WASHINGTON — The president of a Chandler investment company praised a government program that helps secure funds for small businesses, but told a House subcommittee Thursday that there is still room to improve the program.
It could start with something as simple as letting potential investors file documents electronically instead of requiring hard copies for the Small Business Administration’s Small Business Investment Company program, said Steven Brown, president of Trinity Capital Investment.
“One of the major problems for SBIC funds is the inability of the SBA to accept documents electronically,” Brown said, in testimony to the House Small Business Committee’s Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations.
The oversight hearing was called to look at the 55-year-old SBIC program and make sure that it is fulfilling its mandate.
“Since the SBIC program exists to ensure that small businesses don’t falter for lack of opportunity, we must be certain that the application process hasn’t become too burdensome and complicated for compliance,” said Rep. David Schweikert, R-Fountain Hills, in an opening statement. Schweikert is chairman of the subcommittee.
Brown testified that the program “provides the competitive source of capital for growing small businesses,” which helps create jobs. But he also said that the process of applying to qualify his company to invest in the program “took longer than we expected.”
The Small Business Investment Company program is a public-private partnership created by Congress in 1958 to boost the availability of private equity capital available to small businesses, according to documents from the subcommittee.
The program has invested more than $60 billion in over 109,000 domestic small businesses since it started. It uses funds from private firms, like Brown’s, that are licensed by SBA to invest capital backed by a federal guarantee.
But as it has grown in size, participating funds such as Brown’s have seen problems during the application process.
Brown, testifying on behalf of the Small Business Investor Alliance, called for “a meaningful review and improvement in both the technological tools and the policies” affecting the program, including greater use of digital tools. That could speed the process and head off delays or loss of paper copies of critical documents, he said.
SBA acting associate administrator Pravina Raghavan said progress has been made, but that tight budgets have made the task harder.
“We have been under sequestration and also continuing (budget) resolution, which has made it a bit difficult to invest in technology,” Raghavan said.
She said SBA is adopting a new system that will let annual financial reports be filed online.
Brown applauded those efforts, but also called for more transparency and efficiency in the licensing process. He said it currently takes too long, for example, from the time a company like his files a management assessment questionnaire to the time it is licensed by SBA.
The problems, however, did not affect Brown’s support of the program.
“I believe it is a very well-run program and we are proud to be a part of it,” he said during a break in the hearing.
He said he hopes his company, and the program, can help bring more capital to small businesses in Arizona.
“We hope we can help Arizona grow its economy as a result of being there and being licensed,” Brown said.
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food