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Golden Age

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This story appears in the September 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When it comes to birthdays and anniversaries, 50 is a big number (the difference being most people eagerly anticipate their 50th anniversaries and dread their 50th birthdays). But both occasions are meant to be celebrated, so let's all wish the SBA a happy 50th anniversary.

Yes, despite what some may believe, entrepreneurship was not born in the go-go '90s--the SBA has actually been helping small businesses become big businesses since President Dwight D. Eisenhower launched it in July 1953 to "aid, counsel, assist and protect, insofar as possible, the interests of small-business concerns." Over the years, companies like FedEx and Apple Computer have received some sort of SBA assistance. Despite this, the federal agency has sometimes had to fight for its life, with various politicians trying to "starve" it--via devastating budget cuts--out of existence. But like the small businesses it is mandated to help, the SBA hung tough and survived.

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