“Politicians are fond of saying that small business is the backbone of our economy,” Knapp said. “Well, that backbone is deteriorating.”
Sun Port Charlotte
May 14, 2021
Advocate campaigns to reform the SBA
Small biz startups at 40-yr low
By NANCY J. SEMON, Staff Writer
If Frank Knapp, Jr. has his way, the Biden administration will budget more money for small businesses and give out more loans to entrepreneurs in underserved communities.
“The SBA (Small Business Administration) is broken,” Knapp said when he visited the area as part of his nine-city, one-man tour, bringing his message to the attention of the public and media.
“We’re at a 40-year low in new business startups,” he said. “Economists tell us that all net-new jobs in the nation are created by businesses less than five years old and that they have four or fewer employees.”
Meanwhile, he cited the SBA Office of Advocacy which found the number of commercial banks declined from 14,400 to 4,600 since 1980, representing a 68% drop due to consolidations and failures.
He also cited Intuit and LendEDU’s finding as well, which showed the average small business startup only needs $10,000 and micro businesses only need an average of $3,000 in small business startup financing.
Calling himself a “problem-solver and advocate,” Knapp cited his background in running a business. He is the president and CEO of the South Carolina Business Chamber of Commerce; has owned and operated a public relations and advertising business; worked in sales, and he was a lobbyist and executive director of a nonprofit.
What Knapp wants is for others to band together with him in calling on the Biden administration to give the President’s new head of the SBA — Isabella Guzman — more power in disbursing loans and controlling where the loans go.
Under the present system, SBA-backed loans will give the lender 85% of the loan back, should the borrower default. But many banks are unwilling to give out what they consider high-risk loans in the first place, Knapp said.
He would like to see Guzman be appointed “the small business czar,” allowing the agency to make it easier for small businesses to obtain loans.
So far, Knapp has the support of the American Independent Business Alliance; U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce; American Sustainable Business Council; Gullah Geechee Chamber of Commerce; North Carolina Business Council; South Carolina Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Latino Communications Community Development Corp, plus more.
He said his campaign’s supporters will lobby Congress to do the following:
Establish a direct federal small-business loan program (loans under $20,000) within the SBA, for entrepreneurs and micro businesses plus give those businesses training for the skills to survive. In brief, he wants more startups to have access to loans they currently do not, or the application process for some, is too lengthy and complicated.
Provide more federal funding for Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) loan fund organizations.
Create a federal paid family and medical leave program for small businesses as well.
Increase resources for the SBA Office of the National Ombudsman.