The U.S. Small Business Administration is back in business after going dark during the 16-day government shutdown.
The SBA fuels the engines of many small and diverse business across the U.S. The federal agency oversees billions of dollars in small business loans and grants annual, offers business growth training and resources, and administers certification programs for small and diverse businesses.
During the government shutdown, most functions of the SBA were shut down. Only programs related to disaster recovery remained open, and more than 60 percent of the agency’s 3,500 workers were furloughed.
How did the shutdown effect small businesses?
Sixteen days might not seem like a long time, but in this fast-paced, globally competitive business world it can be an eternity.
When the SBA returned to business after the government shutdown, more than $140 million in loan applications were waiting for workers in the SBA’s most popular loan program alone. The 7(a) program funds small business expansion with the federal government taking on some of the default risk.
The Washington Post reported that many small businesses were in limbo during the shutdown. Contracts were cancelled or put on hold, and workers were furloughed, while Washington D.C. politicians bickered over spending.
What happens now?
The SBA re-opened on Thursday, including 68 regional offices across the country. Acting SBA Administrator Jeanne Hulit blogged that “things may take a little time to get back up and running, our Agency is committed to helping small businesses continue to be the economic engine of this economy and are working hard to resume normal operation of our programs.”
Unfortunately, there’s no assurance that businesses won’t face another shutdown as early as next year. The deal over raising the federal debt limit, which reopened the government didn’t address wider disagreement in Washington over spending. The current agreement lifts the debt ceiling until Feb. 7, 2014. Let’s hope Washington remains open for business.
Web-based service ConnXus, based in Mason, Ohio, helps corporations locate, evaluate and engage small, woman- and minority-owned businesses. A fully-integrated solution, ConnXus provides corporations with a host of services including Targeted diverse supplier outreach, Tier 1 & Tier 2 diversity spend reporting and supplier registration portals. For more information, go to www.ConnXus.com. Also, connect via Facebook and on Twitter.