Helping Small Businesses, to Strengthen the Economy
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Can small businesses turn the economy around? The White House thinks so, and is hosting economic forums around the nation to help entrepreneurs grow their business, and the Urban Economic Forum was in Kansas City Tuesday morning.
The Executive Director of the White House Business Council Ari Matusiak says there’s a lot of good news, for example, the U.S. is now in its 26th month of consistent job growth and has added 4.2 million jobs.
“Virtually all new jobs are created by high growth entrepreneurs and so entrepreneurs are the mechanism to which we add jobs back to the economy,” says Matusiak.
Small businesses like Mary McNamara’s Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal say they so think the economy is turning around, she’s getting more bids for projects now. But she says getting access to finances remains the small businesses biggest barrier, especially if you happen to be a woman in a traditionally male field.
“I was told to my face by a banker when I was first purchasing it that I was a non-traditional owner and I was not credit worthy to lend the money to,” McNamara says.
But the Small Business Administration, SBA, says that’s where it can help.
“As women and minority businesses go, they’re 3-5 times more likely to get an SBA loan than a commercial loan,” says Marie Johns, SBA Deputy Administrator, “so that to us is a powerful statement about why the SBA supports lending for small businesses and particularly woman and minority owned small business.”
Cities can also offer small businesses a hand. Kansas City, Kansas Mayor Joe Reardon says the city made resources available for big projects like the speedway and is working now to help the “little guys” with its newly retooled Small Business Revolving Loan Fund.
“It really allows a small business to come in when they need that five or ten thousand, 50 or 100 thousand dollars to take that business, to get it going,” says Reardon.
That’s exciting news to many business owners.
“Some of the new programs today I found out today I can take advantage of and i’m going to,” says McNamara.
The Urban Economic Forum is touring nationally, this is the sixth city so far, and it’s headed next to Detroit May 17th.