Christopher L. James

Associate Administrator
Chris James

Chris James is the Associate Administrator of the Office of Field Operations and the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Small Business Administration in Washington, D.C., where he has served since July 2011. As leader of these two offices, Mr. James is responsible for providing senior leadership to almost 50 percent of the SBA’s budgeted workforce including insuring the implementation of its overall goals, programs, and operations. Mr. James is responsible for management and oversight of over 90 offices covering all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and all U.S. Territories. He is also responsible for strengthening relationships between federal, state, local, and tribal partners.

As part of Mr. James’ work, he leads numerous initiatives and programs at the SBA. These initiatives include serving as the agency’s lead on Startup in a Day, which encourages cities to develop centralized, streamlined platforms containing all of the requirements entrepreneurs need to start a business. Mr. James also is the lead on SupplierPay, a White House-led partnership with the private sector designed to strengthen America’s small businesses. He further coordinates the American Supplier Initiative, an administration-wide effort to support American manufacturing.  In addition to these roles, Mr. James has previously led the SBA’s Office of Native American Affairs, which promotes and enhances small business services and opportunities for Native Americans. He is active in the White House Council on Native American Affairs (including Co-Chairing the Economic Development Subgroup), the White House Rural Council, White House Community Solutions Task Force and the White House Interagency Group on Insular Affairs. 

Mr. James has nearly 20 years of experience in the field of small business and economic development with particular experience working with underserved communities. Before joining the SBA, Mr. James was an associate program manager at the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) in Washington. Prior to joining the CDFI Fund, he was associate director and senior loan officer for the Sequoyah Fund, Inc., a CDFI in Cherokee, N.C. 

Mr. James earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and a master’s degree in Entrepreneurship from Western Carolina University. He was previously an active member of the Certified Entrepreneurial Council, Blue Ridge Entrepreneurial Council, National Association of Developmental Organizations, and the North Carolina Incubator Association.

Mr. James is from Cherokee, North Carolina, where his family has owned small businesses for more than 50 years.