New Small Business Administrator Appointed to United States Senate

small business administration, small business loan, SBA, Illinois small business lawyerEarlier this week the year-long search for a new Small Business Administration (“SBA”) leader ended with the appointment of Maria Contreras-Sweet. Contreras-Sweet was nominated by President Obama, and was confirmed this week by the U.S. Senate. Many believe that Contreras-Sweet’s appointment will breathe a breath of fresh air into the SBA, while also encouraging the SBA to focus on minority lending and other minority related small business issues.

What is the SBA?

 In 1953, the federal government created the SBA, an independent agency with the goal of providing small businesses with the support and tools necessary to prosper and contribute to the country’s economy. The SBA’s stated mission is to provide counsel, aid, assistance, and protection for small business entities and concerns, as a means to preserve and foster free competition, as well as to strengthen the U.S. economy as a whole. The SBA seeks to achieve this mission by assisting Americans in the creation, expansion, and strengthening of small businesses. The SBA possesses an impressive network of partnerships and locations throughout the United States that are available to provide tools and assistance to U.S. small business owners. Notably, the SBA is a great tool for small business loans, grants, and other developmental/financial assistance. You can find your local SBA location here.

 A Profile of Maria Contreras-Sweet

Contreras-Sweet’s appointment to the role of SBA administrator concludes the filling of the last vacant post in President Obama’s cabinet. Contreras-Sweet has an impressive resume including being the founder of Fortius Holdings, a venture capital firm, as well as ProAmerica Bank, a southern California based community bank that specializes in distributing small business loans. Her notable posts include serving as the secretary of California’s Business, Transportation and Housing Agency. Contreras-Sweet’s personal story is one that is all too familiar for this country of immigrants. She came to the U.S. from Mexico at the age of five. This experience encouraged her to emphasize minority and immigrant small business support in many of her professional and personal endeavors.

Contreras-Sweet will be taking the helm of the SBA at a time when the organization faces increased criticism. The department has come under attack for its snail-like pace of disaster loan application processing, especially during times when natural disaster relief is desperately needed. The SBA has also been accused of not having the proper functions in place to detect fraud and abuse in the nation’s small business contract programs. Furthermore, earlier this week the House Small Business Committee levied harsh criticism against the SBA for funding unauthorized pilot programs and other actions that digressed from its core responsibilities.

 The appointment of a new SBA administrator should have possible effects on the nation’s small business climate. Contact the small business law attorneys here at The Gierach Law Firm in Naperville, Illinois for all of your small business law questions or issues.