SBA Task Force Set to Begin Campaign
In response to an unprecedented economic situation, a mixed group of regulators, bankers, small business owners, funders, attorneys, and social media representatives are coming together in a task force to work with the SBA, members of Congress, small businesses and entrepreneurs to transition small business into a “new phase.”
Dubbed the SBA Task Force at last week’s Bipartisan Committee summit on small business recovery, the group’s goals are to address the state of small business in the U.S., how the current economical and political climate is impacting the practices of merchants across the country, and to address concerns from interested parties directly to the federal government.
“The SBA is at a crucial moment: its laudable performance during the COVID crisis has thrust upon the agency new expectations and new responsibilities,” said Pradeep Belur, former COO of the SBA and co-chair of the committee. “To fulfill those, [the] SBA needs not only enhanced capacity but also modernization to enable it to execute effectively. I’m honored to help chair this task force and pursue measures that will support the agency and help the heart of America’s economy.”
Alongside Belur as co-chair of the committee is Ann Marie Mehlum, a Senior Advisor at FS Vector with almost four decades of experience in banking. Much like Belur, Mehlum is committed to continue the largely unfinished project of improving the operating conditions for small businesses.
“The work of assisting small businesses is never finished—the SBA has continually sought to respond to new needs and reach more types of small companies,” Mehlum said. “The members of this task force, which I’m delighted to help chair, are committed to working with the agency and Congress to improve the ways in which that work is carried out.”
The founder of the committee, Angela McIver, is the owner of an after-school math program for children based in Philadelphia. When faced with pandemic related troubles, McIver pivoted her business from a brick and mortar learning program into a fully virtual, nation-wide learning platform.
“One of the smartest things I did was develop a relationship with a community bank” said McIver, when asked what advice she would give to small businesses at the BPC’s summit. “We didn’t have a lot of the challenges that small businesses had because we had a relationship with a small bank that knew who we were, knew our challenges, and [they] were able to step in when it was necessary.”
Other members of note on the force are Christopher R. Upperman, a Manager & Team Lead in the Governance Organization at Facebook, Jessica Johnson-Cope, President, Johnson Security Bureau and co-chair of the 10,000 Small Businesses Voices National Leadership Council, and Ryan Metcalf, Head of U.S. Public Policy and Global Social Impact at Funding Circle.
“Our participation in the BPC’s task force reflects our ongoing commitment to advocate for government policies that are in the best interest of small business owners” said Metcalf, exclusively to deBanked. “We truly believe that the strongest path forward for the SBA involves leveraging the proven capabilities of fintechs to quickly and efficiently reach typically underserved communities through a modernized approach to government-backed small business lending.”
Metcalf and his company seemed to be excited to take part in the committee, having a direct impact on the space in which their business operates. “On behalf of Funding Circle, I look forward to working with stakeholders across the lending landscape to support an effective bipartisan SBA reauthorization that best prepares the agency to help small business owners,” he said.
Members of the committee are confident that the group will help modernize the practices of the SBA while also empowering them. “The government agency dedicated to supporting [small businesses] must do the same and adapt its systems and programs to support that evolution,” said BPC Board Member and former Senator and Chair of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Olympia Snowe. “I’m confident that this task force will successfully develop ideas and recommendations to enable the SBA to do that.”Last modified: October 19, 2021
Adam Zaki was a Reporter at deBanked.