We were intrigued to read of President Obama's plans - in an election year - to reorganize the Small Business Administration within other-government run business organizations. A few days after the announcement, there seems to be mixed soundings on the effect this move will have on the role of small business in the federal government.
Last Friday, the President asked Congress for permission to "consolidate the SBA with the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Export-Import Bank, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and some U.S. Department of Commerce programs" according to CNN.
There are two way to assess this decision. A person who looks at the glass half-full will remark that the move allows the small business community to get better access to patent-launching, idea creation, as well as grow abroad. It will also see SBA president Karen Mills assume a place at the Cabinet table. On the downside, small businesses will be lumped aside some of biggest in the country, businesses with completely different needs and financial expectations.
As Dan Danner, president of the National Federation of Independent Business said, "If they're going through the same door as the big business guys, they will be lost in the shuffle."
The IFA has weighed in on the move and announced its ambivalence to the decision.
"As part of any proposed reorganization, it would be essential that SBA loan programs remain intact and at their current funding levels, to ensure franchise small businesses can continue to access capital through these successful loan programs," Steven J Caldeira, IFA president.
There is cause for concern with this decision and we hope that an effort to cut out government waste does not indirectly sideline one of the most important engines in the US economy.