What is the SBA?

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Although business startups are forming every day, still many of the current new entrepreneurs don’t know about the SBA. The United States Small Business Administration is a government sponsored agency who is 100% dedicated to the growth of the small business community. According to SBA, they have these goals:

  • Expand access to capital by our nation’s small business community. This is done by using a network of SBA approved local banks.
  • Ensure that Federal contracting goals are met. At least 23% of government contracts must be awarded to small businesses.
  • Educate: The SBA is committed to helping business owners succeed by offering local and national level educational programs.
  • When disaster strikes, the SBA is committed to offering assistance to small business. They want to make sure that these disaster relief programs are always at the ready and able to be deployed as soon as the unthinkable happens.
  • Expand their reach to the high growth entrepreneur. The SBA wants to assistant the established growing business as well as the newest startup.

The SBA officially opened its doors in 1953 but it was around in various forms long before. During the Korean War, the Small Defense Plants Administration was established as a way to help small businesses during war time. Before that, all the way back to the Reconstructive Finance Corporation which was established to help small businesses recover from the devastating effects of the Great Depression.

Prior to the recent day Great Recession the SBA was only a small part of the Federal budget. Once the Great Recession struck, congress doubled the SBA budget. They used nearly all of this money to increase the amount of guaranteed loans to small businesses. This, according to SBA chief Karen Mills, has added a massive amount of funds available to small businesses to assist in a time of crisis for small businesses.

Today, the SBA budget is projected to be cut significantly but their reach hasn’t changed. If you’re a small business, go to the SBA website and look for information on these programs:

  • 7a and microloan programs: The SBA has a variety of short term and specialized loans available through their network of local banks.
  • Local and national education programs including business law, registration, and startup procedures.
  • Government procurement databases. Do you sell a product that the government uses? If so, use the SBA site to find government bid requests.

These programs and many more are available through the SBA. If you’re a small business owner and haven’t thoroughly explored their website, you may be missing out on a great opportunity to partner with a government agency in existence exclusively for your type of business.