Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod has taken the lead on a letter to the House Appropriations Committee encouraging members to consider continuing and expanding funding for various entrepreneurial development programs under the Small Business Administration.
The letter, supported by 29 fellow House members, explains “… we are committed to helping our constituents realize their dreams of owning a small business and creating jobs in our communities.”
The lawmakers hope members of the Appropriations Committee supports the funding requests to “ensure meaningful funding levels needed to support small business growth in the Inland Empire and across the country.”
“The success of small business is tied directly to the success of our economy,” said Negrete McLeod, D-Montclair. “That is why we have to invest in entrepreneurship here in the Inland Empire by ensuring sufficient funding is available to programs that help small businesses grow and create more jobs.”
The letter reads, “Small businesses play a vital role in supporting job creation, economic growth and the U.S. global competitiveness. They create two out of three net new jobs in the United States and half of all working Americans own or are employed by a small business.”
The letter requests funding for the following programs:
• Boots to Business: An initiative that helps about 25,000 veterans across all military branches to start their own businesses. The letter asks for $7 million.
• Entrepreneurship Education: A program that helps small businesses increase their revenue and create new jobs. The program could reach 1,750 more small business owners whose enterprises have growth potential. The letter requests funding at $15 million.
• Small Business Development Centers: A program that supports 940 centers nationwide to provide technical assistance to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs. The letter requests funding of $115 million for the program.
• Women’s Business Centers: The program is a national network of nearly 100 educational centers designed to assist women in starting and running small businesses. The letter requests $14 million.
McLeod’s office indicated it would be up to committee leadership to decide when to take up the request. The funding levels requested in the letter mirror a request for Small Business Administration funding proposed by the Obama administration.
“All these different funding streams are crucial for small business owners,” said Marcia Davalos, Southern California outreach manager for Small Business Majority, a national nonprofit dedicated to engaging small business owners and policymakers in support of policies that create jobs, maximize business opportunities and saves costs in health-care reform, clean energy, access to capital and other areas.
“When 95 percent of all businesses have five employees or less, that’s a huge amount of impact that all those services can have on small businesses,” Davalos said. “It stands to make an impact. We want to make sure those small businesses are taken into consideration for all the benefit they actually provide to the economy.”
Vincent McCoy, who manages the Victorville-based Inland Empire Small Business Development Center, said he hopes the funding request is approved.
McCoy’s agency helps small business owners develope financial plans and apply for loans. The Inland Empire Small Business Development Center has been active in the region for more than 20 years and serves 1,500 small business owners. It has offices in Ontario and Riverside.
“The funding will allow us to deliver technical assistance and training to businesses throughout the region and allow us to keep up with increased demand for our services,” McCoy said.
“In the first quarter of 2014, there’s been a 20 percent growth in demand from small businesses for technical assistance. People need more help.”
Funding for small business programs has been flat for about a decade, McCoy said adding she hopes the letter leads to an increase in funding to keep up with costs and that the funds continue to come.
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