Mr. Michael Chodos
Associate Administrator, Office of Entrepreneurial Development, United States Small Business Administration
TESTIMONY OF MICHAEL CHODOS ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR ENTREPRENEURIAL DEVELOPMENT U.S. SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION BEFORE THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON SMALL BUSINESS AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP DECEMBER 13, 2012
Chair Landrieu, Ranking Member Snowe and members of the Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to testify regarding the role we and our partners play in helping affected individuals and communities respond and recover from Hurricane Sandy.
Since Sandy struck, SBA has been on the ground across the affected region, providing individuals and businesses with information, support and access to disaster recovery loans. As communities rebuild, SBA is there from day one and will stay deeply involved over the long term. That is why in addition to our Disaster Response team, SBA’s Office of Entrepreneurial Development and its vast network of business counselors and economic development partners play a key role in immediate disaster response and also in helping the region’s small businesses restart, rebuild and thrive again.
There are hundreds of thousands of small businesses in the affected areas across the mid-Atlantic and Eastern seaboard. With 44 Small Business Development Centers, 14 Women’s Business centers and hundreds of SCORE volunteers in the affected area, our partners work collaboratively with SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance to help staff Disaster Recovery Centers. They also provide intake space for Business Recovery Centers in their own service center locations, and set up informational events in communities across the area.
In this early period, our Resource Partners help business owners map out the recovery process, collect information and apply for disaster loans. They also connect business owners
with other local, state and federal resources, ranging from help accessing local governmental and utility programs to connections with the IRS to obtain copies of critical tax documents. And they help businesses take the first concrete steps to get the capital, resources and mentoring they need to get back up and running.
For example, our New York SBDC created an excellent one-stop Sandy Recovery website to provide information about important resources with FAQs for small businesses. It is now a critical tool for individuals and business across the state. But in addition to access to resources, thousands of affected businesses will need individual help, one business at a time. In just one recent example, our Women’s Business Center at Hunts Point Economic Development Center in the Bronx , NY was contacted by a local manufacturer and distributor which experienced significant damage to critical machinery and equipment and needed help accessing capital. Our WBC helped the business apply for an SBA loan, reviewed its financial information and plans, and helped it create a long-term plan to recover and rebuild sales. This process is being repeated by our SBDCs, WBCs and SCORE volunteers across the region, and will increase substantially in the coming months.
SBA-supported counseling and training makes a difference: Those who receive counseling and training are more likely to start businesses, their businesses are more likely to survive over the ensuing years, and they are better prepared to seek financing and to plan effectively for future business growth. Together, our Resource Partners will play a key role in economic rebuilding and growth across the region.
In addition to the on-the-ground support being provided by our Resource Partners, SBA also takes a comprehensive, industry-focused approach to strengthening and rebuilding sectors and supply chains where small businesses have been hit the hardest. No small business is an
island. Every small business has its own suppliers and vendors, and thousands of small businesses across the region in turn play key roles in supply chains for manufacturers and distributors. The affected region is a vibrant center for small business participation and innovation in manufacturing, health care, finance and numerous other sectors. Through its extensive experience with regional innovation clusters and accelerators, SBA knows that successful regional economic growth depends upon effectively connecting small businesses with investment and growth capital, networking and procurement opportunities, and supply chain connections. Our existing cluster and accelerator initiatives work, and in the coming months we plan to use what we’ve learned to support targeted and networked economic development in affected industries across the region.
SBA and its partners are already on the ground and will make sure businesses affected by Sandy will get the help they need in the days and months ahead. We thank you for your support and I look forward to answering any questions.