Small businesses create two out of every three net new jobs in the U.S. economy and employ half of the private sector workforce. The Small Business Administration serves to develop and support these businesses that are vital to the economy and account for 900,000 of the businesses in Ohio.
In Columbus, “The small business climate ,I think, is more than cautiously optimistic,” SBA District Director Martin Golden says. Data shows that small businesses are more likely to hire this year than last. Golden sees several factors that contribute to the improving small business climate. Many companies that deferred hiring are ready to invest in employees. As general business conditions improve, owners are hoarding less cash as well.
The third Congressional district that covers most of Central Ohio is also seeing an increase year over year in lending. The district saw about a 33 percent increase in total lending period over period.
“What’s even more interesting is the fact that if you look at what percentage of those deals were new business versus existing business, we’ve had a 270 percent increase in new business lending,” Golden says. New business lending grew from $2.6 million to $9.7 million in a year period.
Lending is just one of the ways the SBA supports small business. The organization’s mission is to help with small business formation, promote small business and offer programs to help existing small businesses grow.
“We help advocate for issues that small businesses in particular care about,” Golden says.
The SBA provides several services and events that support that mission.
“The best way to think about the SBA is to think about the three Cs,” Golden says. The SBA provides access to capital through their loan guarantee programs. “The idea there is to try to get capital in the hands of small businesses that might otherwise have a difficult time getting it,” he continues. The next C is counseling. The SBA partners with SCORE and the Small Business Development Centers to provide free counseling services to budding business owners.
The SBA also provides assistance with contracting. The federal government buys $400 billion of goods and services a year, and the SBA’s goal is to have 23 percent of those dollars go to small businesses. The organization helps facilitate contracts with not only the federal government, but does some work with state and local governments as well. In 2012, $2.1 billion contracting dollars went to companies in Ohio. The SBA holds matchmaker events that serve to facilitate partnerships between the government and sellers of services.
The SBA can also be a resources for small businesses looking to export with three export capital programs and counseling resources. Other training programs and events help to develop small businesses.
Golden calls a strong small business environment hugely important for local economies. When dollars are kept in the area through local business, the multiplier affect is stronger. Most business in the U.S. is small business – a trend that will continue to grow.
For more information about the SBA’s programs, visit their website.