Committee Examines SBA’s Entrepreneurial Development Programs
What Resources Are Available to Assist Small Businesses
WASHINGTON – Groups that assist American entrepreneurs told the House Small Business Committee’s Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce that while key entrepreneurial development programs administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) have helped small businesses, reforms could make these programs even more efficient and effective.
“From the startup company in my home district in California to the entrepreneurs and innovators all over the country, small businesses employ approximately half of all workers in the United States,” said Subcommittee Chairman Steve Knight (R-CA) in his opening statement. “Recent reports identify health care costs, regulatory compliance and a burdensome tax code as the top hurdles impacting the nation’s small businesses.”
“Frequently short on time and wearing many hats within these new start-ups, entrepreneurs need guidance and assistance. This hearing today is about exploring the resources available to entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses as they navigate a complex business ecosystem.” Subcommittee Chairman Knight explained.
“We will hear about the technical assistance and expert advice available to them through the Small Business Administration’s Entrepreneurial Development programs. With approximately 29 million small business in the United States, the programs within the SBA must operate efficiently and swiftly as the entrepreneurs they seek to help. I am looking forward to hearing about the details of these programs. How do they help entrepreneurs? How do they assist startups traversing the regulatory environment? How can the programs be improved to better assist small businesses?” Knight said.
“SCORE is a uniquely American organization that synthesizes two historic national ideals: entrepreneurial spirit and volunteerism,” testified Ken Yancey, the Chief Executive Officer of the SCORE. “Since 1964, SCORE has provided expert volunteer business mentoring to more than 10 million entrepreneurs and small business owners. In 2015, SCORE set a goal is to help 1 million additional entrepreneurs by 2020. While this is an ambitious goal, it will help to guide a continual pattern of growth and expanded services. 13 Small businesses account for 99.7 percent of all employer firms and generate more than 50 percent of the non-farm private gross domestic product.”
“They employ more than half of all private sector employees. In this way, these small businesses are the engine of America’s job creating economy, the fabric of our local communities, and the embodiment of the American dream.” Yancey said.
“We appreciate this Committee’s dedication to the modernization of SBA’s resource partners and your willingness to hear from the programs that are serving entrepreneurs across the country,” said Antonella Pianalto, the President and CEO of the Association of Women’s Business Centers. “The WBC program is a proven program, an effective public-private partnership, and fills a growing need for the distinct population we serve. The directors and staff at WBCs are committed to helping women and their families prosper and achieve financial security through business ownership.”
“In my visits across the country, from California and North Carolina, to Florida and New York, I remain in awe of our centers incredible power to bring a dream, an innovation, or an idea to fruition. We urge Congress to advance the efforts already underway by this Committee to strengthen the WBC program and provide the necessary investment women entrepreneurs need to reach their full potential,” Pianalto explained.
“This hearing couldn’t be better timed. The new Administrator has an opportunity to assess and analyze the programs at her disposal and work with us to maximize their effectiveness,” said Charles “Tee” Rowe, the President and CEO of America’s Small Business Development Centers. “We need to identify the gaps in coverage – geographic and content. Who is doing what right? Who is doing what wrong? Are the goals, metrics and data systems up to the job?”
“The recovery from the 2008 recession left a lot of holes in our economy. Many counties and communities have not recovered. How will we focus our efforts, reach them and build their small business infrastructure? SBA and its resource partners have an excellent arsenal of talent to bring to bear on these problems. The biggest obstacle we have is failing to listen to one another and recognize our respective strengths and weaknesses.” Rowe added.
“Small business continues to be a primary job generator and a major trainer for American employees,” testified Joseph C. Sharpe, Jr., the Director of the National Veterans Employment & Education Division of The American Legion. “The small firm workplace includes a considerable amount of young and entry-level workers. It is vital that veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses receive a fair and proportionate amount of federal contracts so these veterans can build and maintain successful businesses.”
“The American Legion reiterates that the Small Business Administration’s Office of Veterans Business Development should be the lead agency to ensure that all veterans are provided with Entrepreneurial Development Assistance,” Sharpe stated.