$107 Million Budget Increase for SBA, Small Business Programs Passes Committee ~ Post No. 071208

WASHINGTON -The Senate Appropriations Committee passed the Financial Services Appropriations Bill, which provides $107 million in additional funding for the Small Business Administration (SBA) and its small business programs that will benefit America’s entrepreneurs late Thursday. Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, worked with the leaders of the Appropriations Committee to secure the funding increase for the SBA’s core small business programs of approximately 45% over the President’s request for 2009. The bill increases funding for Small Business Development Centers by 24%, Women’s Business Centers by 13%, microloans to $20 million from zero, contracting assistance by 87%, and veterans outreach programs by 62%.

“I applaud the Appropriations Committee, and especially Senator Durbin, for securing this funding for the small businesses which create good jobs in our country,” said Senator Kerry. “The sluggish economy is making it very hard for small businesses to access the capital and counseling they need to succeed, and this additional funding will help create jobs and boost our economy.”

“I am pleased that the Appropriations Committee, and in particular Financial Services Subcommittee Chairman Durbin and Ranking Member Brownback, had the foresight to provide the additional funding to the SBA that we requested earlier this year,” said Senator Snowe.

“During these challenging economic times, it is critical that the SBA is provided the resources necessary to help small businesses create new or improved products and services, which ultimately translates into thousands of jobs.”

The Senate’s appropriations bill increases funding over the President’s request for:

Capital Programs

  • Microloans to $2.5 million to leverage more than $21 million in loans (from zero funding), and microloan technical assistance to $20 million (the President’s budget sought to eliminate it). Last year, SBA’s microlenders leveraged a program level of $21 million into more than $31 million in microloans, proportionally helping more women and minorities than other programs.

Entrepreneurial Development and Outreach Programs

  • Small Business Development Centers to $108 million (from $87 million). The 950 SBDC offices around the country provided counseling to 600,665 businesses last year.
  • Veterans Programs at SBDCs to $1 million. A veterans entrepreneurship bill signed into law in February 2008 established a grant program for SBDCs to provide more information to veterans about small business resources.
  • Energy Efficiency Programs at SBDCs to $1 million. The energy bill signed into law in December 2007 established a grant program for SBDCs to provide more information to small businesses about how to become more energy efficient.
  • Women’s Business Centers to $13.4 million (from $11.9 million). The 95 Women’s Business Centers, that provide business assistance to socially and economically disadvantaged women and men, last year helped 147,000 businesses.
  • SCORE Program to $5.1 million (from $4.95 million). Through the SCORE program, volunteers provide one-on-one counseling to small business owners.
  • Veterans Programs to $1.2 million (from $743,000).
  • Native American Outreach to $1 million (from $730,000).
  • Program for the Investment in Microentrepreneurs to $3.1 million (the President’s budget proposal sought to eliminate it). PRIME provides training and business assistance to low-income and very low-income entrepreneurs.

Contracting Programs and Assistance

  • 7(j) Technical Assistance Program to $2.4 million (from $1.5 million). This program provides small disadvantaged businesses with training in financing, business development, management, accounting, and marketing.
  • HUBZones to $2.2 million (from $1 million). Historically Underutilized Business Zones create incentives for contracting with small firms to create jobs in underserved communities.
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