In a time when banks just won't lend to small businesses no matter how much the feds cajole and offer to help, the Small Business Administration is putting its energy somewhere where it has a bit more control: Its mentoring programs.
Sure, there's already SCORE, the Service Corps of Retired Executives. But how could SBA reach out and help more companies, particularly fast-growing ones?
The SBA recently put out a request for information, seeking to learn more about best practices of high-growth companies, and seeking to discover best practices in entrepreneurial education. Translation: what aren't we teaching entrepreneurs that could help them ignite the economy, and how can we reach more entrepreneurs and teach them more effectively?
The effort is part of an American Innovation initiative announced last fall by the president. It's no secret that high-growth companies are key to the recovery -- a recent study from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation found new, fast-growing companies add an average of 3 million jobs to the economy in their first year, while big companies lose 1 million jobs annually. Those mass layoffs at the big companies really add up.
If SBA could find new and better ways to help growing small businesses ramp, it could help keep the economy growing and avoid the specter of a double-dip recession.
Got any ideas for accelerating mentoring for high-growth companies? Describe them in the comments below...and then tell the SBA. They're all ears.