WASHINGTON – The United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship today held a roundtable to discuss reauthorization and potential improvements to entrepreneurial development programs within the Small Business Administration (SBA). Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La., Chair of the Committee, convened this morning’s roundtable a day after introducing bipartisan legislation with Ranking Member Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, to reauthorize the critical programs.
“Entrepreneurial development programs, such as Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, SCORE and other programs, as well as new programs to further develop Veterans and Native American entrepreneurship, provide an invaluable service to emerging business owners who need just a little help to grow their business,” Chair Landrieu said. “SBA’s entrepreneurial programs partner the public sector and the private sector to promote sustainable business growth and enable small businesses to lead the nation out of our current economic uncertainty. Today’s roundtable provided essential insight into how we can improve the programs to make them more successful for American’s entrepreneurs.”
“The SBA’s Entrepreneurial Development programs discussed at today’s roundtable are critical to supporting the innovative entrepreneurs who will foster our sustained economic recovery,” said Ranking Member Snowe. “The legislation that Chair Landrieu and I have introduced reauthorizes, bolsters, and improves these programs, and creates a pivotal new initiative to benefit veteran entrepreneurs through a network of outreach centers that provide them with advice on accessing capital, contracting assistance, and other valuable business development tools. We are taking significant steps toward ensuring that America’s small businesses have the tools necessary to revitalize our economy and remain our country’s true job generators.”
Today’s roundtable also looked into relevant policy proposals to increase export opportunities for small businesses. On Monday, Chair Landrieu and Ranking Member Snowe separately introduced legislation to promote trade opportunities for small businesses.
Participants in today’s roundtable included:
• Katharine Boyce, Patton Boggs, LLP
• Louis Celli, CEO, Northeast Veterans Business Resource Center Inc.
• Deborah Conrad, VP of Small Business Export Finance, BB&T
• Jenice Jones, Association for Enterprise Opportunity
• Jody Keenan, Director, Virginia SBDC Network
• James Morrison, PhD, Small Business Exporters Association
• Sharon O'Donoghue, Association of Women's Business Centers
• K. Shelly Porges, Chair, Board of Directors, Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence
• Liz Reilly, Director of Trade Roots, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
• Holly Schick, Deputy Associate Administrator, SBA Office of Entrepreneurial Development
• Joe Sharpe, Director of Economics, The American Legion
• Donald Wilson, President, Association of Small Business Development Centers
• Kenneth Yancey, CEO, Service Corps of Retired Executives