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Rep. Lois Capps: Legislation Provides Small Business Assistance

The measure overhauling entrepreneurial development programs was approved by the House

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Wednesday voted for bipartisan legislation modernizing key job-creating entrepreneurial development programs within the Small Business Administration (SBA). The Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act of 2009 (H.R. 2352), which passed by a vote of 406 to 15, is part of a comprehensive effort to give established small businesses and entrepreneurial start-ups the tools and resources to thrive in this challenging economic environment so they can continue creating jobs and driving economic growth.

“Up and down the Central and South Coasts small businesses are struggling to make ends meet and continue to provide important goods, services, and jobs to our communities,” said Capps. “This economic downturn has been challenging for all Americans, but certainly for our hard working small business owners and budding entrepreneurs, who have been particularly hard hit by the credit crunch and decline in consumer spending. As we continue on the long road to economic recovery it is important that we do all that we can to support small businesses so they can survive and ultimately thrive despite these serious economic challenges. This legislation builds on steps taken in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and helps modernize the Small Business Administration to more effectively help our small businesses and entrepreneurs.”

The legislative package, comprised of seven bipartisan bills, is the first overhaul of the SBA’s entrepreneurial development programs in a decade. The measure expands proven programs like Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) and the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), and improves cross-program coordination for maximum benefit. The bill also creates new support services for veteran-owned and Native American-owned small businesses, and a grant program for SBDCs specifically designed to assist small firms in securing capital and credit such as the $21 billion in new small business lending generated under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Economists estimate that every dollar invested in these initiatives returns $2.87 to the economy. In addition, new online learning programs are included in the bill to help entrepreneurs in rural regions and underserved communities.

The Job Creation through Entrepreneurship Act of 2009 is comprised of seven measures that were approved by the Small Business Committee’s Subcommittee on Rural Development, Entrepreneurship and Trade earlier this year. Those bills, sponsored by five Republicans and two Democrats, include:

» H.R. 1803, the Veterans Business Center Act of 2009, introduced by Rep. Glenn Nye, D-Virginia. Authorizes $10 million in fiscal year 2011 and $12 million in fiscal year 2011 for the SBA to expand entrepreneurial development assistance to veterans by increasing outreach facilities across the country; establishing specialized assistance programs; and updating the institutional structure designed to customize policies and programs targeted to the sector.

» H.R. 1834, the Native American Business Development Enhancement Act of 2009, introduced by Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick D-Arizona. Ensures entrepreneurial development services are customized to Native American entrepreneurs’ needs and communities by formalizing in statute the SBA’s Office of Native American Affairs and establishing grants for business development outreach facilities in regions with high concentrations of these enterprises.

» H.R. 1807, the Educating Entrepreneurs through Today’s Technology Act, introduced by Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pennsylvania. Increases access to entrepreneurial development services through the use of communication technologies to facilitate the creation of high-quality distance learning resources through public-private business development experts.

» H.R. 1838, the Women’s Business Center Act, introduced by Rep. Mary Fallin, R-Oklahoma. Improves and expands business development resources for women entrepreneurs by increasing counseling and training facilities for this sector, particularly targeting underserved areas; enhancing the operating procedures for the Women’s Business Program; and mandating a more targeted approach to the National Women’s Business Council’s research program.

» H.R. 1839, the SCORE Act, introduced by Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Florida. Increases the effectiveness of the SCORE program by establishing new performance and benchmark requirements for the agency’s business mentoring resources.

» H.R. 1842, the Expanding Entrepreneurship Act of 2009, introduced by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Missouri. Updates the structure of the SBA’s entrepreneurial development portfolio by requiring increased coordination and planning by program operators.

» H.R. 1845, the Small Business Development Center Modernization Act of 2009, introduced by Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Illinois. Authorizes the development of specialized assistance programs at Small Business Development Centers, which are responsive to the issues facing entrepreneurs today, and updates operational procedures to improve the delivery of services through the centers.

— Emily Kryder is communications director for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.


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