What is the Small Business Administration

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Countless small businesses have achieved their goals with the help of the SBA
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The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small businesses. Its mission was to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation. They realize that small business is critical to our economic strength and is necessary to building America's future, and helping the United States compete in today's global marketplace. Although SBA has grown and evolved in the years since it was established in 1953, their bottom line mission remains the same. The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U. S. Virgin Islands and Guam.

When the U.S. Congress first established SBA, the fundamental question was just what numerical definition should SBA use to define small businesses, industry by industry, to determine what businesses were eligible for SBA's programs. Over the years SBA has established and revised numerical definitions for all for-profit industries, and this numerical definition is called a "size standard." It is almost always stated either as the number of employees or average annual receipts of a business concern.

In addition to establishing eligibility for SBA programs, all federal agencies must use SBA's size standards for its Federal Government contracts it identifies as a small business. Agencies must also use SBA's size standards for their other programs and regulations, unless they are authorized by Federal statute to use something else.

SBA provides a number of financial assistance programs for small businesses including disaster assistance loans. Within this section, they review eligibility requirements, SBA's loan programs, surety bonds and the role of SBA, equity capital topics, special purpose loans, SBA partner topics and lender programs. Though the SBA does not provide grants to help you start a business, they can assist you in finding organizations and sites that can help you in locating special purpose grants.

SBA Programs:
  1. Technical assistance
  2. Financial assistance Contracting
  3. Disaster relief
  4. Special Interests assistance for:
    • Women
    • Veterans
    • Native Americans
    • Opportunity Gaps
    • Young Entrepreneurs
    • International Trade
  5. Advocacy laws & regulations
  6. Civil Rights compliance
If you are interested in contacting the Small Business Administration to discus your current business or for advice on starting a new business, go to the SBA website to learn more. Or, look in the Yellow Pages under Federal Government to find the SBA office nearest you and call to set up an appointment. Free one-on-one counseling is also available locally to help entrepreneurs in the areas of financing, record keeping, management technology, and other business related areas.

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