WASHINGTON – Today, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration and the voice for America’s 32.5 million small businesses in President Biden’s Cabinet, released the following statement praising newly released action plans by the Departments of Defense, Transportation, Energy, Homeland Security, Commerce and Health and Human Services to strengthen the resilience, diversity, and security of America’s supply chains and tackle rising challenges that hamper the success of small businesses.
“Time and again, President Biden has put small businesses and entrepreneurs at the forefront of America’s economic recovery, delivering historic levels of job creation and new business applications while taking critical steps that will strengthen our small business supply chains and bring down costs for everyday Main Street,” said Administrator Guzman. “The SBA is working across the Federal Government—including with our colleagues from the Departments of Defense, Transportation, Energy, Homeland Security, Commerce and Health and Human Services—to ensure our 32.5 million small businesses and startups can get the resources they need to continue to innovate and deliver the products and services we depend on and need to enhance America’s global competitiveness.”
On February 24, 2021, one year ago today, President Biden signed E.O. 14017, directing a whole-of-government approach to assessing vulnerabilities in, and strengthening the resilience of, critical supply chains. As a result of that executive order, the SBA sought to work across government to determine a strategy to “better coordinate SBA’s range of investment and technical assistance programs for small and disadvantaged businesses” and “support the diversification of critical suppliers.” These recommendations include:
- Working with the Department of Defense to explore mechanisms to improve awareness of, and access to, affordable upfront financing for small business government contractors to secure low-interest-rate loans for working capital and fixed-asset purchases to enable small businesses to fulfill federal contracts.
- Developing educational content on non-traditional financing options to close funding gaps for small business manufacturers.
- Hosting the inaugural America’s Seed Fund Startup Expo to build awareness and foster connections for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awardees seeking to commercialize and manufacture innovative technologies addressing critical supply chain and contracting fulfillment challenges.
Bibi Hidalgo, Bailey DeVries, and Patrick Kelley, SBA’s Associate Administrators for the Offices of Government Contracting and Business Development, Investment and Innovation, and Capital Access, respectively, added: “The SBA is working diligently to deliver against these recommendations and ensure small businesses play a strategic role in supply chain strength and resiliency. This includes a focus on supporting expanded financing options, increased investment that supports innovation, manufacturing, government contracting, and commercialization. We are committed to providing all of these tools to ensure small businesses remain competitive and support the country’s economic recovery.”
On behalf of small businesses, other work the SBA has done to support America’s supply chain resiliency includes:
- Establishing the Agency’s first Manufacturing Office: In July 2021, President Biden announced the formation of a Manufacturing Office within the SBA’s Office of Government Contracting and Business Development to ensure small manufacturers have a seat at the table as supply chain solutions are crafted and remain major contributors to the Federal Government’s expansive efforts to rebuild the economy, diversify the supply chain, and expand the industrial base.
- Increased support for manufacturers: Provided $4.5 billion in loan guarantees to 4,868 small manufacturers in calendar year 2021, a 54% increase over the prior year, and counseled more than 16,000 small and underserved small businesses in manufacturing industries to expand capacity, upgrade equipment, develop human capital strategies, improve facilities, acquire inventory, and strengthen resiliency, through the nation’s largest network of small business support.
- Accelerating innovation: Made five new Regional Innovation Clusters (RICs) awards totaling $1.5 million to expand the national network to 12 SBA-funded RICs. These Clusters strengthen supply chains and accelerate small business innovation in critical industries, including Pharmaceutical and Biosciences, Agriculture Technology, Unmanned Aerial Systems, Retail, Supply Chain/Logistics, and Food Processing. RICs are geographically concentrated networking hubs of small businesses, suppliers, service providers, and related institutions that work together to maximize resources, compete on larger scales, strengthen supply chain resiliency, and drive innovation and job creation.
- Expanded federal contracting opportunities: In collaboration with the White House and Office of Management and Budget, implemented major reforms to level the playing field for all contracting entrepreneurs through a more equitable and transparent federal procurement system and buying strategy. The Federal Government is the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world with a procurement budget of $560 billion per year and more than 40,000 acquisition officers across 24 federal agencies; these policies will make it easier for more than 30,000 small businesses -- especially those certified as 8(a), WOSB, HUBZone, and SDVOBs -- to supply their products and services to the Federal Government and contribute to a robust and competitive U.S. supply chain.
- Designated a member of the Biden-Harris Administration's Made in America Council to represent the interests of small business owners who will benefit from concrete efforts to boost domestic manufacturing and encourage better-paying union jobs.
About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the Federal Government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.