Obama Taps Venture Capitalist to Head SBA

President-elect Obama this afternoon nominated venture capital expert Karen Gordon Mills to head the Small Business Administration.

"We must strengthen the small businesses that are the backbone" of the American economy, Obama said at a Chicago press conference. "With Karen Mills as administrator, America's small businesses will have a partner in Washington" who will help them create jobs and understand the challenges they face.

Mills is president of MMP Group, a private equity investor and adviser. From 1999 to 2007 she was founding partner and managing director of Solera Capital, a New York-based venture capital firm. She has been part of the president-elect's SBA transition team .

At the event, Mills called small businesses "the heart" of the American economy and said its businesses on Main Street or perhaps a "green energy startup" are what help the nation create jobs and remain competitive. She also praised the American tradition of immigrants contributing to the economy by starting small firms in their new home.

Members of the small business community generally were pleased with the nomination.

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By Sharon McLoone |  December 19, 2008; 3:09 PM ET
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