Small Business Majority network members participate in the White House’s inaugural Regional Small Business Summit

On March 15, Small Business Majority network members, alongside other small business owners and advocates, attended the White House’s inaugural Regional Small Business Summit. The entrepreneurs met with U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman and other Biden-Harris administration officials to discuss how to help Main Street thrive. Over the past three years, a record 17 million new business applications were filed with outsized growth in women, Latino, and Black entrepreneurship. However, there are still many barriers that prevent small businesses from reaching their full potential. 

First, attendees had the opportunity to speak with Administrator Guzman about the importance of leveling the playing field for small businesses and SBA’s work to help all small businesses. The SBA is focused on meeting borrowers where they are and they’ve increased lending to rural, women and minority entrepreneurs. The Small Business Administration is also focused on providing support for government contracting opportunities resulting from President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda.

Later, small business owners heard from a panel of SBA officials, including Associate Administrator for the Office of Entrepreneurial Development Mark Madrid, Associate Administrator for the Office of Field Operations Jennifer Kim, Director of Policy David Brown and Associate Administrator of the Office Government Contracting and Business Development Jackie Robinson-Burnette. They discussed their work to connect small businesses with their programs and other government opportunities since a majority of business owners aren’t aware of the Small Business Administration can offer them. The SBA has local Small Business Development Centers and Women’s Business Centers throughout the country to offerentrepreneurs technical assistance and individualized business advising to help them start and grow their businesses.

Additionally, the entrepreneurs discussed President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda with White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Tom Perez, White House Director of Public Engagement Mayor Benjamin and Kirabo Jackson from the Council of Economic Advisers. The money available from the Inflation Reduction Act, the CHIPS and Science Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides the biggest opportunity for federal investment in small businesses. They emphasized their focus on enforcing antitrust laws to level the playing field so that small businesses can better compete with larger businesses and on employer-informed workforce development so that small businesses can recruit talented employees.

Throughout these conversations, small business owners stressed the importance of consumable information about the programs available to them. While there are many new opportunities, entrepreneurs don’t know what’s right for them and they need federal outreach to bridge the information gap. Additionally, they mentioned how increased investment in America’s social infrastructure like childcare and eldercare is needed to support both entrepreneurs and their workforce.

Janibell Rodriguez, owner of Kitchens, Bath, & Beyond, reflects on her experience, saying “It was an honor and a pleasure to be part of such a significant gathering where I had such insightful discussions. It was invaluable to have the chance to address my concerns directly with the SBA.”