SBA Hot Topic Tuesday – New Legislation was Introduced to Assess SBA Office of Rural Affairs

August 29, 2023

Delaney Sexton
Contributing Editor

SBA Hot Topic Tuesday – New Legislation was Introduced to Assess SBA Office of Rural Affairs

“Small business owners face many challenges, and that is especially true in rural areas. I was proud to have Jennifer Cassaday from our district come testify last month at our Small Business Committee hearing on rural entrepreneurship. She shared with us the challenges she and other rural small business owners face,” states Missouri Representative Mark Alford

Representative Alford introduced the Small Business Administration (SBA) Rural Performance Report Act. The legislation aims to increase transparency between the SBA, specifically the Office of Rural Affairs (ORA), and small business owners in rural areas.

Should the bill pass, it would require two reports from the SBA. The first report would require statistics about rural areas from the ORA such as job creation & retention, unemployment, business failures, and business startups. Additionally, the first report would ask for information detailing the ways that the ORA is providing information about resources and programs to relevant industries and organizations in rural areas. For the second report, the bill would require that the SBA provide more information about the findings from its Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the USDA.

In July, the House Committee on Small Business’s hearing on rural entrepreneurship featured testimonies from rural small business owners. Jennifer Cassaday, whom Representative Alford mentioned, said that in her town, she was told that getting an SBA-backed loan is “pretty well impossible” and that she will be “drowned” with what seems to be “never-ending” paperwork.  This serves as a major barrier for rural businesses to obtain funding. Additionally, the witnesses on the panel were unaware of the existence of SBA’s Office of Rural Affairs.

“Rural communities depend on the success of their small businesses. In small towns, when one business struggles the entire town feels the effect. The SBA exists to ensure the government does not create those struggles. I’m proud to join Congressman Alford in this effort to assess and update federal programs that can and should better support rural small businesses,” says Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Small Business, Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer.

The Missouri Times Article