SBA Looks at Its Year in Review

It's the end of the year and that means its time for annual assessments of what's been accomplished.

While the Small Business Administration didn't reveal any major soul searching in its year-end self-examination (pdf), it didn't pull any punches by starting off:

"Following the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes, the U.S. Small Business Administration, like government at every level, was overwhelmed and strained to provide disaster recovery loans to survivors. In addition, its core program areas - government contracting and business loans - were criticized as bureaucratic, complicated and non-transparent. And agency reorganization and downsizing had created stress and frustration among many SBA employees as workers felt under-trained, over-taxed, and unclear on agency direction."

The agency lauded itself for making progress, saying internal and external operations are more effective and efficient.

The SBA breaks down its accomplishments month by month.

For example, in January, it released the Small Business Primer: Strategies for Success, a free, online training course developed for new entrepreneurs. It has more than 6,800 participants monthly, becoming the agency's most popular course.

In June, the agency submitted a disaster recovery plan to Congress. Additionally, the SBA offered the Patriot Express Loan Initiative for veterans, reservists, National Guard members and their families to start or expand a business. (Read my June story about it here.)

In September, SBA rolled out the Rural Lender Advantage, a new loan service that encourages community and credit unions to finance small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Small Business Readers - What do you see as the SBA's biggest accomplishments or failures of the year? Please post below or e-mail me at smallbusiness@washingtonpost.com.

By Sharon McLoone |  December 27, 2007; 8:00 AM ET Policymakers
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