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Helping Entrepreneurs in the Southeast Grow Businesses & Create Jobs

The SBA in 2017
Release Date: 
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Release Number: 
Michael Ashcraft

By: Janita R. Stewart, Acting Region IV Administrator, U. S. Small Business Administration

Small businesses fuel the core of our nation’s economy driving job creation, innovation, and global competitiveness across the Southeast and around the country. A Cabinet level agency, the U.S. Small Business Administration helped a record number of entrepreneurs start or expand companies, create jobs, and grow this region’s economy last year. As we welcome the healthy start to 2017, SBA is ready to support another record-breaking year of economic development in the Southeast and around the country.

SBA approved and backed more than $5 billion in loans to small businesses located in the Southeast in fiscal year 2016 through our two primary loan programs – the 7(a) loan guaranty offered by banks and credit unions as well as the 504 loan program provided through certified development companies.  We also have a microloan program for smaller projects. These deals helped local entrepreneurs hire more employees, buy equipment, invest in technology and innovation, purchase real estate, and grow exponentially. The SBA implemented new technology last year, called SBA One,  that automates and streamlines the lending process, helping lenders close deals faster and getting capital into the hands of small business owners more quickly. 

SBA financing is more accessible than ever before with LINC (Leveraging Information and Networks to access Capital). Entrepreneurs can visit the SBA website, answer a few questions about the capital needed, and they will be contacted from area lenders within 48 hours. SBA listened to the needs of America’s entrepreneurs and worked diligently to fulfill these needs, making the American entrepreneurial dream a true reality for many.     

With dozens of military bases and federal agencies across the Southeast, small businesses have opportunities to grow their companies and hire more employees with government contracting by selling their products and services to the federal government. The federal government is the largest buyer of goods and services in the world, purchasing $400 - $500 billion annually. The impact of federal government contracting was evident during fiscal year 2015, when almost $2.5 billion in federal contracts were awarded through the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program in the Southeast Region. This certification has many benefits, one of which is that it offers small businesses an opportunity to learn how to best market to the federal government and positioning their company for growth and success.

In 2016, the federal government not only met, but exceeded its five percent statutory goal for contracting with women-owned companies for the first time.  SBA has rolled out a new website,  Through this site, women-owned small businesses can apply for the certification needed to compete for the contracting opportunities.  Federal law requires a minimum of 23% of all federal contracts to be awarded to small business and is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to diversify their businesses and grow globally.

Entrepreneurs wanting growth in 2017 can access SBA-funded counseling centers, which offer high quality, confidential small business consulting and mentoring. These centers counseled and trained over 200,000 entrepreneurs in the Southeast last year alone, helping to create 7,000 new jobs in fiscal year 2016 in our region. The SBA works with SCORE, Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), and Women’s Business Centers (WBC). Resources such as the Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC) and the Veteran’s Business Outreach Centers (VBOC) also exist to assist entrepreneurs succeed.   

SBA celebrates and honors entrepreneurs who utilize our programs to start or expand businesses, create jobs, and grow the economy. We will continue our mission of helping small businesses in the southeast region. As our region succeeds, the nation does, too.