#gettingdowntobusiness is the New SBA Administrator’s Motto

April 9, 2014

By Bob Coleman
Editor, Coleman Report

Maria Contreas-Sweet was sworn in as SBA Administrator on Monday and the four page transcription of the event is a nice read for all concerned about Main Street.

Here is an excerpt of her speech.

“This country was founded by risk-takers, resourceful pioneers who built this prosperous nation. Entrepreneurialism is in our heritage. The American Dream has always been about the opportunity to earn a good education and the keys to own your home. But the expanding American Dream is also about the opportunity to start your own business. I’ve lived that dream. And as the SBA Administrator, I’m determined to help others realize theirs as well.

“Some small businesses employ one out of two workers today in America. SBA is a driving force that helps propel this economic activity. SBA provides access to capital, contracting opportunities, and consultation through a national network of partners, and of course, disaster relief loans.

“I’m energized to begin this work on behalf of the nation’s entrepreneurs who wish so much to start new businesses and create most of our new jobs. I’ve already had a busy first morning on the job. I met with our disaster assistance team, which is on the ground in Washington State, following the presidential declaration to assist those impacted by the devastating mudslide. I also met with a group of veterans to thank them and to explore how more of our military heroes can use their skills to become successful small business owners.

“I recall when John F. Kennedy said, all of us do not have equal talent, but all of us should have an equal opportunity to develop our talents. I’ve come to realize that access to the American Dream means access to capital. Entrepreneurs are the difference-makers in our economy.

“I’ve seen the pivotal role that SBA plays in our entrepreneurial ecosystem. I was both a community banker and an SBA lender. I was a small business owner whose small business helped small businesses every day. As the bank chairwoman, I examined business plans, their viability and management’s ability to execute. The only thing that I understood was that they strengthened my knowledge of the challenges that small businesses face. It also strengthened my resolve to help them overcome those hurdles and succeed.

“As Administrator, my mission is to make the SBA an agency that’s as innovative as the small businesses that we serve. Two out of three new jobs in America are created by small businesses. Millions of middle-class families are working for folks who depend on the SBA’s ability to facilitate access to capital, counseling and contracting opportunities. We must draw on technology to streamline the process of working with the SBA to make it easier for borrowers to access capital and easier for lenders to lend. The SBA must be nimble, agile to keep pace with our digital age.

“Do you remember when a bank was only a tall building you walked into to do business with a teller or a loan officer? Then ATMs came along and transformed our relationship to our banks. Today, Americans can use their smartphone to scan their checks and make deposits out of their living room.

“The SBA must anticipate the kinds of rapid changes that are transforming how Americans access financial services so that our products are accessible and that they’re relevant to the technological age. Demographic changes also require fresh thinking. We know that there are more retired people who are looking to start a second career, to be their own boss. There are more women, more minorities seeking to join the entrepreneurial class. And the data shows that immigrants are twice as likely to file patents and twice as likely to start a new enterprise. Think about that — twice as likely to file patents and twice as likely to start a new enterprise.

“I’m eager to get to work to help our entrepreneurs grow their companies and the American economy along with it. At the SBA, taking care of business has been our business for 61 years. This agency has been a pivotal force in America’s economic comeback story. But, ladies and gentlemen, we’re only getting started.

“So thank you again, Mr. Vice President, for this very special opportunity. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s get down to business. (Laughter.) And I invite you to join me on Twitter at #gettingdowntobusiness — (laughter) — to begin that dialogue today. God bless you and God bless the United States of America. Thank you. (Applause.)”

Here is the complete event.