In two recent congressional hearings to discuss President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget request for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), congressional leaders have expressed support for business technical assistance programs that ensure small businesses succeed. CAMEO emphasizes the importance of this support.
Senator Mary L. Landrieu (D-La)., Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, held a hearing on Thursday, March 29, 2012.
“This is a very strong budget, in tough budgetary times. It makes investments in key SBA programs that will enable the Agency to successfully fulfill its core mission…. ” Senator Landrieu said. “However, I am very concerned about reducing the budget for our counseling and technical assistance programs and the negative impact such cuts could have on critical core services for America’s entrepreneurs. We must ensure that small businesses have the necessary tools and resources to keep their businesses thriving, while working to find reasonable avenues to reduce the budget.”
Last week, at the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, Karen Mills, head of SBA justified cutting technical assistance programs, but “feels like the SBA is now in a better position to meet the demands of small and micro-businesses than ever before.”
Ranking Member Jose’ Serrano (D-NY) replied, “if there is a disconnect between the SBA and Congress, it is because the SBA is continually trying to cut or eliminate these important programs.”
“The SBA is not meeting the demands of small and micro businesses when they keep proposing cuts to the very programs that support these businesses,” says Claudia Viek, C.E.O. of CAMEO. “In my 25 years of experience, the first step to success for these locally grown small and micro-businesses is business assistance. Then they are ready to get a loan and grow and add jobs.”
For example, Jose and Rosie Rodriguez own King City Tires in the southern Salinas Valley in California. Their region is very distressed with an official unemployment rate of over 16% and a real rate closer to 30%. King City Tires found a niche servicing tractors in the fields, 24/7. It took two years of business counseling from El Pajaro Community Development Corporation for the Rodriguez’ to qualify for a $1.5 million Small Business Administration loan to expand their business. Now they employ 16 full-time workers.
Businesses that receive assistance have an 80% success rate as compared with the 50% to 80% mortality rate for small businesses overall. Therefore, the congressional support for these programs is right on target. Congress should fund the SBA PRIME Program at $8 million and the Microloan TA at $24 million and fully fund the Women Business Center.
CAMEO’s mission is to promote jobs, economic opportunity and community well-being through entrepreneurship training, business coaching and microfinance. CAMEO is California’s statewide Micro Enterprise association made up of over 160 organizations, agencies and individuals dedicated to furthering the fortunes of micro-businesses in California.
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