The Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce will meet for a hearing titled, “GAO Audit Reveals Half-Measures Taken by Small Business Advocates.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, October 25, 2017 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
The hearing will review a comprehensive audit of the Offices of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The GAO report examines compliance with select Small Business Act section 15(k) requirements by the OSDBU across 24 federal agencies.
The Committee on Small Business will meet for a hearing titled, “Small Business Capital Access: Supporting Community and Economic Development.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 2:30 P.M. on Friday, October 20, 2017 in Studio C at The Enterprise Center, 4548 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19139.
The hearing will look at capital access programs working to promote affordable lending products for small businesses, especially those in distressed areas.
Ms. Dafina Williams
Vice President of Public Policy
Opportunity Finance Network
Ms. Leslie Benoliel
Mr. Lin Thomas
Chief Executive Officer
EMSCO Scientific Enterprises, Inc.
Mr. Steve Dorcelien
Bright Yellow Creamery
WASHINGTON – Today, House Committee on Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) praised the White House’s decision to nominate Hannibal “Mike” Ware to serve as the Small Business Administration (SBA) Inspector General:
“Acting Inspector General Mike Ware has testified before the Committee several times this year, each time proving that he is a great choice for this position. He has been straightforward and gives the Committee confidence that the SBA OIG will continue to conduct thorough oversight over SBA,” said Chairman Chabot. “Mr. Ware has done a good job as the Acting Inspector General and I look forward to continuing to work with him as SBA Inspector General.”
The Subcommittees on Investigations, Oversight, and Regulations and Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access will meet for a joint hearing titled, “Oversight Improvements Needed: SBA OIG’s Review of the Microloan Program.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 2:00 P.M. on Thursday, October 12, 2017 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
The Subcommittees will examine the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Microloan Program. The hearing will focus on the SBA’s Office of Inspector General’s September 28, 2017 report entitled, “Audit of SBA’s Microloan Program.”
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List
3. Hearing Memo
4. Opening Statements - Subcommittee Chairman Kelly
5. Opening Statement - Subcommittee Chairman Brat
Mr. Hannibal “Mike” Ware
Acting Inspector General
United States Small Business Administration
Mr. William Manger
Office of Capital Access
United States Small Business Administration
The hearing will examine the current state of women’s entrepreneurship in the United States, while highlighting both the challenges women entrepreneurs experience and the existing resources available to support women-owned small businesses. Additionally, this hearing, occurring during National Women’s Small Business Month, will address what can be done to decrease the entrepreneurial gender gap by highlighting the areas in which resources and opportunities available to women entrepreneurs could be expanded.
WASHINGTON—Today, Members of the House Small Business Subcommittee on Health and Technology heard from a panel of women experienced in the challenges women entrepreneurs face in today’s economy, as well as the available resources to support women-owned small businesses.
“While women entrepreneurs face many challenges, one major issue women owners face is access to adequate financing opportunities. Men typically launch their businesses with twice the capital women do, and less than 10 percent of all venture funds are granted to women-led businesses. The matter of access to capital is of particular concern to me, as it is a persistent issue among my constituents in American Samoa,” said Subcommittee Chairman Aumua Amata Colemen Radewagen.
Examining the Current State of Women’s Entrepreneurship in the U.S.
Traditionally, the rate at which women are starting businesses has been significantly lower than the rate at which men do. Overall, the number of women engaging in entrepreneurship has increased over time; however, a gender gap still exists.
“Creating an environment where women can start and grow businesses has always been a vital part of our economic security. Today that is truer than ever, with women starting ventures at four times the rate of men. Their success is vital to the US economy as women-owned businesses have a significant impact on their local communities and collectively drive growth and create jobs,” said Antonella Pianalto, President and CEO of the Association of Women’s Business Centers in Washington, DC.
“I started SRE in 2007, with $10,000, I was and still am, a single mother with no access to any other capital,” said Jeannette King, President and CEO of Strategic Resolution Experts, Inc. in Martinsburg, WV. “Thanks to various programs and the support and guidance I receive from my WV SBA office in Clarksburg, WV, I have a line of credit, I have grown SRE to a multimillion dollar company and I use the HUBZone program as it was intended - to help disadvantaged individuals in economically depressed areas become trained and qualified to obtain sustainable jobs.”
“Mentorship is important to the success of entrepreneurs. Female entrepreneurs need guidance through the process of starting and growing their business. Someone who has the experience and knowledge to show you how to reach your goal is a valuable resource. Anyone can open a business, but having the right tools is necessary for success. Writing an effective business plan, implementing, and updating that plan is the key to success. Running a business day to day can be challenging. Having a mentor to prevent you from making certain mistakes in the process is priceless,” said Janice Green, President and CEO of Jancare Private Health Service, Inc. in Fishkill, NY.
“My journey as a woman entrepreneur is not unusual. There are over ten million women entrepreneurs in the United States. We share similar paths. Each of us are unsure, at times unknowing, yet we are unafraid to become an entrepreneur. And each of us need support and guidance,” said Hester Clark, President of the Hester Group in Jacksonville, FL.
WASHINGTON—Yesterday, Members of the House Small Business Committee heard from a panel of government officials on how federal agencies are reducing paperwork burdens on small businesses and agency compliance issues with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA).
“Even though the PRA is supposed to reduce paperwork burdens, small businesses are still faced with an overwhelming amount of paperwork requirements each day,” said Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH). “In fact, paperwork requirements are costing America almost $120 billion a year. But as we heard at our hearing last March, this number is probably much higher, because federal agencies may not be accurately estimating the burden.”
Are Burdens Being Reduced?
This is the second hearing in a series examining the PRA’s goals to reduce the paperwork burden on individuals and small businesses, while also reducing the cost to the federal government of collecting and using information. The PRA makes the agency’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) responsible for compliance with the Act. The witnesses included agency representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of Labor, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The witnesses provided testimony on their efforts to minimize federal paperwork burdens on small businesses under the PRA. However, Members of the Committee were skeptical of the agencies’ efforts to reduce paperwork requirements on small businesses.
“I’ve heard during your testimony you’ve uttered the following words more than once: that your agency strives to limit the information and paperwork requirements we place on the public, balancing our data and information needs—the government’s data and information needs—with the burdens associated with those needs.” said Rep. Rod Blum (R-IA). “There’s not a small business person in my district in Northeast Iowa that believes that statement. Not a one.”
“The purpose [of the PRA] is not to get information for any of your agencies. The purpose is to make these small businesses productive.” said Rep. Trent Kelly (R-MS).
“[i]t does all fall on the small business person, often two or three people, having to make a profit and work through all this red tape.” said Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE).
“I’m a small business owner.” said Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC). “I’ve had it with paperwork. I’ve had it with having to fill out every form in the world.”
Members of the Committee were also concerned that the agencies are not doing enough to reduce the burden, and that small business owners are not seeing the results of the agencies’ efforts.
“When will small businesses see a reduction in the paperwork? Because that sounded very nice. But they’re sitting there in Iowa saying this isn’t going to happen. It never has in the past.” said Rep. Blum. “Small business have zero resources available, none. Every time we ask them for a bit of information, we just taxed them.”
“[e]very dollar that I have to spend filling out this paperwork...is a dollar that I can expand our business. That’s a machine I can buy. That’s a tractor that I can put to work.” said Rep. Norman.
WASHINGTON—Today, House Committee on Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) released the following statement on President Trump’s Executive Order on Healthcare.
“I applaud President Trump’s actions today in taking the first step to help 35 million workers employed by small businesses exercise greater control over their healthcare decisions. Hopefully, this Administration continues to keep small businesses at the forefront of this conversation,” said Chairman Chabot. “The Executive Order makes it easier for small employers to join together and form Association Health Plans (AHP) to provide their workers more affordable, flexible coverage options.”
Chairman Chabot cosponsored H.R. 1101, the Small Business Health Fairness Act, which passed the House earlier this year.
WASHINGTON—Today, Members of the House Small Business Subcommittees on Investigations, Oversight, and Regulations and Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access heard from agency officials from the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) on the SBA’s September 28, 2017 report entitled, “Audit of SBA’s Microloan Program.”
“Ultimately, SBA is supposed to make sure that the Microloan Program—a program there to help the littlest of the little guys—is actually fulfilling its purpose. According to a recent audit from the SBA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG), however, the agency needs to improve its oversight over the Microloan Program,” said Subcommittee Chairman Trent Kelly (R-MS). “In fact, OIG found that SBA did not even implement all of the recommendations from the 2009 audit. Even though SBA said it would. That is not acceptable. SBA must do better.”
SBA Must Do Better
The Subcommittees examined the Small Business Administration’s Microloan Program based in the Office of Capital Access. The audit brought to light the inadequate oversight the SBA has been doing on the not-for-profit intermediaries who make last resort microloans to small businesses. Weak oversight undermines the purpose of the program, invites fraud and waste, and puts American taxpayer dollars at risk.
“SBA management did not effectively implement all prior audit recommendations to improve oversight. Furthermore, SBA management did not conduct adequate program oversight to measure program performance and ensure program integrity,” said Mike Ware, Acting Inspector General at the United States Small Business Administration in Washington, DC. “These internal control weaknesses were due to SBA not having an overall site visit plan, an adequate information system, available funding for system improvements, or clear Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Additionally, SBA management focused on output-based performance measures instead of outcome measures.”
Subcommittee Chairman Kelly (R-MS) said, “Mr. Manger [Associate Administrator of the Office of Capital Access at the SBA], you have a roadmap. The Office of the Inspector General told you exactly what you need to do to do this thing right. My hope is that the SBA will follow to the tee those recommendations or either dispute with this Committee or the Office of the Inspector General what you don’t agree with.”
Members of both Subcommittees reiterated the importance of adhering to the recommendations of the Office of the Inspector General in ensuring accountability and good stewardship of microloans.
The Committee on Small Business will meet for a hearing titled, “Evaluating the Paperwork Reduction Act Part II: Are Burdens Being Reduced?” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, October 11, 2017 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
This hearing will continue to examine the PRA and will discuss how agencies are reducing paperwork burdens on small businesses and potential solutions to address agencies’ PRA compliance issues
WASHINGTON – Today, the House passed H.R. 2763, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Improvements Act, introduced by House Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce Chairman Steve Knight (R-CA).
Specifically, H.R. 2763 insists on greater agency accountability, including several hard reporting deadlines for participating agencies and for the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide future Congresses with better information and a greater grasp of the programs’ strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, the bipartisan legislation ensures that taxpayers reap the benefits of technology developed in the program by requiring the Department of Defense to include the technologies developed in larger programs of record.
“H.R 2763 is one step closer towards a more transparent and safe government,” said Rep. Knight. “This bill would give the opportunity for America’s small businesses to participate in the national security needs for innovation in our country.”
“Small businesses are essential to America’s economic competitiveness and industrial base,” said Rep. Knight. “Supporting programs like SBIR and STTR is important for the safety and economic stability of our nation. These programs sponsor developments that allow us to compete in the international marketplace and provide innovative tools supported and created by local entrepreneurs that contribute to American security.”
“I commend Subcommittee Chairman Knight and the Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce for their hard work on this vital piece of legislation. Small innovators often lead the way in high-tech research and innovation and today’s legislation improves these programs and provides certainty and clarity to thousands of small businesses,” said House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH).
WASHINGTON – House Committee on Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) released the following statement after the President nominated David Christian Tryon, a fellow Ohioan, as Chief Counsel for Advocacy at the Small Business Administration (SBA):
“As the Administration and Congress continue to work together to relieve the regulatory burden on small businesses, it is critical that the SBA Office of Advocacy has someone at its helm to be the independent voice for small businesses within the federal government,” said Chairman Chabot.
“I applaud the President’s decision to move forward with the nomination of Mr. Tryon. As the Small Business Committee wrote in August, nominating a Chief Counsel for Advocacy will help the President’s ‘efforts to provide regulatory relief to spur economic growth, promote innovation, and encourage entrepreneurship.’ The Committee looks forward to continuing our work with the Office of Advocacy and ensuring that federal agencies consider how all proposed regulations will affect small businesses,” Chabot added.
In August, the Small Business Committee Majority signed a letter urging the President to nominate a Chief Counsel for Advocacy. The letter can be read HERE.
The Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy, and Trade will meet for a hearing titled, “High-Tech Agriculture: Small Firms on the Frontier of Agribusiness.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:00 A.M. on Thursday, October 5, 2017 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
This hearing will examine rapid development of the agricultural technology (agtech) industry driven by the private sector. Entrepreneurs are tackling industry challenges and facilitating technology transfer from the lab to the farm to the table. Agricultural regions are competing to be the next great innovation hub, which has spurred rural revitalization. The discussion will explore issues beyond the headlines to understand the role of small businesses and the perspective of small family farmers.
Mark Kester, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer
WASHINGTON – Today, House Committee on Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) released the following statement after the House passed H. Con. Res. 71, the fiscal year 2018 budget resolution.
“Today’s vote puts us one big step closer to a tax reform plan that will help our small businesses grow and create new jobs. Again and again we hear how the burdensome tax code impedes their ability to expand. But the resolution passed today, which includes reconciliation language, will allow us to move forward with tax reform legislation that will benefit the economy, and particularly the drivers of our economy – small businesses,” said Chairman Chabot.### Read More
WASHINGTON—Today, Members of the House Small Business Committee Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy, and Trade heard from a panel of agricultural technology (agtech) and agribusiness professionals on the rapid development of agtech driven by the private sector.
“Private sector participation in agtech research and development has surged in recent years. However, the most important stakeholders in any discussion of agtech are the farmers themselves. Small and family farmers cannot risk their time and resources for experimental innovations and technologies that may not work,” said Chairman Rod Blum (R-IA). “Farmers may be budding entrepreneurs developing new technology to improve their farms, but may need some help connecting with investors and mentors to bring their ideas to market.”
Small Firms on the Frontier of Agribusiness
Entrepreneurs are tackling industry challenges and facilitating technology transfer from the lab to the farm to the table. Agricultural regions are competing to be the next great innovation hub, which has spurred rural revitalization.
“When rural entrepreneurs succeed, rural communities thrive and prosper. As entrepreneurs grow their businesses, they create jobs for their family, friends and neighbors,” said Dr. Lisa Benson, Director of Rural Development at the American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington, DC. “A hurdle many of these ag tech entrepreneurs faced was trying to access enough capital to scale up their production to reach economies of scale. To address this challenge, Farm Bureau created the Agriculture Investment Summit that connects rural entrepreneurs with investors from venture capital funds and accelerator programs.”
“Thanks to advances in on-farm technology, data science, connectivity, and remote sensing, it is possible for a wide network of farmers to actively participate in finding answers to their questions, and get paid for meaningful research through farmer trials,” stated Kevin Heikes, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at IN10T in Lexena, KS. “IN10T collaborates closely with farmers, ensuring understanding of the data, and converting data into invaluable, applicable insights.”
"Farmers saw such great value in our technology that multiple vineyards and one apple orchard even agreed to allow us to run small-scale field trials and generate our first field-trial data for our technology,” said Dr. Mark Kester, Chief Scientific Officer at AgroSpheres in Charlottesville, VA. “The willingness for small farms in our community to work with us was key to the early stages of our success.”
“It is no exaggeration to say that technology in agriculture has changed more in the past 100 years than it had in any 100 years prior, and perhaps more than in all of human history combined,” said Joseph W. Guthrie, Senior Instructor for Agricultural Technology at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. “There is no question that precision agriculture is an all-important driving force in crop production now and appears that it will be even more important in the future as it is more widely adopted, as the technology will likely become more affordable, and as it continues to improve over time.”
The Committee on Small Business hearing titled, “Small Business Tax Reform: Modernizing the Code for the Nation’s Job Creators,” originally scheduled to begin at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, September 27, has been rescheduled. The hearing has been rescheduled to begin at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 in 2017 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
WASHINGTON – House Committee on Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) released the following statement today after the Committee on Education and the Workforce marked up and passed out of Committee H.R. 3441, the "Save Local Business Act," of which he is an original co-sponsor:
“I’m encouraged by the progress of this important bill. As I’ve mentioned before, small businesses have been hurting under this rule for more than two years. It created unnecessary confusion and burdensome challenges for job creators that just want to grow their companies. After hearing first-hand from the small businesses community how it is damaging their ability to expand, it is time to put an end to this rule,” said Chairman Chabot.
In April 2015, the Committee first held a roundtable on the emerging issue. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) then expanded its definition of the joint employer standard in August 2015. In March 2016, the Committee held a hearing titled, “Risky Business: Effects of New Joint Employer Standards for Small Firms” to examine the direct impact of the rule on small businesses.
The bill was also endorsed by the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council (SBEC).
The Committee on Small Business will meet for a hearing titled, “Serving Small Businesses: Examining the Effectiveness of HUBZone Reforms.” The hearing will take place at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
The hearing will examine legislation updating the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) Program, which seeks to provide federal contracting opportunities to small businesses in economically distressed areas of the country. H.R. 3294 is a bipartisan, comprehensive HUBZone reform bill designed to address concerns brought by small businesses as well as the Government Accountability Office