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Meet Mary Frias: Helping Small Businesses Grow Through SBA Loans

Meet Mary Frias: Helping Small Businesses Grow Through SBA Loans

By NOsburn
Published: July 14, 2011 Updated: July 8, 2016

When a friend or family member asks what you do to help small businesses, what do you say?

photo of Mary FriasI’m the Correspondence Liaison for SBA’s Office of Capital Access.  That means I work closely with our people at SBA who work with Congress and the White House to help small business owners with everything from what resources are out there to help people start a business… to researching specific issues they may be having with their SBA loan… and more.

What’s your favorite thing about what the SBA does for small businesses?

We have a real impact on small business.  Given the economic downturn, we played a vital role in helping small businesses get access to capital.  It’s great to be a part of a team that helped implement parts of the Recovery Act and the Small Business Jobs Act.  Those programs ultimately helped many small businesses save and create jobs.

Is there a particular small business “success story” that comes to mind when you think about how the SBA helps people?

I’ve worked for the SBA for 23 years, so I’ve seen a lot of success stories, especially when I first joined the agency in the Santa Ana District Office.  I remember Peter Mendoza who owned MBE Electric in Riverside, California.  He was named the National Young Entrepreneur of the Year and got to go to Washington, D.C., to get his award.  He got some great publicity for the work he did to grow his business, and that helped him win even more contracts and keep growing.

Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs and small business owners out there?

Typically, SBA is known for our financing programs, but we also provide counseling and training programs.  SCORE, a group of retired executives, along with the Small Business Development Centers provide free management and technical counseling.  I always encourage future and current small business owners to contact their local SBA district office to find out what resources are available to them. 

Anything else to add?

There’s a great new program from the Jobs Act called the Intermediary Lending Pilot Program, which I helped to implement.  I’m excited about the fact that we will soon be announcing the 20 nonprofit organizations that we'll be working with.  They’ll get $1 million each and, in turn, they’ll be able to make loans up to $200,000 for small business owners in their area.  This is another great resource to help small businesses get access to much needed capital.

Meet the SBA is a series of features of SBA employees – both in Washington, D.C., and around the U.S. – who work every day to help small businesses grow and create jobs.  Employees were nominated by their colleagues to be recognized during Public Service Recognition Week 2011.

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