Statement of the Hon. Nydia Velazquez on SBA’s Entrepreneurial Development Programs
Washington, October 6, 2021
Our nation’s 30 million small businesses are the foundation of the American economy. Small firms employ nearly half the private workforce, account for 44% of economic activity, and export over $1 trillion in goods annually. It is hard to overstate the importance of small firms to the country’s economic wellbeing.
Recognizing the structural importance of these firms, and the need for new business formation, the Small Business Administration offers a range of free or low-cost counseling and training services to entrepreneurs. SBA relies on its Resource Partners to deliver these services: Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), Women’s Business Centers (WBCs), and SCORE.
These Resource Partners provide invaluable training to small businesses all across the country. From first-time entrepreneurs to seasoned business owners, these Resource Partners offer training to help small firms succeed.
Resource Partners have a profound impact on the small businesses that take advantage of the services.
A 2013 report from SBA found that small businesses that receive three or more hours of counseling have higher survival rates than firms that receive less counseling.
We also witnessed the power of entrepreneurial development training throughout the COVID crisis. Over the past 18 months, SBA’s Resource Partners have helped small businesses navigate uncharted territory. From shifting business models to stay afloat to instituting health precautions to protect customers and employees, these organizations have helped small firms overcome enormous challenges.
The Office of Entrepreneurial Development (OED) at SBA oversees the programs and services that support the counseling and training needs of small businesses. It is considered SBA’s technical assistance arm, with the Resource Partners located all across the country.
OED has also been charged with implementing one of President Biden’s top small business priorities, the new Community Navigator Pilot Program. The new program will increase outreach to underrepresented small businesses by partnering with trusted voices in the communities. I look forward to learning more about the agency’s work to get this new program up and running.
I am also looking forward to learning more about what is working and what need to be improved with the entrepreneurial development programs. The Committee plans to reauthorize these programs in the coming months, and SBA’s perspective is an important part of this process.
In sum, the strength of our recovery is dependent on the well-being of small businesses. That’s why SBA’s entrepreneurial development programs must be well equipped to offer their services to small businesses in need.