Strengthening America’s Small Business Supply Chain
by Karen Mills, Former SBA Administrator
- Created: July 8, 2013, 3:26 pm
- Updated: July 8, 2013, 3:26 pm
SBA Announces Request for Proposals to Conduct Supply Chain Mapping Analysis and Matchmaking
How do we build ecosystems of entrepreneurship that can make regional economies more competitive and attract more manufacturing back to the United States?
Today, many cities and communities are looking past the old practice of simply “chasing smokestacks” (using tax and other incentives to lure companies to their cities). Instead, they are focused on building the types of long-term, local entrepreneurial ecosystems and supply chains of small businesses that serve as a natural magnet for these companies.
The reality is that large manufacturers need a diverse and nimble network of small suppliers. These suppliers make large companies more efficient, more productive and more globally competitive. A strong supply chain of small businesses can be a determining factor for locating production in a particular area. And it really is a win-win. Tapping into a large commercial supply chain can also be a game-changer for a small supplier. A recent report showed that suppliers reported revenue growth of more than 250 percent just a few years after selling their products to a large corporation and employment increased by more than 150 percent on average.
Across the country, we are seeing manufacturing and production coming back to the United States. And this trend is likely to continue as companies recognize higher U.S. worker productivity, lower energy costs, increasing labor costs abroad and other logistical advantages of U.S.-based production.
Today, companies around the world are seeing America’s competitive landscape and they are increasing investment and expanding in the United States. This is creating good American jobs and economic opportunity. In fact, a recent article in the Wall Street Journal highlighted an annual survey of executives showing that the United States was viewed as the top destination for future foreign direct investment. This was the first time the United States topped this survey since 2001.
So how do we build on this momentum?
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently launched the American Supplier Initiative (ASI). The goal of the ASI is to increase market access for small suppliers, to offer counseling and mentoring services, and to provide ready sources of working capital to support increasing sales. And as part of these efforts, the SBA is helping to lead the Administration-wide Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP), an effort designed to support communities that demonstrate best practices in developing a sustainable manufacturing ecosystem.
To build on the partnership, the SBA is seeking proposals to conduct supply chain analysis of disrupted or at-risk regional manufacturing communities. Additionally, these proposals call for the creation of matchmaking events designed to better integrate small businesses into commercial supply chains. A link to the RFP can be found here.
Going forward, we will continue to build the type of public private partnerships that support the onshoring of more American manufacturing and the expansion of America’s entrepreneurial infrastructure to ensure that more small businesses have the tools they need to grow, to create jobs and to fuel America’s economic growth.
About the Author
Karen Gordon Mills is the Former Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA helps both Main Street and high-growth small businesses get access to capital, counseling, federal contracts, disaster assistance and more.
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