This year we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the U.S. Small Business Administration and recognize the tremendous work the agency does to power the American dream of entrepreneurship.
For 70 years, the SBA has empowered Colorado entrepreneurs with the resources and support they need to start and grow their business. The SBA is a cabinet-level agency that ensures the interests of small businesses are represented in Congress and the Oval Office and the only independent voice of small business backed by the collective power and resources of the federal government.
In Colorado, the SBA has a rich and long history of supporting thousands of businesses with capital, business training, federal contract support and disaster assistance. Such companies as Otterbox, Snooze A.M. Eatery, New Belgium Brewery, Hammonds Candies and The Fort Restaurant all received SBA assistance during the start-up stages of their development.
The creation of the SBA was largely a response to the pressures of the Great Depression and World War II. The agency got its formal start on July 30, 1953, after President Dwight Eisenhower signed the Small Business Act into law. From its inception, the SBA mission has been to aid, counsel, assist and protect, insofar as is possible, the interests of small business concerns. The SBA also is charged with ensuring small businesses earn a fair proportion of government contracts and sales of surplus property.
The Joe Biden administration put small business at the forefront of the historic investing in America agenda, which includes modernizing SBA programs and resources, expanding networks and increasing access to capital and contracting so more entrepreneurs benefit from our national investments in infrastructure and green energy spending. Over the last 30 months, the SBA has fostered a remarkable small business boom, pivoting from delivering pandemic aid to launching innovative initiatives that advance its equity plan to expanding access to capital for entrepreneurs in underserved and historically marginalized communities.
The agency’s equity plan establishes a goal to improve access to capital for underserved communities, including businesses owned by women, minorities, veterans and those in rural communities; expand access to federal procurement and contracting opportunities; provide support and expanded access to disaster assistance; and increase access to business counseling, training and services to businesses in communities needing a boost. The agency is well on its way to accomplishing these goals to create a more equitable and sustainable economy supported by small businesses.
For seven decades, the SBA has linked entrepreneurs to the funding, counseling and mentorship they need to succeed. The SBA has also connected small firms to opportunities for federal contracts and remains ready to provide low-interest loans to businesses and homeowners affected by declared disasters. Since 1953, SBA approved an estimated $2 trillion in non-disaster related small business lending and assisted nearly 3 million entrepreneurs through training and counseling. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the SBA dispersed a total of more than $1.3 trillion in disaster economic aid to 13 million businesses nationwide.
Small businesses are the innovators and job creators in our communities. They employ half our nation’s workforce and create two thirds of all net new jobs in the private sector. These businesses give neighborhoods their character, sponsor our Little League teams and place ads in local high school yearbooks. In timesof trouble or tragedy, it’s often our small business owners that step up to meet the needs of their neighbors.
We celebrate the 70th anniversary of the SBA and reflect on the agency’s mission and seven-decade legacy of powering the American dream.
Aikta Marcoulier serves as the U.S. Small Business Administration Region VIII administrator. She oversees SBA programs and services in Colorado as well as Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. Frances Padilla serves as the SBA Colorado District director and oversees programs and services across the state. For more information, visit www.sba.gov or follow the agency on Twitter @SBArockymtn and @SBA_Colorado.