When President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Small Business Act on July 30, 1953 creating the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), little did he know the lasting impact the agency would have on generations of American entrepreneurs.
Sixty-five years, billions of dollars in small business loans and government contracts, and millions of new jobs later, the SBA continues to play a vital role in spurring economic development and growth.
Here are 10 things you didn’t know about the SBA:
1. The “grandparent” of the SBA is the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC). The federal funding program was created by President Herbert Hoover in 1932 to alleviate the financial crisis of the Great Depression. Twenty years later, the SBA was officially founded July 30, 1953 by President Dwight Eisenhower.
2. The SBA is a Cabinet-level federal agency, not an association – no membership is required.
4. Following disasters, the SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to small businesses, nonprofits and home owners. For example, more than $5 billion in disaster assistance loans went to businesses and residents impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
5. The SBA has an independent Office of Advocacy that listens to small business and industry concerns regarding burdensome federal regulations. Regional advocates are a voice for small businesses and propose recommendations to the White House, Congress and federal agencies.
6. The SBA provides no-cost small business mentoring and advising through a resource partner network of business experts; and, no- and low-cost trainings to help entrepreneurs with topics like finance, marketing, business certifications and taxes.
7. The SBA has a variety of loan programs ranging from $500 microloans to $5.5 million loans; and, can be used for startup costs, equipment, commercial real estate, lines of credit, refinancing and other uses.
8. Since the U.S. government is the world’s largest customer purchasing billions of dollars in goods and services, the SBA helps small businesses win government contracts through a variety of small business certifications. In fact, the SBA publishes an annual scorecard that assesses how well federal agencies reach their small business contracting goals.
9. Two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power is in foreign countries, so the SBA provides a variety of resources and services to help businesses expand into international markets.
10. The SBA supports America’s innovators through various programs like the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program which annually provides $2.5 billion in research and development funding to commercialize innovative technologies.