On March 30, 2011 at the Federal Plaza building in New York approximately 250 small businesses, lenders, and SBA resource partners listened to representatives from the White House, SBA headquarters, region, and district leadership present vital information for small businesses. The all day session also provided over 2 hours for small businesses to provide input, ask questions, and express concerns regarding their professional experiences as a government contractor.
The format of this one-day session provided a straight talk, listen and share experience for businesses currently contracting with the federal government, and to those businesses interested in learning more about how to do business with the government. There was also sessions set a side for SBA to provide education and awareness on: Access to capital and SBA’s new loan programs, SBA’s expanded resources for counseling, and training, exporting opportunities for small businesses, and a roundtable session was also set up for current and prospective SBA lenders.
Most interesting about the day long session was the White House and SBA’s commitment to incorporate safe guards to make sure that the Jobs Act law signed by President Obama on September 27, 2010 put more capital in the hands of small business owners. The bill in its final form is designed to strengthen small businesses ability to compete for contracts, increase small businesses capacity to become profitable exporters of goods and services, and expand training and counseling funding for small businesses. Mr. Michael Blake, Associate Director, White House Office of Public Engagement & Deputy Associate Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs said that, “the White House wants to know how do we open the door to small urban business and get them more engaged with government decision makers, and access to capital in order to create more jobs.”
The one day session revealed that federal agencies are beginning to collaborate. As an example, the Department of Treasury will be administering $30 billion to encourage smaller community banks to make available low cost capital (as low as 1%) under new conditions established in the law. The provision will provide states with up to 1.5 billion dollars to support state run small business lending programs.
During the all day session, many other concerns were discussed such as the most recent change to the SBA size standards threshold for small businesses. The tone of the all day discussion appeared to effectively communicate SBA’s commitment to summarizing input gathered from the 13 cities Jobs Act Tour. The feedback will help to formulate final provisions that will become statues in the Federal Acquisition Regulations on or before September 30, 2011.
Jessica A. Johnson, Vice President of Johnson Security Bureau Inc., a woman owned graduate of the 8a program operating a 40 employee armed and unarmed security guard service firm found the one day session to be extremely informative. Jessica indicated that “as a small business, new federal initiatives targeting small business have often been difficult to get information to in a timely manner, so this Tour event was very helpful to her firm. Johnson Security Bureau Inc. located in Brooklyn also indicated that the “her firm has a strong working relationship with SBA, and the agency has been very helpful through out the life of their company”.
To learn more about the Small Business Jobs Act Tour go to