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Sunday, February 19, 2006

SBA - Another Gov't Arm has gone Code Blue

 

The Gulf Coast - New Orleans is feeling the pangs of small business hunger.

The Small Business Administration is another arm of our government forced to become chronically malnourished, lingering somewhere between life and lifelessness. Like so many departments at the federal level, I am learning that the SBA has drastically changed from what they once were to what they presently represent...a store front department with name recognition only. Another great piece of the homemade - homegrown American pie reduced to artificial additives and empty calories.

If not for the local front line people who inhabit one of our many hard earned treasures of hope ~ owning a business, and are truly committed to the purpose of the SBA, the SBA might not have survived at all. Many, especially those who transitioned from 1990s into the new millennium, seem to be weathering their silent neglect by throwing themselves into complete social dedication with impassioned foresight by what they do for others. How amazing is that? I sure hope that the SBA is not targeted for merger or a name change? If it can hold on a few more years, there is a great chance for the SBA to thrive once again.

On my first telephone call in 1992, I happily discovered a wonderful SBA Representatives from my local office. This person would become my favorite contact to date, about every 6 months I check in with and chat about any new information that could help prospective entrepreneurs. Every dialogue we have had, has always been both inspiring and motivating for me, to get the word out to those needing guidance and resources.

The office used to mail out a packet stuffed with information, including a directory to anyone requesting information. The many inserted flyers promised 'no and low' interest loan help to those that qualified. Real obtainable programs for veterans, people of color and women, to help level the playing field entryway to all things business related. Also included, a valuable list of credible groups and organizations for contact, to enlist and ensure that every avenue of running a small business was realistically investigated and met with a practical goal. Right now, only one program is being offered and that program seems to have a very strict criteria.

The message was and is, linking with people who are the voices of experience serves to create a stronger bridge to the public. Even though there is a website for people to visit now, a simple telephone call is still a promising way to begin opening the door to the world of small business. The Small Business Administration, although greatly reduced, is a bridge to the public, through the actual voice of experience. It is my special contact at the SBA, who at first impression well over 10 years ago, exhibited the best of what small business does..."Serving people with a personal interest in serving consumers."
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