WASHINGTON — Fifteen individuals from across the country have been appointed to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Council on Underserved Communities (CUC). Building on SBA’s core programs and recovery initiatives, the CUC will provide input, advice and recommendations on strategies to help strengthen competitiveness and sustainability for small businesses in underserved communities. These strategies will be focused on increasing entrepreneurship and technical assistance, creating new and strengthening existing outreach and training, and raising awareness in underserved communities of SBA programs and services.
The CUC is chaired by Catherine Hughes, founder and chairperson of Radio One and TV One, and will have 20 members who represent a diverse range of backgrounds and geographic areas.
“One of SBA’s core missions is to support small businesses in traditionally underserved communities, including minorities, women, veterans, people with disabilities and in rural areas,” SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns said. “The Council on Underserved Communities will provide valuable insight and advice into how we can ensure that small businesses in these communities throughout the country have access to the tools they need to grow, create jobs and win the future.”
The CUC’s first meeting will be held in July, in Washington, D.C. Before the first meeting, members of the CUC will hold listening sessions in their regions to hear from small business owners and members of the community about what they need from the SBA.
“Thirty years ago, I grew my business with the help of an SBA loan,” said Hughes. “Now I’m so pleased to be chairing the Council on Underserved Communities and help entrepreneurs in communities across the country take advantage of those same opportunities for success.”
The CUC is part of the SBA’s ongoing efforts to expand its reach into underserved communities. While the nation’s economic recovery is moving forward, that recovery has been uneven, particularly for socially, economically and geographically disadvantaged small business owners. To help SBA better address the challenges facing small business owners, the CUC will meet regularly and advise SBA on ways to increase access to capital and promote sustainability, growth and job creation.
President announces National Small Business Week
WASHINGTON —President Barack Obama hailed small business owners as the backbone of the nation’s economy in his proclamation of the week of May 15-21 as National Small Business Week. The President declared them to be the embodiment of America’s promise: “The idea that if you have a good idea and are willing to work hard enough, you can succeed in our country.”
The President’s proclamation was issued before the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 48th annual observance of National Small Business Week in Washington, D.C. The event honors outstanding entrepreneurs from across the country, and features the announcement of the 2011 National Small Business Person of the Year, who is selected from among 54 small business award winners from 50 states, D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
The President’s proclamation states: “Our country started as an idea, and it took hard-working, dedicated and visionary patriots to make it a reality. A successful business starts much the same way—ideas realized by entrepreneurs who dream of a better world and work until they see it through. From the family businesses that anchor Main Street to the high-tech startups that keep America on the cutting edge, small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the cornerstones of America’s promise.”
National Small Business Week 2011 will be highlighted with two-and-a-half days of events in Washington, D.C., at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, where more than 100 outstanding business owners from across the country will be recognized. In addition to the State Small Business Persons of the Year, men and women involved in disaster recovery, government contracting, small business champions, as well as SBA partners in financial and entrepreneurial development, will be honored.
Under the National Small Business Week 2011 theme of “Empowering Entrepreneurs,” featured speakers include Senator Jack Reed (D - Rhode Island); Senator Mary Landrieu (D – Louisiana); Valerie B. Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama; Steve Case, Co-Founder of AOL and Chair of Start-Up America Partnership; Cathy Hughes, Founder and Chairperson of Radio One, and Chair of SBA’s Council on Underserved Communities; SBA Administrator Karen Mills and SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns.
WIN breakfast meeting May 27
RENO — Ty Cobb, foreign relations expert, will present “The Greatness of Ronald Reagan: Reflections on the 40th President at 100,” at this month’s WIN breakfast meeting at 7 a.m. on Friday, May 27, at the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino. Former assistant of President Reagan, Cobb will take the audience down memory lane in his presentation.
A Reno native, Cobb received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Nevada, Reno, his master’s degree from Indiana University and his Ph.D. from Georgetown University. Cobb served in the U.S. Army from 1963 to 1987 before retiring as a colonel. Shortly before retiring, he served as special assistant to President Reagan for national security affairs until 1989. In addition, Cobb was the executive secretary for President Reagan’s summits with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev.
Most recently, Cobb was the president and CEO of the Yosemite National Institutes from 1995 to 2002. Cobb has lectured in many universities in the United States, Russia and China. He is currently the CEO of Northern Nevada Network, and represents the secretary of state on defense and other national security issues.
WIN holds monthly breakfast meetings, generally on the last Friday of every month, at the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino beginning at 7 a.m. This month’s sponsor is the Special Events Coalition. Please RSVP to 359-7117. Breakfast is $15 for members and $20 for non-members. For more information, visit www.winevada.com.
Post-recession high for small business loans
LAS VEGAS — The amount of Small Business Administration loans guaranteed in Nevada has reached its highest level since before the recession. Elizabeth Echols, the regional administrator of the SBA, based in San Francisco, said it guaranteed $90 million in loans in the 2011 fiscal year that started in October. That’s up from $48 million in 2010, $57 million in 2009 and $112.7 million in 2008. The SBA guarantees portions of loans made by banks.
Echols, who was in Las Vegas on May 10, to hand out the agency’s 2011 Small Business Awards for the area, said the increase in loans is a reflection that the economy is improving. Many businesses weren’t willing to take on debt and focused on survival and now they are looking for funding to help them grow, she said.
The increase in loans is also an indication of what banks think about the economy and viability of those businesses by showing more of a willingness to lend, Echols said. Echols added that the bulk of the loans issued so far this fiscal year came in the October through December period before the SBA’s 90 percent loan guarantee ended. Some $57 million of the $90 million was issued in those three months, she said. That loan guarantee has since reverted to a range of 75 percent to 85 percent. The SBA has other loan guarantees for real estate and assets. The program that expired Dec. 31 also allowed a maximum loan of $5 million instead of $2 million.
The SBA has rolled out new loan guarantee programs this spring, and Echols said that should draw more interest. Despite the increased lending, it still remains difficult for many businesses to get credit because banks have been tight in their lending standards, she said. Still, any increase is a positive sign, she said. “I have talked to many small business leaders, and they are definitely more optimistic going forward,” Echols said. “It’s still tough in Nevada, but we are definitely seeing more encouraging signs.”