(Washington, DC) – Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the lead Democrat on the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today delivered the following opening statement at a hearing on the nomination of Rear Admiral Althea H. Coetzee to be Deputy Administrator of the Small Business Administration.

(As prepared for delivery)

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding today’s hearing on this important nomination.

I’m pleased to welcome Admiral Coetzee, the President’s nominee to serve as Deputy Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA).  I want to thank you for your service and welcome your family to our Committee. 

Last week, we celebrated National Small Business Week.  I was pleased to join with Chairman Risch on the Senate floor to highlight the contributions that small businesses make every day to our economy and local communities across the country.

One of the small business owners I talked about was Dr. Jake Reder, who was selected as New Hampshire’s Small Business Person of the Year.  Dr. Reder is the cofounder and CEO of Celdara Medical in Lebanon, New Hampshire. 

Founded in 2008, Celdara is a biotech startup that identifies early-stage medical technologies and provides financing and business guidance to move lifesaving products from university laboratories to high-potential medical companies.  Celdara proves that entrepreneurship can be a positive force to cure disease and save lives.

Small businesses like Celdara are the engine of our economy.  They create two out of every three jobs in the United States.  They are also the leaders when it comes to innovation, producing 16 times more patents per employee than large businesses.  

That’s why the SBA and its programs are so critical.  During its startup journey, Celdara secured funding through SBA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.  Last year, our committee extended SBIR for five years because of its track record enabling entrepreneurs in New Hampshire and nationwide to participate in R&D that keeps us at the vanguard of innovation. 

Dr. Reder was also assisted by the Upper Valley New Hampshire Chapter of the SCORE counseling network where he took classes to boost his bookkeeping and marketing skills.

Celdara is just one of countless examples of small businesses in New Hampshire and across the country that have grown thanks to the SBA and its programs.  That’s why it is critical that we ensure that the SBA has the resources and personnel it needs to succeed.

During Administrator McMahon’s confirmation hearing, she discussed how this Administration will focus on ensuring that the SBA operates efficiently and effectively.

The Deputy Administrator position is key to improving the SBA’s programs and making sure that small businesses have the support they need from the federal government.

So, I am eager to hear from Admiral Coetzee about her background as a small business owner, her experience in the Navy, and her thoughts on how we can make sure that the SBA will deliver for our small businesses.

Thank you.