According to the late Andy Warhol, Pittsburgh-born pop artist, “Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art.”
Warhol was right. A thriving small business truly is a work of art. Much like an eye-pleasing painting or sculpture, a good deal of planning, dedication, talent and inspiration are attributes found at the core of successful small business owners and their establishments.
Just as an artist relies on community assistance for training and exhibit space, small business owners also rely on the business community to launch or grow. That’s how the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) helps communities. Much like an art school, we offer the tools necessary for small businesses to start, grow and succeed. We’ve been doing that since 1953.
For the past five years, as the SBA’s local district director, I’ve traveled across the 27 counties that make up the SBA’s Western Pennsylvania District Office. I’ve met successful small business owners who have used the SBA and our network of resource partners to start and grow their businesses. Along the way, I’ve met a blacksmith and a sausage maker as well as inventors, machinists, restaurateurs and shop owners. I’ve met with women, veterans, men and teens from a variety of demographics and all walks of life. In fact, I’ve probably met with some of the small business owners in your neighborhood. I routinely speak with budding entrepreneurs to explain how SBA can help them start a business. Now, in this quarterly column, I’ll be sharing information on the SBA's programs with you.
I do want to point out that we are the U.S. Small Business Administration, a federal agency established by Congress. (Not to be confused with the Small Business Association, which is a dues-paying small business membership advocacy organization!)
SBA’s mission is to “aid, counsel, assist and protect… the interests of small business concerns” and is also tasked with ensuing that a “fair proportion” of government contracts be made available to small businesses.
So what can the SBA do for individuals wishing to open a small business or grow an existing business? We strive to assist persons who have a passion and want to pursue the American dream of owning their own business. Our counseling, capital access and contracting programs help you, and your small business, start, grow and succeed.
Now you know a little more about the SBA and our mission. In next quarter’s column, I’ll discuss SBA’s counseling programs. In the meantime, if you have any questions about how SBA can help you achieve your small business goals, please contact our office at 412-395-6560.
Western Pennsylvania SBA District Director