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US small businesses call for modernizing SBA in new survey


A new Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices survey released Friday reveals that U.S. small business owners seek improved and modernized services from the federal government.

According to the survey results, which were released Friday ahead of President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, 70% of small business owners in the U.S. give the federal government a grade of “C or below” for effectiveness of its programs, services and tax credits available to small businesses. Eighty-five percent give the government the same grade for its efforts to communicate with small business owners about the essential resources and services available to them. 

Nearly all small businesses surveyed, 96%, believe the federal government should be doing more to tailor programs and services to better reflect the realities and needs of small businesses. More than 94% think Congress should modernize the U.S. Small Business Administration, including owner of Cedar Rapids-based Almost Famous Popcorn Sydney Rieckhoff.
“During the pandemic, small businesses like mine had to innovate and remain nimble to survive and thrive,” Rieckhoff, who is also a member of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices community, said in a news release. “Unfortunately, the historic challenges presented by the pandemic made clear that government programs designed to help small businesses have not evolved alongside them. Now, we are navigating our new normal with outdated tools and programs to fit yesterday’s needs.”

The survey also found that while small business owners are approaching 2023 with more confidence than in recent years, they still are feeling vulnerable in the face of a volatile economy, the release said.

Small business owners are finding inflation’s effects worsening for them, with 72% saying that inflationary pressures on their business have increased in recent months. Interest rate hikes are also taking a toll, with 61% reporting that the cost of borrowing has negatively affected their small business.

While hiring remains their top challenge, 51% of small businesses expect to create jobs in 2023, the survey found.

Other results from the survey include:

• 59% of small business owners are currently hiring and 82% of those hiring are finding it difficult to recruit qualified candidates for open positions.
• Only 9% have had to lay off workers in the past three months.
• 60% expect to increase profits in 2023.

“The results of our survey illuminate the very real economic challenges small business owners across the U.S. continue to face as they emerge from the pandemic crisis,” said Joe Wall, national director of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices.

In November 2022, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices launched a grassroots advocacy campaign to encourage lawmakers to reauthorize the SBA for the first time in 23 years. More than 3,000 small business owners from all 50 states signed a letter calling on members of Congress to work together on legislation reauthorizing the SBA.

This data is based on a survey of 1,838 Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses participants conducted by Babson College and David Binder Research on Jan. 23-26. The survey included small business owners from 48 U.S. states.

RELATED: Sydney Rieckhoff: ‘I’m not going to let my age hold me back’

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