Washington, D.C.— Today, the House Small Business Committee Subcommittee on Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Workforce Development led by Chairman Jason Crow (D-CO), held a hearing reviewing the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) entrepreneurial development ecosystem. The SBA offers a wide range of free or low-cost counseling and training services through its primary resource partners, Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), Women’s Business Centers (WBCs), SCORE, and Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs).
“There are talented would-be entrepreneurs across Colorado and the country with the skills and desire to start small businesses and put people to work,” said Congressman Jason Crow. “Unfortunately, many of those living in underserved communities face barriers that prevent those dreams from becoming a reality. That’s where the SBA and their resource partners, as well as legislation like the Next Generation Entrepreneur Corps Act, can help. I hope today’s hearing allows us to learn more about these programs, hear about the challenges they are currently facing, and examine how this Committee can improve and expand their reach.”
America’s 30 million small businesses support more than 56 million jobs and account for nearly half of our nation’s GDP. Despite the importance of these firms to the American economy, starting and running a business comes with unique obstacles for entrepreneurs. Recognizing these challenges, SBA offers low-cost counseling and training through their resource partners to help entrepreneurs start, scale, and expand their small businesses. Over one million entrepreneurs utilize these services annually.
The hearing gave members the chance to gain a comprehensive overview of SBA’s entrepreneurial development ecosystem, examine the role resource partners played in the pandemic, and discuss steps Congress can take to strengthen these organizations moving forward. During the hearing, representatives from SBA resource partners testified on their organizations’ current challenges and program improvements that would allow them to reach the maximum number of small businesses possible.
“For the immediate future, we see small business as increasingly reliant on technology to both serve and find customers,” said Tee Rowe, President & Chief Executive Officer of America’s Small Business Development Centers. “As the pandemic recedes, we hope that people will return to their prior retail habits, but it is not improbable that consumer habits learned during the pandemic will linger. Our concern is how to meet those small business needs and help small businesses re-establish those customer bases, customer confidence, and regain lost ground.”
“In FY20, SCORE helped its clients to start 45,027 new businesses and create 74,535 new jobs. Despite the challenging business climate of the COVID-19 pandemic, 82% of clients stayed in business throughout the year, with help from SCORE,” said Bridget Weston, Chief Executive Officer of SCORE. “SCORE remains the most efficient, effective business formation and job creation engine funded by the federal government. In 2020, our cost to create a new job was $156.97 and $259.84 to create a new business. In 2020, SCORE clients returned $67.35 in new federal tax revenue for every $1 appropriated to SCORE.”
“There is no question that women entrepreneurs play a key role in our nation’s economy and, unfortunately, the Coronavirus pandemic has challenged them disproportionately,” said Corrine Hodges, Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Women’s Business Centers. “Women are exiting the job market to care for their families, particularly among low-income populations, as well as communities of color. Women seeking flexibility and necessary household income are turning to entrepreneurship.”