Office of the National Ombudsman

SBA's National Ombudsman works for small businesses to assist them with excessive federal regulatory issues.

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What we do

We help small businesses when they experience excessive or unfair federal regulatory enforcement actions.

Congress established the Office of the National Ombudsman in 1996 to assist small businesses, small government entities, and small nonprofits when they are subject to excessive enforcement by a federal agency. Excessive enforcement may include repetitive audits or investigations, excessive fines, penalties, threats, retaliation or other unfair enforcement action.

As an impartial liaison, we refer comments submitted by a small business to the appropriate agency for high-level fairness review, and we work across the federal government to address those concerns to help small businesses succeed.

On an annual basis, we rate federal agencies using feedback received from the agency questionnaire and criteria such as timeliness and quality of responses.

File a comment

You can file a comment if you’re a small business (or you represent one), a non-profit organization, or a small government entity (population 50,000 or less) and your issue involves a federal agency and federal regulation. There is no charge to file a comment.

Once we have received your comment and supporting documentation, we will try to get a response from the federal agency within 30 business days. Complex comments may take longer.

If you prefer to email or mail in your comment, download the PDF and submit it to:

Email: ombudsman@sba.gov

Mail: U.S. Small Business Administration
Office of the National Ombudsman
409 Third St., SW
Mail code: 2120
Washington, DC 20416
 

Be sure to describe your issue in detail, state the outcome you’re seeking, and include any supporting documentation, if available.

Annual reports to Congress

The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA)  ensures that small businesses will be heard by federal agencies as they go through the regulatory compliance and enforcement process. The Office of the National Ombudsman submits annual reports to Congress, rating federal agencies on: 

  1. Timeliness in responding to small entity comments 
  2. Quality of response to small entity 
  3. Non-retaliation policies 
  4. Compliance assistance 
  5. SBREFA notification 

Regulatory fairness boards

SBA's Administrator is required to appoint 10 small business Regional Regulatory Fairness Boards. The boards are comprised of five volunteer small business owners.

The Regulatory Fairness Boards advise the Ombudsman on matters of federal regulatory concern to small businesses. The Ombudsman coordinates activities of the Regulatory Fairness Boards that help connect small businesses with resources available through the National Ombudsman’s Office.

To apply to become a Regional Regulatory Fairness Board member:

  1. Download a PDF application 
  2. Complete the application and email it to us
     
Region Current members

Region 1

(Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont)

Nicole Carrier
Throwback Brewery

Heather Cuzzi
Cairn Event Consulting

Melissa Florio
Ambix Manufacturing

Dr. Deborah A. Osgood, PhD
Knowledge Institute

Region 2

(New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands)

Lisa Coppola
The Coppola Firm

Nure Miguel Aiza Bezares
Toll International LLC

Janna Patricia Rodriguez
The Innovative Daycare 

Region 3

(Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia)

Marilyn D. Landis
Basic Business Concepts, Inc.

Cynthia Towers
JURISolutions

Region 4

(Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee)

Ken Taunton
The Royster Group

Larry Turnley
The Refuse Engineers

Erick Valderrama
CDC Group & Associates, Inc.

Region 5

(Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin)

Clifford Bailey
TechSoft System

Araceli Corona
Brilliance Insurance Group, LLC

Cathy Koch
K-Tec Systems

Brian Tretter 
Seufert Construction & Supply

Region 6

(Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas)

Albert C. "Tre" Black
On-Target Supplies & Logistics, Ltd.

Beverly Thompson 
Brooks Thompson Consulting 

Jerome Toliver
RMJ Technologies

Mark Wingate
Maxi Volt Corporation

Region 7

(Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska)

Paul Licausi 
LS Commerical Real Estate

Mindy Rocha
CJ Industries, LLC

Claudia Schabel 
Shabel Solutions

Region 8

(Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming)

Matt Greene
MAVericks Aligned

Ashley Korenblat
Western Spirit Cycling

Region 9

(Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and the territories of Guam and American Samoa)

Jacky Dilfer
Business Finance Capital

Amy Nguyen
Aviva Pharmacy

Region 10

(Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington)

Mathew Thomas
Pacific Northwest Equipment

Request a speaker

Ombudsman speakers can help small businesses understand how to deal with excessive or unfair regulation. Small business groups, chambers of commerce, schools, colleges, trade associations, local governments, and similar groups can request that staff from SBA’s National Ombudsman speak at an event.

Email ombudsman-events@sba.gov with your event details, including:

  • Event name
  • Date
  • Location
  • Topic
  • Format (opening remarks, panel, round table, etc.)
     

Be sure to include your contact information and any other relevant details about the event. 

Policy on non-retaliation against small businesses

If a small business requests Ombudsman assistance about SBA regulatory enforcement actions, the agency will not retaliate. SBA will investigate all allegations of retaliation or threats and will refer all allegations to the Inspector General and/or appropriate Management Board Member. Any retaliatory action taken by an SBA employee against a small business will be dealt with according to SBA policy.

Compliance assistance with federal agencies

The Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002 (SBPRA) requires each federal agency to establish a point of contact to act as a liaison between the agency and small business concerns.

See a list of compliance assistance points of contact for each agency.

Contact us

U.S. Small Business Administration
Office of the National Ombudsman
409 Third St., SW
Washington, DC 20416

Email: ombudsman@sba.gov
Phone: 888-734-3247
 

Last updated January 22, 2024