The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is a unique institution that brings a wide range of resources and benefits to small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Steven Preston, the Administrator of the SBA, came to this Federal agency in 2006 from the private sector. Since then he has enacted reforms to cut red tape, reduce transaction processing time, and make the agency more responsive to small business owners and individuals.
Administrator Preston is our featured guest in this episode of Small Business Trends Radio. He highlights the resources available from the SBA and shares some of the initiatives and reforms he has instituted, including:
- Disaster assistance loans — are available to individual homeowners as well as small business owners. The post-Katrina backlog has been whittled away step by step. One technique that Administrator Preston implemented was to assign a case officer to each application, so that an applicant has a single point of contact within the SBA to work with.
- Twenty-three percent (23%) — of government procurement dollars are ear-marked for small businesses. One of the best ways for small businesses to break into Federal contracting is by partnering with a larger business and providing a joint bid as a sub-contractor. There is even a Mentor/Protege program available to pair up a small business with a larger company. Your local district office of the SBA can provide more information on what’s available to small businesses.
- The Patriot Express loan program — is specifically designed for members of the military. Veterans have been shown to have one of the best records for self-employment. The Patriot Express program is one of the SBA’s biggest loan initiatives to members of the military community in decades. The SBA has structured an automated, streamlined process with financial institutions to speed up the application process and make the program more accessible to veterans.
- The Small Business Training Network — consists of a range of online courses that entrepreneurs can take regarding financial management, business plan writing, and other topics for starting or running a business.
- Small business counseling and assistance — is available from roughly 15,000 counselors around the country, through resource partner organizations and many of their services are FREE.
And there is much much more information in this show. To listen to the full recording of Administrator Preston’s interview, click the player below.