SBA administrator Marie Johns holds business roundtable at SU

Southern University’s College of Business hosted the Small Business Association Roundtable, June 19 with guest speaker Marie C. Johns, Deputy Administrator of the SBA.

Johns discussed the focus of President Barack Obama’s small business loan initiatives and addressed questions from local small business owners.

As Deputy Administrator, Johns is responsible for the management of the agency and development of SBA programs and policies. Under her leadership, SBA had a record year in 2011 supporting more than $30 billion in lending to more than 60,000 small businesses across the country.

“We are focused on supporting small businesses in underserved communities of minorities and women,” said Johns. “Obama plans to increase the effort of international trade with small businesses as well, hoping the export will double in 2014,” added Johns.

Johns has worked to increase the Small Business Investment Company plan, encouraging bigger banks to give smaller dollar loans to entrepreneurs in underserved communities.

 “We are seeing good results after retooling the plan. Since June 1, there have been 150 small loans given by banks across the country,” said Johns.

Johns encourages small business owners to form partnerships to improve their capital.

SU alumnus, Keith Tillage of Tillage Construction, L.L.C., SU Agricultural Center and the SU foundation have collaborated to rehabilitate the old post office and bookstore located on the campus at the intersection of E.C. Harrison and Harding Boulevard. The two buildings will be linked to form a small business development center for the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at Southern.

One side will operate as a training facility and the other will house spaces for 12 entrepreneurs, working together to assist students.

SBA has provided some funding to support the project.

“The small business development center gives students at Southern a chance to keep alive the small businesses here in Louisiana, but also while in school, start their businesses now by having connections to federal and state resources,” said Johns.

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