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Cutting the Red Tape For Small Business

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Cutting the Red Tape For Small Business

By Karen Mills, Former SBA Administrator
Published: December 19, 2012 Updated: December 19, 2012


President Obama has made creating a more efficient government a top priority.  As part of this effort, he has called on Federal agencies to streamline their rules and requirements through reducing paperwork burdens

At the Small Business Administration, we’ve eliminated more than a hundred of pages of paperwork from our loan applications and simplified our programs, increasing access and opportunity for America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs and saving them time.

For example, we created a simpler application process for our Small Loan Advantage program for loans under $350,000, called SLA 2.0. And as a result, we’ve seen a threefold increase in participating lenders and a more than 280 percent increase in the number of loans provided since its launch.

We’ve also reengineered our CAPLines Program, a product designed to help small businesses meet their short-term and cyclical working-capital needs. As a result, we streamlined the paperwork, allowed banks to use more of their own processes, and we are now seeing volumes up roughly 300 percent in dollars and 400 percent in loans.

And we’ve transformed our Office of Disaster Assistance and made it easier for those affected by a disaster to apply for a loan. The application for home loans is four pages and three pages for business loans.  During Hurricane Katrina it took almost 77 days to get a disaster loan turned around. Today, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, more than 60 percent of the Sandy applications are coming in on-line and being turned around in just 14 to 18 days.

For high growth businesses and the funds who invest in them, we’ve reduced the processing times to license new Small Business Investment Company funds to just 5.4 months from about 15 months in 2009. This streamlining helped fuel our third consecutive record-breaking year in FY 2012. Investment funds licensed as SBICs provided more than $3 billion in growth capital to over 1,000 small businesses, a 17 percent increase from FY11 and an 83 percent increase from FY10—all at no cost to the taxpayer.

And we just released a new consolidated online learning platform, which includes a streamlined searchable catalog of courses to help meet more business owners where they are, whether it’s a classroom, online, or at the office.

As we look to build on this progress in the coming months with ambitious new efforts to further streamline and simplify programs across the Agency, our goal will always remain to ensure small businesses have seamless interaction with the SBA and services across the Federal Government.

President Obama has said that when small businesses succeed, America succeeds. At the SBA, we’re focused on doing all we can to help America’s entrepreneurs get the access and opportunity they need to what they do best: grow their businesses and create good jobs.


About the Author:

Karen Mills

Former SBA Administrator

Karen Gordon Mills is the Former Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA helps both Main Street and high-growth small businesses get access to capital, counseling, federal contracts, disaster assistance and more.


We are having some problems with small business in Spain as well, they are trying to encourage new entrepeneurs with the new laws but in my opinion it isn´t enough, neither in America nor in Europe, there´s got to be more "protection" with us, so as President Obama says, we can become big in the future.
Many countries should learn and help companies generate more profits.
Rajoy told us the same story here in Spain, and we are still waiting the red tape...
It's good to see government being streamlined, but most of these changes are actually targeting medium sized businesses, rather than businesses which are truly small. Hopefully we'll see stuff targeted to 10 employee operations, simplified tax code anybody?
Obama is right..less paperwork..more time to succeed! If the small bussines makes does this country!
As most small businesses fail in the first two years, what’s the point of red tape anyway? I believe we should be allowed more tax breaks and there should be less paperwork to do in the initial stages of setting up, because that way a lot more people would be willing to give it a go.
Streamline paperwork and encourage small business, is the only way forward.
This is a great way for small business to get what they need more efficiently. SBA is moving in the right directions.
I'm glad to see that there has been a focus on increased efficiency. Although it is in everyone's best interest to be thorough, all that paperwork and waiting can be very daunting. It definitely helps to give the little guy a fighting chance to succeed.
This would be great to be able to get a SBA loan to expand our current customer base with advertising.


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