New Year, new business

This is the season of New Year’s Resolutions. Whether it’s deciding to join a gym or cut back on sweets, chances are you’re making some resolutions for 2014.

This year, though, think outside the box. As the Region V administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration, I encourage you to ask yourself: do you have a great idea for a product or service? Have you always wanted to start a business?

Small businesses create two out of every three net new private sector jobs, and half of working Americans either own or work for a small business.

Wouldn’t it be great if you were one of them?

2014 is a great time to start.

As you come up with a plan, you’re not alone. You might not be sure how to begin or take your business to the next level. That’s where the SBA comes in. We provide so many resources to help you, and you can start by going to to learn about everything we have to offer.

On our website you’ll learn about our core programs, or what we like to call our 3 Cs.

The first C is counseling. We know that business counseling helps small businesses succeed, which is why SBA has a strong counseling and training network to help small business owners and entrepreneurs gain access to these resources. I encourage you as you think about starting or growing your business to drop by one of our 68 SBA district offices, 63 Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) with over 900 outreach locations, more than 100 Women’s Business Centers, and 12,000 SCORE volunteers in over 800 locations. Wisconsin has 21 SCORE chapter locations, 12 SBDC locations, and 7 Women’s Business Center locations which counseled and trained thousands of small business owners and entrepreneurs like you last year.

The second C is contracting. At SBA, we connect small businesses with the federal government’s supply chain. This program provides small businesses roughly $90 billion a year in federal contracting opportunities. Your small business could be one of them.

The third C is capital. At SBA we want to make sure that every entrepreneur or small business owner who wants to start or grow their business can achieve their dreams. Since President Obama took office, SBA has supported more than $126 billion in lending to more than 260,000 small businesses and entrepreneurs, including $5.2 billion in lending to small businesses across Region 5 just this past fiscal year. In Wisconsin, 1,656 businesses, including 501 startups, accessed $657.4 million in loans in the last fiscal year. And for the current fiscal year, we have set fees on SBA-supported loans for $150,000 and under to zero. This makes loans cheaper for the borrower — another way SBA is helping to serve small business owners as they look for ways to access capital.

That’s just some of what SBA has to offer our nation’s entrepreneurs.

The American tradition of entrepreneurship has helped grow our country for the long term, creating jobs and strengthening the economy. Let’s keep that tradition going.

This new year is a great time to start a new business — and SBA is here to help.

Contact the SBA and work on your resolutions today! Your Wisconsin District Office can help you get started at, or 414-297-3941 in Milwaukee or 608-441-5261 in Madison.

Marianne Markowitz is the regional administrator at the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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