Mills also promised to increase the number of minority contractors around the nation by duplicating a model Republican Sen. Michael Enzi has successfully employed in his home state of Wyoming. He has conducted small business fairs and makes matches between large federal contractors and small business owners.
“It’s really going to take a mighty effort on her part to really educate these agencies on how to go about achieving the goals,” said Chairwoman Olympia Snowe after the hearing. “She did mention, and I agree with her, that sometimes they just don’t want to be bothered because they just don’t understand it; it’s easier to go big than small, but small businesses are the most innovative.” Snowe added that she believes Mills understands that minority businesses are a critical economic component in communities across the country and that she will work hard to make sure the federal government lives up to its commitments in a variety of programs designed to aid those businesses.
“I’m convinced that she’s committed to helping, but I think she may need support and help in understanding the breadth of problems minority business people encounter, not just with banks, but with the SBA itself,” said Virtual Murrell, whose firm, the Pegasus Group, works as a public advocate for small businesses. “She should be willing, and I think she will be, to use the expertise of minority firms and individuals who can provide her with some consultation in the area of creating policy that impacts minority business so that we don’t continue to reinvent the wheel.”
The committee hopes to vote on Mills’s nomination tonight and then present it to the full Senate for a vote on Thursday.