By Dan Nordberg
This year marks Linda McMahon’s third year leading the U.S. Small Business Administration as its administrator and I am proud of the great work that she — and our whole agency — has accomplished over the past few years in advocating for America’s small businesses.
One of McMahon’s greatest accomplishments was her highly successful national “Ignite” tour, where she visited and toured all 68 SBA district offices. I had the honor of joining her in Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana. Each of these visits was informative, substantive and allowed the small-business community’s chief advocate to hear directly from entrepreneurs on their home turf.
Since 2017, McMahon has met with more than 800 small-business owners nationwide and did media interviews in every city she’s visited. Some of her local highlights include a fly fishing demonstration in Montana; a tour of the Stanley Marketplace in Aurora, Colorado; a chip-sampling at a tortilla factory in Salt Lake City; a business roundtable in Casper, Wyoming; a tour of a small manufacturing plant near Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and a walking tour of small businesses in downtown Fargo, North Dakota. The economic diversity her tours have showcased, along with the innovation of our small-business owners, proves the entrepreneurial spirit of this country is alive and well.
Part of McMahon’s mission is to relay small businesses’ unique needs to Congress and the president. At the same time, she has been optimizing performance internally by leading the SBA team to focus on the consistent delivery of services across all district offices, to work towards one aligned mission and to improve customer service messaging and materials.
Beginning in 2017, the SBA launched major, customer-focused efforts to ensure the agency delivers a consistent experience to its small-business customers and program providers. Working as one, the agency has produced new products and services, as well as refreshed marketing materials, to increase awareness and make the information we provide more hands-on and useful to the small-business community.
Under the administrator’s leadership, the SBA team worked tirelessly to respond to unprecedented natural disasters and provide dedicated economic recovery resources to those in need. Since 2017, the SBA’s disaster program has helped more than 173,000 disaster survivors with home and business loans totaling $8.8 billion in federal assistance.
Our other lending programs also remain strong. By providing small businesses with vital access to capital, they spur continued job creation and growth in communities across the nation. In the past two fiscal years, the SBA has provided more than $60 billion in loan guarantees, supporting more than 1.2 million jobs. And due to the administrator’s emphasis on process improvements, particularly in our capital-access programs, by the end of 2018 the agency was able to reduce its loan processing times by half. Small loans are now being processed within 2-3 days and regular loans within seven days.
I am honored to serve with Administrator McMahon and especially honored to serve the small-business communities in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. A strong leader at the SBA is good for business, especially small businesses located in rural areas. It remains true that small business continues to drive our nation’s economy.
Dan Nordberg is the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Region VIII administrator and is based in Denver. He oversees the agency’s programs and services in Colorado, Montana, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.