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Opening Statements

Chairman Williams: “Oversight of the SBA’s Office of Entrepreneurial Development”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Committee on Small Business is holding a full committee hearing titled “Oversight of the SBA’s Office of Entrepreneurial Development.”

Chairman Williams’ opening statement as prepared for delivery:

Good morning, and welcome to today’s hearing which will focus on oversight over the Small Business Administration’s Office of Entrepreneurial Development.

First, I want to thank our witness, Associate Administrator Madrid, for joining us today. I hope this hearing will continue a productive dialogue on how we can ensure SBA resources are being used to reach the largest number of small businesses across our country.

Owning your own small business is one of the most rewarding careers in America. You get to put your time and effort into something that you are passionate about and fulfills a need in the marketplace. We all know that to be a successful small business owner, you do not need government assistance. However, for some people that don’t know where to begin their entrepreneurial journey, the SBA can help. Through a network of resource partners, the SBA offers assistance to businesses in all stages of their lifecycle. Whether it is a small business owner that is unsure about which lending product would be best suited for their business, or someone looking to hire additional workers from local community colleges, the SBA has resources that can be utilized.

Since we are spending taxpayer dollars on providing these resources to entrepreneurs, it is our duty to make sure these programs are operating effectively and efficiently. Unfortunately, we have seen the SBA stray away from programs that have a known track record of success.

For example, in 2021, the Small Business Development Center Program assisted over 306,000 clients at roughly $400 dollars per client. During the same time period, the Community Navigator program assisted 16,312 clients, at over $7,000 dollars per business helped. The metrics of these two programs speak for themselves: one of these programs is simply not worth the money.

However, in President Biden’s 2024 Budget Request, the SBA wants to take funds away from the SBDC program and give to the Community Navigator program. This Committee has been focused on spotlighting duplicative programs within the SBA. As with any taxpayer funded program, money should be allocated toward what we know works.

Outside of just the Community Navigators program, I hope that we can learn about the general structure of many of the other Entrepreneurial Development programs offered by the Agency. I want to know how the programming being offered by Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, SCORE Program, and Regional Innovation Clusters are serving different needs. We have seen multiple OIG reports highlighting the duplicative nature of some of these programs, and it is our duty to evaluate how these resources can be best tailored to service our nation’s small businesses.

Additionally, we must ensure that the services being offered to small businesses are relevant to their current needs. The last few years, we have consistently heard from small businesses that inflation, regulations, and worker shortages have been a main concern. I am eager to hear today how SBA’s resource partners are advising our nation’s small businesses on how to deal with these various challenges.

As a Committee, we remain focused on putting Main Street America first.

Associate Administrator Madrid, I want to thank you again for being here with us today, and I am looking forward to today’s conversation.

With that, I will yield to our distinguished Ranking Member from New York, Ms. Velázquez.