This week, SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns held a roundtable in New York City with Sergio Fernández de Córdova, Founder of Fuel Outdoor and member of the SBA’s Council on Underserved Communities (CUC). The conversation with entrepreneurs and small business owners focused on President Obama’s American Jobs Act, and how the SBA can improve the flow of capital to entrepreneurs and small business owners.
While many topics were discussed, two main issues were how to increase awareness of the SBA, and how to make it easier for entrepreneurs to navigate SBA programs. To address this, SBA held a competition for the best mobile apps that help entrepreneurs access the tools they need. The winning app, "SBA Gems," can be downloaded at entrepreneurs.challenge.gov/submissions/5458. At the same time, the roundtable participants discussed the SBA’s long term vision, new initiatives, and the importance of social media as part of the SBA’s outreach.
"While entrepreneurs and small businesses are essential to the economic recovery, what defines an entrepreneur and small business has changed dramatically over the last few years. The new entrepreneur and small business owner has different needs than those even five years ago," said Sergio Fernandez de Cordova. "It is essential that organizations like the SBA get a better understanding so that they can change and stay in tune with those that need their services."
The roundtable helped SBA and the CUC gather feedback, but it also served as a way for attendees to learn more about SBA and its programs.
"Entrepreneurs and small business owners continue to face tight credit markets and a lack of traditional financing options, stifling their ability to grow and hire” said Scott Gerber, founder of the Young Entrepreneurs Council and Gen Y Capital Partners. “Organizations such as the SBA and SCORE have the real potential to remove many of the barriers in their way, and as such, it is our collective responsibility to help them learn directly from the horse's mouth about what needs to be done and how it can be done so it does, indeed, get done."