Is SBA S.O.L.?

The SBA Timeline

1932: Herbert Hoover's Reconstruction Finance Corp. (RFC) made loans to businesses of all sizes undermined by the Depression and World War II. Adopted by Hoover's successor, Franklin D. Roosevelt.

1942: To protect the nation's supply chain during wartime production, Congress created the Smaller War Plants Corp. (SWPC). It made direct loans, encouraged commercial lenders to make credit available to small businesses, and advocated for small businesses with federal agencies and bigger businesses.

1946: SWPC disbanded when the war ended, and its functions folded into the RFC. Department of Commerce started some educational and training functions previously handled by the SWPC. RFC continued to oversee government loans.

1952: President Dwight D. Eisenhower proposed sweeping all the small-business services into a new agency: the Small Business Administration.

1953: SBA born on July 30, 1953 by an act of Congress. Its mission is to "aid, counsel, assist and protect, insofar as is possible, the interests of small business concerns." SBA would also ensure small businesses a "fair proportion" of government contracts and sales of surplus property.

1954: SBA starts making direct loans, guaranteeing commercial loans, lending to victims of natural disasters, advocating for small businesses with other federal agencies, and establishing management, technical assistance and training programs.

1958: Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) loan Program created to aid high-risk small-business start-ups and fast-growth companies.

1964: Equal Opportunity Loan Program was designed to give assistance to aspiring business owners with incomes below the poverty level.

1988: Women's Network for Entrepreneurial Training is launched. It has since evolved to become the Women's Business Center.

1995: LowDoc process introduced to eliminate some of the burdensome paperwork that was then required for the 7(a) Loan Guaranty Program.

1996: ACE-Net-the Angel Capital Electronic Network-is formed to help make connections between early-stage companies and investors.

1998: BusinessLINC is created to match small businesses with larger companies that can provide mentoring for them.

1999: SBA starts packaging loans in its 7(a) Loan Guaranty Program to be available for sale on the commercial secondary loan market.

Joanne Y. Cleaver regularly writes for a number of magazines and has written two books on marketing in her 20 years covering small business.
Cynthia E. Griffin contributed to this article.

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This article was originally published in the October 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Is SBA S.O.L.?.

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