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Helping Small Businesses in the Supply Chain as they Grow and Create Jobs

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Helping Small Businesses in the Supply Chain as they Grow and Create Jobs

By Karen Mills, Former SBA Administrator
Published: May 10, 2011 Updated: May 16, 2011

Today, I’m traveling with the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness in Dayton, Ohio. We are at a small company called Hooven-Dayton that prints the labels for products like Tide and Mr. Clean. Our purpose is to hear from the executives of small companies like these, which are often referred to as “suppliers” because most of their products and services are sold to larger companies.

Why is this important?

A recent study showed that after a small supplier lands a big purchase order or a contract from a bigger company, the small company’s revenues go up 250% and they create about 150% more jobs in just two or three years. Therefore, at this critical time in our economic recovery, the small businesses in these supply chains are an important area for us to focus and build on.

So, throughout the day, we’re talking with small suppliers themselves about how to make America’s supply chains as dynamic and innovative as possible. I’m sure that we will talk about a range of issues, from access to capital, to creating new partnerships, to exporting, and more. These are areas where the SBA and our federal partners – as well as an increasing number of large U.S. firms – offer important tools that can help suppliers grow and create jobs.

As the largest purchaser in the world, the U.S. government already plays a major role in fostering the growth of supply chains filled with innovative small businesses. For example, each year, large contractors put billions of dollars in the hands of subcontractors. That’s a key reason why the SBA works across federal agencies to foster strong mentoring relationships between big firms and small firms who are active in federal contracting. We know that a vibrant subcontracting community leads to more innovation and more jobs, as well as better products and services delivered to the U.S. government.

Large U.S. multinational companies – represented here today by people like General Electric’s Jeff Immelt (who chairs the Council) and Citigroup’s Dick Parsons – also know the value that supply chain networks have to them and their customers. That’s why they’re strengthening their efforts to reach out to small suppliers. For example, several large firms recently came together to create a single, standard online application – called the Supplier Connection – that allows small suppliers to market themselves to many large U.S. firms at the same time.

Today, I and other Administration officials – as well as key members of the Council – look forward to receiving direct, first-hand feedback from small suppliers themselves. I’m confident that we’ll get ideas for new policies, best practices, and new partnerships that can help America’s suppliers continue to grow and thrive in the months and years to come.

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.


Great concept. Another informative post. This is a very nice blog that I will definitively come back to several more times this year!
I would like to see supplier payments added to the agenda. I do feel that larger business often squeeze smaller businesses and stretch payment terms too far. Many small businesses rely on a small number of larger businesses and often find themselves in financial trouble due to delays in receiving payments.
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