WASHINGTON – Today the Senate passed a Budget Resolution that supports $101 million in additional funding for small business programs that will benefit America’s entrepreneurs. Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, worked with the leaders of the Budget Committee to secure the budget increase for the Small Business Administration (SBA), which adds $101 million over the President’s request for 2009. The budget blueprint provides increased funding for Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, microloans, contracting assistance, veterans outreach programs, and technical assistance programs, and increases loan oversight while reducing oversight fees paid by lenders.

“We’re working to create jobs and steer our economy out of this slowdown,” said Senator Kerry. “The best way to do that is by investing in small businesses, which create more than two-thirds of all jobs and employ over half of our workforce. For the second year in a row, the Democratic-led Congress has acted to reverse the Bush Administration’s drastic cuts to small business programs. This budget shows our commitment to expanding the reach of small business financing programs, increasing the number of small businesses that can get business training, and unbundling contracts so small firms have a fair shot at doing business with the federal government.”

“I am so pleased that the Senate today approved a budget resolution that includes a long-overdue funding increase for the Small Business Administration,” said Senator Snowe. “It is critical that the Appropriations Committee and full Senate act expeditiously to approve the funding included in the budget blueprint in forthcoming spending bills. Given that we are currently experiencing sluggish growth and that small businesses are the backbone of our nation’s economy, creating 60 to 80 percent of all new jobs, it is absolutely vital that Congress provide small enterprises with the access to capital and counseling services they require to compete in the global marketplace.”

The budget blueprint increases funding over the president’s request for:

Capital Programs

  • Greater oversight of lenders in the 7(a) program by providing $9 million for lender oversight activities and dedicating $1.4 million to reduce 504 program fees. The 7(a) and 504 loan programs are the largest source of long-term capital for small businesses. These programs helped to create or retain over 824,000 jobs last year.
  • Increasing Microloan funding to $3.6 million (from zero) and Microloan Technical Assistance to $20 million (the President’s budget sought to eliminate it). Last year, small businesses received more than $31 million in microloans, proportionally helping more women and minorities than other programs.
  • New Markets Venture Capital to $5 million (from zero) and New Markets Technical Assistance to $5 million (from zero). These programs promote economic development and the creation of job opportunities through equity investments in low-income areas.

Entrepreneurial Development and Outreach Programs

  • Small Business Development Centers to $105 million (from $87 million). The 950 SBDC offices around the country provided counseling to 600,665 businesses last year.
  • Women's Business Centers to $17 million (from $11.9 million). The 95 Women’s Business Centers, that provide business assistance to socially and economically disadvantaged women and men, last year helped 147,000 businesses.
  • SCORE Program to $7 million (from $4.95 million). In the SCORE program, volunteers provide one-on-one counseling to small business owners.
  • Veterans Programs to $2.3 million (from $743,000).
  • Native American Outreach to $2 million (from $730,000).
  • U.S. Export Assistance Centers to $8 million (from $6.4 million). These centers help small businesses compete and succeed in the global marketplace.
  • Program for the Investment in Microentrepreneurs to $5 million (the President's budget proposal sought to eliminate it). PRIME provides training and business assistance to low-income and very low-income entrepreneurs.
  • Veterans Programs at SBDCs to $3.25 million. A veterans entrepreneurship bill signed into law in February 2008 established a grant program for SBDCs to provide more information to veterans about small business resources.
  • Energy Efficiency Programs at SBDCs to $3.25 million. The energy bill signed into law in December 2007 established a grant program for SBDCs to provide more information to small businesses about how to become more energy efficient.

Contracting Programs and Assistance

  • Hiring additional Procurement Center Representatives to $11.6 million (from $6.6 million). PCRs monitor federal contracts and “break out” contracts for small firms.
  • 7(j) Technical Assistance Program to $5.5 million (from $1.5 million). This program provides small disadvantaged businesses with training in financing, business development, management, accounting, and marketing.
  • HUBZones to $5 million (from $1 million). Historically Underutilized Business Zones create incentives for contracting with small firms to create jobs in underserved communities.