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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 50thanniversaries and dread their 50th birthdays). But both occasionsare meant to be celebrated, so let's all wish the SBA a happy50th anniversary.

Yes, despite what some may believe, entrepreneurship was notborn in the go-go '90s--the SBA has actually been helping smallbusinesses become big businesses since President Dwight D.Eisenhower launched it in July 1953 to "aid, counsel, assistand protect, insofar as possible, the interests of small-businessconcerns." Over the years, companies like FedEx and AppleComputer have received some sort of SBA assistance. Despite this,the federal agency has sometimes had to fight for its life, withvarious politicians trying to "starve" it--viadevastating budget cuts--out of existence. But like the smallbusinesses it is mandated to help, the SBA hung tough andsurvived.

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