The Small Business Administration is an invaluable resource for those seeking to launch their own business; but many are unaware of how exactly it can help you. Region Five Administrator, Geri Sanchez Aglipay; gives insights on the Small Business Administration and how it can help you.
SBA 70th Anniversary Transcription
00:00 – Announcer: Mason Vera Paine.
00:09 – Mason Paine: In today’s evolving entrepreneurial landscape, the importance of understanding the resources available to business owners is detrimental. One organization that has constantly supported the cause of small business is the Small Business Administration. This year marks a significant milestone for the SBA as it celebrates its 70th anniversary. Joining me to speak about the origin’s achievements and where the SPA is headed in the future is Region’s five administrator, Geri Sanchez-Aglipay. Thanks so much for joining me, Geri.
00:31 – Geri Aglipay: Thank you.
00:32 – Mason Paine: Now it’s the 70th anniversary of the SBA. Can you tell me why was the SBA started in the first place?
00:39 – Geri Aglipay: The SBA was started in 1953 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a law that created the SBA into existence. It really happened upon the heels of the Great Depression that had occurred, and then not long after World War II. And this country was looking to revitalize its economy in the 1950s given the economic conditions that had occurred, especially after World War. And so the FBA was established because we know that two out of three jobs are created by small businesses. It helps also to reinvest back into the community. We call that the multiplier fact. When you shop at a small business, you’re actually making sure that those dollars are reinvested back into the community, shopping at small business, meaning that they’re recirculated in the community, and they can be recirculated between seven to up to 10 times more in the community, which means that it can go towards shopping at other locations and reinvesting into the road, services and such. So really, shopping local does have that multiplier effect of reinvesting back into the community through commerce.
1:43– Mason Paine: Now that’s really cool. But I’m also curious about what other programs does the SBA offer that’s going to help entrepreneurs in general? Is there something that people don’t know about?
1:53 – Geri Aglipay: Well, when we’re celebrating our 70 years, we’re celebrating the positive impact that we’ve had for American entrepreneurship, competition, and innovation through our economy. What we’re doing now, that was with President Eisenhower and under President Biden and Administrator Guzman, we continue to put small businesses at the forefront of President Biden’s investing in America agenda. What we’re doing is that we are positioning the agency under Administrator, Guzman, and President Biden to meet people where they’re at, leveraging technology, learning about that to improve customer service experience. I’m right now taking up this interview by myself with you as well. That’s leveraging technology, making use of that so that we are saving time and money so small business owners can focus on what they do best, which is run their business. We also do that by advancing equity in all of our programs so that they can compete and win contracts in the global marketplace, but also the United States. Some of those programs are lending programs as well. They’ve been stall work flagship programs to actually provide affordable loans for small businesses to start up. And SBA has long been that gap financer, but we want to make sure everybody who wants to grow a business can in this country.
3:17 – Geri Aglipay: Let me give you an example. I was in Minnesota. We were monitoring our legacy businesses that had really shown how they created a legacy with their business, 70 years of SBA existence. These were the owners of a popcorn company that later sold to Conagra who were teachers. Those honorees were the Boomchicka Pop, popcorn founders. That’s a legacy that they created not only for their family to build wealth and support their family, but it’s also a legacy that they created. It’s such a brand institution in Minnesota and now nationwide of that popcorn that really people were telling stories how for so long they would go there after the games and just buy the popcorn before they really burst it onto the national team. Those are the legacies that we’re honoring. And tomorrow we’re actually going to be honoring the legacy of Colbert in Wisconsin, which is the honorary for that state. Colbert got started from an SBA loan. The Boomchicka Pop got started. The owner said nobody else would fund them but SBA. So SBA is there to make sure that anybody who has a dream and can’t access the resources to grow and start continue to do that with the American Dream.
4:28 – Geri Aglipay: So, our lending programs are one. We actually have modernized them to be even more flexible and deploy them out to more communities, especially traditionally underserved communities such as women and those in rural areas as well. So our lending programs are one aspect of how we’re supporting our leadership and investing in America with the SBA.
4:49 – Mason Paine: That’s what I love about this, is that leveraging technology, teaching entrepreneurs about that, how to win contracts. You got different lending programs and now you’re celebrating all these legacy brands from Culvers to Boom Chick a Pop. I mean, who would have thought it started so small and then it went national? I’m curious. Those are just like, to me, I think the little things that specify. But I want to know what highlights like three huge milestones that the SPA has achieved maybe throughout all the 70 years.
5:22– Geri Aglipay: I think that they’ve achieved throughout the 70 years is that we’ve been able to help millions of businesses start and grow. And because we’re in the field as well, we are there on the ground where the Administrator, Guzmon likes to say the Office of Field Operations, which is what you the field operations do. We’re the tip of the spear. We’re there understanding who the customer is. In every single small business owner who I’ve met that has won an award, whether it be National Small Business Week or has been honored as a legacy business or even has gotten funding as they grow, they’ve always thanked an SBA staffer and the office for being there along the way. So I think one of it is that the indelible mark that SBA leaves with them and stays with them is something over the 70 years. There’s not one owner that hasn’t achieved success with the SBA that has not recognized that. And that’s something, too, that we’re very proud of, is making sure that we’ve been customer-service-focused and that we’re even doubling down under that, under President Biden and Administrator Guzmon. Equity has been a priority for the Biden-Harris administration from day one, and we’re making sure we’re doing that in our lending products.
6:34 – Geri Aglipay: We’re also making sure we’re doing that with our free and no cost confidential counseling and business development on the ground. I would say that in itself is a hallmark of us for our existence, not during the seven years, but it’s part of our program, of the programs that we offer. There’s not very many organizations that the public serving organization that serves everybody that will provide counseling and business development and even some peer to peer networking opportunities that are free, no cost, and on top of it, confidential. Because when you’re dealing with finances, people tend to be private about that. But with the SBA, they can build that trust so that they can grow their business and actually preserve the wealth they already have and build wealth for their own families and generations.
7:23 – Mason Paine: Now I’m a little curious. You guys provide a lot of things, and I know you provide all these lending programs. So let’s say somebody does get a loan from you, they’re able to get that. Is that it? What happens if something unforeseen happens, like sales start to slow or they put all their money into a marketing plan or a branding plan that failed? I mean, what happens then? Do you guys help with that?
7:48 – Geri Aglipay: We help when there is something starts to deviate from what their plans are. But oftentimes they’re working with somebody in the SBA ecosystem with our small business development center staff, even with an SBA staff themselves, sometimes may be aware of what’s happening with a score volunteer, with procurement. We help support that. We understand that growing a business, developing that isn’t just a straight linear trajectory. There are things that can happen. Actually, our disaster funding is a perfect example of that. When disaster strikes, this is the time that we not only provide the funding to recover for small businesses, we also do that for homeowners and nonprofits as well. We’ve got a fixed rate to refinance everything. And so oftentimes they can refinance through the SBA disaster loan programs as they’re getting assistance getting back on their feet as well. Not only for somebody who suffered a disaster, as we’ve seen recently in Hawaii and such, and here in the Midwest with the floods in Illinois and tornadoes in Indiana, but there’s an opportunity to also support these business owners who may be homeowners as well. And so it’s that whole of community approach and it’s that whole of government approach that we are doubling down on.
9:06 – Geri Aglipay: It’s not to be siloed in our approach to providing aid, but also looking for the future, being future forward and saying, so we can also provide you the financing to mitigate future disasters. That’s something that’s actually not well known about our loan program. You can use the funding if there’s severe floods to also get financing at an affordable rate to do flood mitigation for your buildings as well. Or if there’s an area that suffers high drought and maybe electrical outages, we can also provide the financing to support solar panel and sling. So it’s that mitigation and that resilience part that I’m really proud with Administrator Guzmon’s leadership, we are leaning into that resiliency component of what businesses need.
9:57 – Mason Paine: Before I let you go, I have to find out what’s the future of the SBA? What are you guys pushing more for?
10:04 – Geri Aglipay: Well, there are three things. As I said, it’s prioritizing customer experience. 33 million small businesses that are out there in the United States, and we only reach a fraction of that. So we want to make sure that we reach more businesses. And with partners like you, you can help to amplify who we are as a federal agency. It’s leveraging technology. It’s also leveraging technology on how they can go digital to do that trade and commerce globally. So right in Peoria, Illinois, or Rockford, Illinois, or Wausau, Wisconsin, they can actually be a global small business by digital means. And that is something that we never thought about when this agency was established 70 years ago. So I think looking forward to the future is how can we leverage technology, including innovative technology as well to support small businesses. And for some businesses that are, for instance, in the industry, how can we support them to grow for innovation that will benefit the communities and our families as well?
11:06 – Mason Paine: Well, Geri, thank you so much for joining me. I really appreciate you being here. For those listening, where can they find all this information at?
11:13 – Geri Aglipay: You can go to SBA.Gov that’s s as in Sam, b as in boy, a as in apple, SBA.Gov for more information and to visit your local field office as well. There will be the information how to connect with them and get you into our resource partner network and make sure that we have the support needed to grow. I like to say it’s just an analogy like building your bench. Well, you’ll build your bench and then your backup bench, too, with the SBA. So we’re there to, again, help you start, grow, scale, recover, and even pivot to a new business idea as you brought up with your questions. We can be there along the way while helping to preserve your wealth and build it at the same time.
11:53 – Announcer: This has been the Mason Vera Paine Show. Thanks for listening.
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