Statement of the Hon. Jason Crow The Small Business Administration’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: An Update and Next Steps with SBA’s Resource Partners
Washington, May 19, 2021
America’s 30 million small businesses support more than 56 million jobs and account for nearly half of our nation’s GDP.
It’s no exaggeration to say that these small firms are the foundation of our economy. But despite the fundamental importance of these enterprises, the road to small business ownership is fraught and paved with obstacles for prospective entrepreneurs.
Recognizing the uphill climb facing many of those wishing to start and run a business, the SBA offers a wide range of free or low-cost counseling and training services to entrepreneurs.
To deliver these services, SBA relies on its four primary Resource Partners: Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), Women’s Business Centers (WBCs), SCORE, and Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs).
From first-time entrepreneurs looking to create a business plan to longtime business owners looking for new ways to achieve growth, these Resource Partners support small firms through every step of the business cycle.
These entrepreneurial development initiatives have proven to be the difference between success and failure for many businesses.
According to SBA’s 2013 Impact Study, small businesses that receive three or more hours of counseling have higher survival rates than firms that receive less counseling. In turn, these businesses go on to earn more in revenue and employ more workers.
Resource Partners have also served as a critical lifeline for small businesses throughout the pandemic. When COVID struck, Resource Partners sprang into action, got innovative, and helped millions of entrepreneurs navigate a once-in-a-lifetime crisis.
I’ve heard numerous stories from constituents in my district who relied on SBA’s Resource Partners when they had nowhere else to turn.
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. I’m especially interested in learning what more we can do to raise awareness of these programs and ensure that the maximum number of small businesses are taking advantage of them.
Today, we will explore the Resource Partner’s current diversity initiatives and efforts Congress can take to drive an equitable recovery.
During the 116th Congress, the House passed three separate bills to improve the SBA’s Entrepreneurial Development programs. If enacted into law, these bills would substantially improve the SBDC, WBC, and SCORE programs and make them accessible to more small businesses. Unfortunately, the Senate did not consider any of these bills.
I look forward to updating and advancing similar bills and finding new ways to strengthen SBA’s entrepreneurial development programs.