Innovative support for small businesses | Calvin Goings, SBA Regional Administrator

The Puget Sound economy has added 106,618 jobs since January 2010. These jobs are made possible thanks to our local small businesses. Besides being the engines of our economy, they are the unique fabric of our community.

Recently, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation published a Main Street Entrepreneurship Index comparing entrepreneurship rates among different demographic groups. According to this Index, the Puget Sound region ranks 16th out of 40 for small business startup activity in a metropolitan area. Together we have fostered the right conditions for growth and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) stands ready to keep this momentum going.

Working with our resource partners, SBA manages the largest local network of free small business advisors. We’ve also eliminated borrower and bank fees on small-dollar loans, so more local entrepreneurs can get the working capital they need to hire and grow. Last year, SBA achieved record lending of $718 million under our flagship 7(a) loan program, with loans up 17.1% for women, 26.6% for minorities, and 31% for veterans.

In an effort to expand our services across the community, we are offering increased services with some unique and innovative programs:

  • SBA launched the My Brother’s Keeper Millennials Initiative to promote youth entrepreneurship in the nation’s underserved communities.

  • We are partnering with community colleges to expose young people to innovative pathways to start a business, and we’re promoting a Business Smart toolkit to train nonprofits and faith-based organizations to teach financial literacy.

  • SBA’s Boots to Business initiative gives post-9/11 transitioning service members a tutorial on the basics of business ownership. The program has introduced 32,000 service members and spouses to potential careers in entrepreneurship as they rejoin the civilian workforce.

  • Boots to Business: Reboot has been launched to open up the innovative Boots to Business curriculum to veterans of every era.

  • SBA is partnering with local cities on Startup in a Day to create an easy-to-use online tool that allows entrepreneurs to apply for all licenses and permits needed to start a business in less than a day.

Helping local entrepreneurs start and grow businesses is the core mission of the SBA. We hope you reach out to jumpstart and scale up your small business. Check out sba.gov/local for your nearest SBA local office.