The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) acts as a guarantor of small business loans and provides management and technical assistance and contracting opportunities to small businesses. The Agency also provides disaster assistance through direct loans in communities that have undergone catastrophes with the intention of rebuilding the devastated economy and community simultaneously.
Moreover, as the only federal government agency with “small business” in its name and our credibility with entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout the country, SBA is often turned to for advice and guidance beyond our specific program areas. Recognition of this reality and adapting our service offerings as an agency has been an essential component of improving customer service across our agency.
During the last fiscal year SBA backed loans went to over 60,000 small businesses. Tens of thousands of small businesses received federal government contracts. And over 1 million small businesses were counseled by our resource partners. Each of those businesses was directly impacted by an SBA program – but they are far from the extent of our reach into the community of entrepreneurs across America.
Over the last 12 months approximately 9 million individuals have visited our agency web site.
In other words, every two and a half days more people visit www.SBA.gov than get an SBA backed loan in an entire year!
As SBA’s senior leadership team has considered our reach and impact on small businesses, our priority has always been on improving customer service. For example, turnaround times between receipt of an application and decision on approval for direct loans made by our Office of Disaster Assistance consistently averages lower than the 14-18 day goal established in consultation with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
That commitment to more quickly and efficiently delivering our programs to small businesses will continue across the agency. When considering potential impact on signature customer service initiatives – it is clear from the sheer volume of traffic to our web site that the greatest opportunities for improving customer service exist online.
Therefore, SBA will focus primarily on a series of improvements to online tools and services in accordance with the principles and objectives of the Customer Service initiative. Additional customer service enhancements are informed by ongoing input from a wide range of stakeholder groups, including small business owners and entrepreneurs of all stages of the business life cycle.
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