qualified investment management firms with expertise in certain sectors or industries. No tax dollars are appropriated to fund SBIC debentures. Rather, SBIC debentures are pooled periodically and sold in the public markets to private investors in the form of SBA Guaranteed Certificates.