Washington Report: Updates From the Capitol

Senate panel fast-tracks Johns' SBA nomination; Congress reconciles reform bills

Administration Comes Out for Small Business Week
National Small Business Week provided White House officials with plenty of opportunities to tout their efforts to assist entrepreneurs. In keynote remarks at the start of the conference, SBA chief Karen Mills promoted what she called the “3 Cs”—capital, contracts and counseling—which she said are the core of the agency’s mission.

Mills pointed to the Recovery Act initiatives that helped buoy the 7(a) and 504 lending programs and enabled the agency to increase lending to pre-recession levels.

“Altogether, we’ve taken about $680 million in taxpayer dollars and turned it into more than $27 billion in lending support for about 63,000 recovery loans,” Mills said. “That’s nearly double our weekly loan volume compared to the weeks before it passed.” Mills added that borrowers have reported that, as a result of the loans they received, they’ve saved and created “hundreds of thousands” of jobs.

According Mills, the agency helped drive close to $8 billion, or 29%, of Recovery Act contracts into the hands of small business owners. Of that, $3.4 billion, or 16%, has gone to minority businesses. She also said that the SBA is in the process of implementing a strong rule that will provide more contracting opportunities for women-owned businesses. The agency’s field staff, Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers and SCORE chapters, reportedly served more than one million clients in the past year.

Later in the week, Mills and Gene Sperling, counselor to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, announced a new state small business credit initiative to strengthen state programs that support lending to small businesses and manufacturers. This new initiative would require states to use federal funds for programs that leverage private lenders to extend credit to firms that are creditworthy but still having difficulty getting the loans or lines of credit needed to create and expand jobs.

National Small Business Week also provides an opportunity to heap praise on entrepreneurs and this year, four African Americans were rewarded: Rafael Collado, CEO and co-founder of Phacil, won the New Jersey state award. Edgar Smith Jr., chairman and CEO of World Pac Paper LLC, won the Ohio state award; Darryl K. Washington, president of DKW Communications Inc. in Washington, D.C., was named Region III Prime Contractor of the Year; and Keith Joy, director of small business programs at UT-Battelle LLC/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, won the Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for Research & Development.

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