Jeremy Field: 65 years of powering the American Dream: U.S. Small Business Administration celebrates 65 years

When President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Small Business Act on July 30, 1953, creating the U.S. Small Business Administration, little did he know the lasting impact the agency would have on generations of American entrepreneurs.

Sixty-five years, billions of dollars in small-business loans and government contracts, and millions of new jobs later, the SBA continues to play a vital role in spurring economic development and growth.

The Northwest is known for its pioneering spirit in American history, and that innovation continues today within our small-business community.

As we reflect on the agency’s contributions and look forward to the next 65 years, I’m optimistic knowing our team and partners continue to ignite change and spark action so entrepreneurs can confidently start, grow, expand or recover.

In major cities and small towns across Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska, our team of local experts in lending, government contracting, economic development and exporting continues to connect small businesses with the resources needed at various stages of the business life cycle.

If you know an entrepreneur or small-business owner, I ask you to be an SBA ambassador and share our resources. Being a small-business owner can be overwhelming and lonely. Our network is here to support the small-business owners who enrich our communities and inspire us daily.

In closing, I’ve always been a fan of trivia. With that, I share with you the following list of 10 Things You Didn’t Know About the SBA.

1. The “grandparent” of the SBA is the Reconstruction Finance Corp. The federal funding program was created by President Herbert Hoover in 1932 to alleviate the financial crisis of the Great Depression. Twenty years later, the SBA was officially founded July 30, 1953, by President Dwight Eisenhower.

2. The SBA is a Cabinet-level federal agency, not an association – no membership is required.

3. Many national brands – including Ben & Jerry’s, Columbia Sportswear and Chobani Yogurt – utilized SBA services to help them grow when they were small.

4. Following disasters, the SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to small businesses, nonprofits and homeowners. For example, more than $5 billion in disaster assistance loans went to businesses and residents impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

5. The SBA has an independent Office of Advocacy that listens to small-business and industry concerns regarding burdensome federal regulations. Regional advocates are a voice for small businesses and propose recommendations to the White House, Congress and federal agencies.

6. The SBA provides no-cost small-business mentoring and advising through a resource partner network of business experts; and, no- and low-cost trainings to help entrepreneurs with topics like finance, marketing, business certifications and taxes.

7. The SBA has a variety of loan programs ranging from $500 microloans to $5.5 million loans which can be used for startup costs, equipment, commercial real estate, lines of credit, refinancing and other uses.

8. Since the U.S. government is the world’s largest customer, purchasing billions of dollars in goods and services, the SBA helps small businesses win government contracts through a variety of small-business certifications. In fact, the SBA publishes an annual scorecard that assesses how well federal agencies reach their small-business contracting goals.

9. Two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power is in foreign countries, so the SBA provides a variety of resources and services to help businesses expand into international markets.

10. The SBA supports America’s innovators through various programs like the Small Business Innovation Research program, which annually provides $2.5 billion in research and development funding to commercialize innovative technologies.

Jeremy Field is the Pacific Northwest regional administrator for the Small Business Administration.

About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes 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 and grow their businesses. It delivers services to people through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov. The SBA Seattle District Office serves Washington and northern Idaho.