August 4th, 2009
01:55 PM ET
5 years ago

Small Business Administration chief: 'We're the popular kid'

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - The economy is showing signs of revival, but in the small business trenches, companies are still struggling. Sales are down, credit is tight, and the tally of laid-off workers keeps growing. Leading the federal government's effort to shore up Main Street businesses is Karen Mills, now four months into her job heading the Small Business Administration.

Getting attention at the highest levels in Washington isn't a problem, Mills said in a recent interview with CNNMoney: "The world has changed, and everyone has realized that it is small businesses that are going to drive the economy and the recovery," Mills said. "We're the popular kid at the dance."

But many small business owners feel slighted by the giant bailout packages showered on Wall Street companies and the auto giants. We asked Mills for her take on the government's small business recovery efforts so far, and the goals still left to achieve.

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Filed under: Economy
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. TCM

    Revival? What planet are you on? Unemployment's high, and still climbing....both the stimupork, CARS, and now the healthcare will will burden generations to come....Revival? This article is merely another ruse to try and win confidence for a failing Obama administration.

    August 4, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  2. Enlightened Voter

    Hey small business owners, betcha regret voting for bush huh?

    August 4, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  3. Karen

    Until CEOs realize that people need a LIVING wage to make an economy run...otherwise, there's no one to buy products or services. Minimum wage is not the answer to businesses problems. You can give businesses all the money you want to...unless people make decent wages, no one can purchase.

    August 4, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  4. Keith in Austin

    Small business is the backbone of our economy and employs the majority of Americans. This said, Obama and his socialistic agenda are taking dead aim on this important sector. His healthcare plan alone targets small businesses for an additional 6-12 percent in additional taxes not to mention other spending idiotic programs like, Cap and Trade, stimulus II, Mortgage relief. Anyone with have a brain realizes that this will lead directly to more unemployment, higher taxes for all, tranfered increases in cost on to consumers and continued economic decline! Wake up America! Vote the Pork Eating bums out of office next year and again in 2012 for good!

    August 4, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  5. Randolph Carter

    Imagine how well these small businesses would do if a public option took the burden of subsidizing employee health benefits off of their shoulders. Have a nice day!

    August 4, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  6. Darko

    The only sector improving in the ecnomy is the banks and lenders...gee, I wonder why???

    Cash for Clunkers proves the GOP right in that if you give the PEOPLE back their money, they'll kick start the ecnomy, rather than creating a bunch of temporary govt jobs. The only thing better would to give it back without the car buying stipulation. Not everyone needs a new car, but they do need to pay some other bills.

    WE know how to spend OUR money better than the gubment.

    August 4, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  7. Mike TX

    This woman is in left (literally) field. Everyone has always known that small businesses (like my Dad's) make the country go. And yet, Congress and the White House bend to big business all the time. The requirement for employers to buy health insurance or pay a penalty will certainly cause small business owners around the country to look hard at cutting that one employee they have to so they can afford these new health insurance requirements. Now does that make any sense?

    August 4, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  8. Kevin in Ohio

    "....everyone has realized that it is small businesses that are going to drive the economy and the recovery," NOT everyone...... the far left and the Obama-bots think big government is the only answer. They thnk small business owners are "the rich" and should be taxed to death.

    August 4, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  9. Zero.

    Why should my investments in Banks, should be loaned to Small-Business. Just so as they can walk to the front of the line-up, while I have to wait???

    August 4, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  10. D. Irvin

    I already have an SBA loan and believe me they are not helping at all. They will not help me at all except give me 6 months interest only. After that they apply the rest to my regular payments. Ridiculous. After all the payments for 8 years that I have paid on time. Never been late once, this is what they have offered me.

    Thanks for the help to all of our government officials who said it was coming I won't hold my breath.

    August 4, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  11. JGB

    Too bad our president has ZERO business knowledge or experience and cannot possibly understand how necessary private sector small businesses are to the economy and job creation. Obamas policies only hurt the economic recovery. It will be a long time coming before we will be hiring any laid off workers.

    August 4, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  12. chris

    Per the GOP, bottom up economics doesn't work. LET THESE SMALL BUSINESSES FAIL!! They should learn how to compete against people that make $.05/hr in China/India without insurance. Don't think so? Then you must be a "Socialist"

    August 4, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  13. still left to achieve

    jobs, its all about jobs at this point

    don't care about stock market, or realestate

    forecasts don't mean anything

    show us jobs

    August 4, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  14. Heidi Macumber

    Small business should be pleased that the government did not give them bailout money and then take command of their operations as has happened to Government Motors. Obama and his Marxists do not like people who believe in making profit, either in small businesses or large corporations.

    August 4, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  15. Obama only creates TAXES

    Small Business might as well shut your doors, The Obama Socialistic Republic of Non-America will take over your business and controll your life and money.

    Obama Socialistic Republic of Non-America will share YOUR wealth.

    August 4, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  16. Susan

    My husband and I have been trying to get our small business to really take off for the past 6 years. Since inception, we've have 50% growth in gross income year over year (excluding this year for obvious reasons), and last year we grossed over $50K. Yet, we both still have our full-time jobs. Why??? BECAUSE WE CAN'T AFFORD TO LOSE THE HEALTHCARE. We currently employ 3 people, one who has another job that provides healthcare, one who is covered under his parents, and one who was laid off from her job and has no healthcare. All three have expressed interest in working for us full time IF WE COULD PROVIDE HEALTHCARE!

    As small business owners I am telling you all right now that the one thing holding us back is the burden of the current healthcare system. We're expecting our first child any day now and of course cannot risk being without adequate healthcare. If the government were to provide and adequately manage healthcare we would be able to take advantage of the full potential of our business. However, as long as healthcare remains what it is that will remain nothing more than a dream. The current system is holding small business back – not helping!

    And for those of you who think medicare is a mess – I have yet to meet a single senior citizen who would agree with you, let alone would be willing to give up their coverage for principle's sake. Any seniors out there willing to give up their coverage and pay for private insurance instead – please speak up and prove me wrong.

    August 4, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  17. Ancient Texan

    The Obama administration has taken the attitude that Business and that includes the small businesses owned by mom and pop, are the enemy. They are to be taxed to pay for other programs, forced to furnish insurance benefits, join Unions and pay for the "green" programs. Government cannot realize where "JOBS" come from.

    August 4, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |