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Meet Mary Frias: Helping Small Businesses Grow Through SBA Loans

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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.

About the Author:


How can you join Score as a coach?
I have a small business on the internet; however, I have had other businesses in the past - some successful and some not - for the last 24 years. I think people like me should be giving advice to others who cannot get a job but don't have a clue as to what to do, where to get a business license, how to open a business bank account, etc.etc.etc. Today I ran into a lady playing an accordian in a small restaurant hoping to land a few tips - not much money. I mentioned that I was a piano teacher for a number of years and also played for weddings. She wanted to know about playing for weddings. Right off the bat, I told her that she needed to: get rid of the accordian since I could tell she was quite a good player and she even stated she was a concert pianist, and bring in a portable keyboard that has the option ot playing lots of different sounds - strings, etc. She also needed to dress more appropriately for a professional piano player, have a blank contract drawn up between her as a professional piano player and a wedding party, have a list of songs for the bridal party to choose from, and other info. She could also teach piano, except she came from Russia a number of years ago and still has trouble with the English language. She could also play professional classical piano in nicer restaurants - actually be hired to play plus receive tips. I started teaching piano when I was in my late 40's and couldn't get a job - no one is hiring the older woman. So I started taking in piano students, and to my surprise, I was pretty good at this. By the time I switched to my present business, an internet business, I was teaching up to 50 students per week, which gave me a decent living. Bottom line - I think people like me should be holding local seminars which would be inexpensive for the people attending and given advice on (1) each person's marketable skills, method of implementing a business, and how to handle yourself in all aspects of your new endeavor. I'm good at giving advice on (1) professional piano teacher and player, and (2) possibly giving advice for selling items on the internet (Ebay, Craigslist). But obviously there are manymanymany professional individuals who can guide others in their line of interests. Caren Hanson 1-951-894-2236

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