Access and opportunity: The Washington Post highlighted a recent Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) report that concluded that the “future of manufacturing will consist of smaller firms that may not always have enough money to train workers, commercialize new products and procure financing on their own.”
Our agency has a $100 billion loan portfolio to help get capital to these businesses. We also train and counsel more than a million business owners each year. And, as I highlighted in the second blog in this series, the president’s budget proposes $40 million for intensive entrepreneurial training to support established firms that are well positioned for growth. The training is tailored to ensure that entrepreneurs get the skills, resources, counseling and long-term business planning advice they need to be part of corporate supply chains.
Creating ecosystems: A key component of a thriving manufacturing base is a network of nimble suppliers. At the SBA, we launched the first official federal government cluster initiative in 2010; today, the federal government is invested in more than 50 clusters across the country.
The goal of these clusters is to leverage, integrate and better align all of a region’s assets (local industries, skill base of local workforce, economic development agencies, universities and community colleges). These ecosystems are a proven tool for attracting and strengthening regional manufacturing and for boosting exports.
In addition, as part of the American Supplier Initiative, the SBA is supporting efforts to fund supply chain mapping techniques.
This is only the beginning. All across the country there are small suppliers ready, able and willing to make America’s corporations more productive, more innovative and more globally competitive. As those supplier networks grow and connect, they will serve as a magnet to bring more manufacturing and more jobs back to our shores.
That’s how we can accelerate economic growth, strengthen the middle class and make America more globally competitive.
Karen G. Mills is the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Mills was appointed by President Obama in 2009 and has served on his cabinet since 2012.
Blog series part 1: America’s four most critical small business sectors
Blog series part 2: Do existing businesses hold the key to recovery?
Blog series part 3: U.S. needs entrepreneurs to get back in the game
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