NASE At Small Business Financing Forum [Guest Post]

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NASE At Small Business Financing Forum [Guest Post]

Nov 19, 2009
Posted by Kristie ArslanYesterday’s Small Business Financing Forum hosted by Treasury and the Small Business Administration could have been more aptly titled "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs". That is what is really on the mind of the Administration. As Treasury Secretary Geithner stated, “America's small businesses are critical engines of job growth and have historically led us out of recessions. But to play that role they need access to credit.” With small businesses continuing to struggle in the current economy, finding access to capital has become increasingly more critical to an entrepreneur’s survival and their ability to maintain and grow jobs.

Participating in the forum was NASE’s General Counsel, Mike Beene, taking up the cause of the self-employed. Here is what he had to say about his experience:

The President asked that 100 people come together to give him ideas on how to get financing flowing to small businesses. The Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, and Administrator Karen Mills of the Small Business Administration led the group, which included some inspirational entrepreneurs with great ideas.  These small business owners expressed their frustration with the difficulty of getting capital. Add to that several pro-business Senators and Representatives and the leaders of the lending world, large and small. I am pleased they thought that the NASE was important to the process.

The Treasury building sits on the same property as the White House. The event took place in the Cash Room, which until 1976 was open to the public for the purchase of treasury bonds, bills and other products. Secretary Geithner told me that the room is so detailed and beautiful because the government wanted buyers to feel confidence in the products they bought. Unfortunately, modern security precludes this arrangement and so we were left with a beautiful meeting room.

The most often cited reasons for our members to be denied financing is their credit score. I raised this to the group and received support from others that in this difficult economic time lenders need to look at a bigger picture. There seemed to be acceptance of this suggestion, especially when coupled with business counseling.

There was also a lot of discussion about the importance of community banks and credit unions. All of these things are being put into a report for the President by Administrator Mills. Some of these ideas can be implemented by regulators, while some would require action by Congress.

Two things excited me about the meeting: the hope across the political spectrum to get private money flowing, and that entrepreneurs are still innovating and running their businesses despite the roadblocks they face, an important message for all of us.

To watch the Small Business Financing Forum, visit the SBA Web site.
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