Feds plan support for small business in region

Saturday, November 6, 2004

The U.S. Small Business Administration is getting larger in Missouri, and part of its expansion includes a new office in Cape Girardeau.

The plans were announced Friday by Sam Jones, regional administrator for the Small Business Administration in Region VII. He spoke at the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce's First Friday Coffee.

The U.S. Small Business Administration was created to aid, assist, counsel and protect the interests of small businesses and help them recover from national disasters. It primarily does this by guaranteeing loans through local banks to nurture entrepreneurship. Although those loans for Southeast Missouri would still be processed at the regional field office in St. Louis, Jones said that an office in Cape Girardeau would provide an outlet to liquidate and market those loans and facilitate the auctioning off of local property.

"We're moving away from making those back-room activities, and centralizing them with a full-time local presence," Jones said. The Cape Girardeau office would be the regional hub for all such activity in Southeast Missouri.

Jones said that similar offices will open in Hannibal and either Jefferson City or Columbia to serve those areas of the state and complement the major Missouri SBA field offices in St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield. Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska comprise Jones' Region VII.

Jones said that the satellite offices will be staffed full-time by volunteers from the area. He said the actual time of establishment for the office will not be set until a location in the city is found.

Jones also said that the SBA is shifting its forces to further bolster minority-owned businesses. He explained that this means reaching out to minority owners with business counseling, more government contracting opportunities for minority-owned businesses and bringing business training to them. He also expressed the organization's desire to reach out to faith-based and community-based groups to help guide prospective entrepreneurs to SBA aid.

trehagen@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 137

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