WASHINGTON – Senators Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today introduced the “Strengthening Resources for America’s Entrepreneurs Act of 2012.”

The bill aims to increase oversight, transparency and accountability of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Entrepreneurial Development (OED) Programs. Those programs include SBA resource partners, such as: SCORE, Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, and Veterans Business Development Centers.

“Investing resources in helping entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground is a key way government can help small businesses thrive and create jobs,” Sen. Landrieu said. “But we must also make certain that these resources are used efficiently and effectively and that we’re getting a good return on our investment. In order to make that determination, there must be more transparency and consistent metrics to evaluate whether these programs really are achieving their intended goals. The bill we offered today will help bring into focus just how effective our current OED programs are, so Congress can make more informed future decisions on the best way to invest these resources.”

“Small businesses have proven time and again to be the foundation upon which we build our return to prosperity and we in Congress must do everything within our power to help small businesses drive our nation’s economic recovery,” said Senator Snowe. “The SBA’s Entrepreneurial Development programs are a vital source of training and management support for entrepreneurs and the legislation Chair Landrieu and I are introducing today will make them more operative and responsive to the needs of small businesses. These measures improve cross-program coordination to maximize use of resources and ensure the taxpayer dollars that support them are being utilized in the most efficient and effective way possible. ”

The Strengthening Resources for America’s Entrepreneurs Act of 2012 would:

• Require the SBA to create a plan for utilizing ED programs to create jobs;

• Additionally, require the SBA to submit to Congress a report explaining how the agency is coordinating SBA Resource Partners at the national and district level;

• Require the SBA to streamline and make consistent data collection and outcome metrics for ED programs;

• Require the SBA to identify existing for-profit, not-for-profit, and federally funded not-for-profit mentoring programs. Additionally, authorize a report studying the effectiveness of existing mentoring programs.