On January 7, 2020, the Senate confirmed U.S. Treasurer Jovita Carranza as the 26th Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA). During her testimony before the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Carranza listed a number of priorities she will bring to her role at SBA. Below are notable priorities that may impact small businesses and/or government contractors.
Provide Better Resources to Small Businesses in Disadvantaged Communities
Carranza mentioned that connecting small businesses from disadvantaged communities with SBA support services is the key to helping them win profitable government contracts. Some disadvantaged businesses she noted in particular were African-American or Latino-owned businesses, as well as veteran-owned companies.
She stated that her recent stint as U.S. Treasurer gave her experience in assisting disadvantaged communities. Most notably, she served as an advisor to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, helping with the implementation of the “opportunity zones” program created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to encourage investment in economically distressed communities.
Help Grow Women-Owned Small Businesses
Prior to becoming SBA’s Deputy Administrator in 2006, Ms. Carranza was the Vice President of Air Operations of UPS, making her the highest-ranked Latina in the company’s history. Among other things, she credits guidance and advocacy she received from others as the cause of her business success, and she believes that SBA should provide more professional support to women-owned small businesses to keep up with the rise in women entrepreneurship. SBA has invested more in women-owned businesses recently—lending over $1.5 billion to women-owned businesses through the 504 loan program in Fiscal Year 2019. Carranza noted during her testimony that, as SBA’s Deputy Administrator, she “worked to elevate women-owned businesses,” and she hopes to continue doing so as SBA’s Administrator.
Prioritize Disaster Relief
During Carranza’s tenure as SBA’s Deputy Administrator, the agency processed thousands of disaster recovery loans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. She noted during her confirmation hearing that, when small businesses are destroyed, it harms the economy and the government. With that in mind, she recommends structuring the disaster loan program to operate “at peak efficiency,” so small business government contractors can quickly recover after being affected by natural disasters. For Administrator Carranza, that means “ensuring inter-agency coordination and cooperation” to better distribute resources when disaster strikes.
Tony Franco, a Partner at PilieroMazza, is the Chair of the Firm’s Government Contracts Group.