On Monday, November 13, Kelly Hunt, director, Western Pennsylvania
District Small Business Administration, visited John Lipinski’s Small Business Management class in the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology. Her visit focused on what the SBA can do to help you start and grow a small business and ultimately succeed. She pointed out that
the SBA is the only government agency with “Business” in its title.
There are 68 district
offices in the Small Business Administration. Pennsylvania is fortunate to have two, one based in Philadelphia to focus on the Eastern half of the state, and Hunt’s office, based in Pittsburgh. SBA offices exist solely to support small businesses
by providing assistance in the areas of counseling, capital access, and contracting.
Hunt went on to detail how the SBA will provide entrepreneurs with one-on-one counseling to help them get established, and work to refer small business owners to appropriate financial institutions. She also talked about the vast opportunities available
to small business owners interested in government contracting.
The federal government gives special status to small businesses and sets aside 23 percent of the government budget to do business exclusively with small businesses. Additionally, it carves out special programs for female, minority, and service disabled
veterans (setting aside 3 percent of federal contracts for each group). For individuals who qualify under one of these areas, the SBA provides assistance in receiving this certification. Many government contractors seek out these certified small businesses
as subcontractors, and the SBA helps large companies identify certified companies as potential partners.
Hunt concluded by telling students that this is a great time for students to explore becoming small business owners. The current administration is making more resources available to assist small businesses. Also, as baby boomers look to retire, there
are increasing opportunities to purchase and operate existing small businesses.