SBA at 65: Continuing to Empower Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners

Release Date: 
Monday, August 20, 2018

By Steve Bulger

When he signed the Small Business Act on July 30, 1953, creating the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), little did President Dwight D. Eisenhower know what a lasting impact the agency would have on small businesses throughout the United States.

Sixty-five years later, the SBA continues to play a vital role in spurring economic development and growth through its core programs that include small business loan, business counseling, government contracting, and disaster recovery programs.

In that time, the SBA has had its fair share of successes.  Companies like Apple, Ben & Jerry’s, Chipolte, Chobani Yogurt, Federal Express, and Nike all received assistance from the SBA in the early stages of their businesses.  Today, they are household names—some of the best known businesses that were once “small” and have grown to be “big”.

This year the SBA is on track to provide small businesses with an increase in dollar volume than it provided in 2017.   On a national level, SBA is on target to approve $34 billion in loan guarantees to small businesses throughout its 68 district offices across the country.   This would mark a 13 percent increase over the 2017 loan volume of $30 billion.  While the New Jersey District Office, set a record of $869 million SBA guaranteed loans  last year, this year the Garden State is on pace to approve  $900 million in SBA loan guarantees.

So far this year, New Jersey small business owners have leveraged SBA loan approvals into a little over 6,000 jobs created and another 7,400 jobs retained.  All made possible by our network of lenders and Resource Partners – SCORE, Small Business Development Centers and Women’s Business Centers - that serve all 21 counties throughout the state.

A great example of how SBA can assist small business owners is evident in the assistance Angela Liu received from the agency 14 years ago.   Angela is the Founder and CEO of Crispy Green, Inc., a Fairfield-based small consumer goods business that produces healthy fruit snacks using freeze-dried technology.   

With not much experience in running a small business, Angela took full advantage of the local resources that could help her get started. Her first stop was the WISE Women’s Center, an educational and supportive service provided by Essex County Community College in Newark, N.J.  It was at a conference sponsored by the center that she learned about the services of SCORE and the SBA.   

SCORE counselors, who provided Angela with no-cost business counseling helped her appropriately structure the business and prepared her for the many early obstacles and challenges that small business owners often face.

Over the first year and a half, Angela ran the business from her West Orange home, utilizing consultants in marketing and sales to help promote Crispy Green snacks and get them into key retailers.  In 2006, she turned to the SBA for a revolving line of credit under the agency’s Express Loan program.  An SBA Express Loan for $30,000 from JPMorgan Chase Bank was just what she needed to help her get Crispy Green off the ground.

Today, Crispy Green can be found in over 5,000 retail stores across 45 states, Canada and South America.  An agreement with a West Coast distributor has helped the company to boost its expansion nationwide. Crispy Green can be found in ShopRite, Stop & Shop, Kings Food Markets, Fairways, The Fresh Market, and many others as well as at Amazon. 

This is the impact that the SBA and its resource partners can have on a small business. This is what SBA does best; assisting small business owners and then getting out of their way to watch them grow.

For the past 65 years, the U.S. Small Business Administration has been making 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.   SBA continues to deliver these services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations.  And we look to do more of the same in the years to come.  To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.

Note: Steve Bulger is the Region II Regional Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration who oversees agency activities in New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.