SBA administrator in St. Louis for National Small Business Week, touts Missouri’s thriving entrepreneurship scene

More than 500,000 small businesses employ almost half of Missouri’s private workforce.
Published: May. 2, 2023 at 4:36 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- More than 500,000 small businesses employ almost half of Missouri’s private workforce. That has the attention of the Small Business Administration, calling the Show-Me state’s entrepreneurship scene “thriving.”

SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman is spending part of National Small Business Week in St. Louis to celebrate that success.

Guzman is the voice in President Joe Biden’s Cabinet for the 33 million small businesses in the U.S.

She told News 4 that Missouri has submitted 160,000 new business applications since 2020, a year that signaled the heat of the pandemic and the start of Biden’s time in the White House.

“We need to continue to lean in to educate our workforce and develop talent,” Guzman explained. “Our small businesses often give our Americans their first job. They are on the front lines, training our workforce.”

Guzman visited St. Louis on Tuesday for a discussion with community leaders and small business owners before the commencement of a National Small Business Week awards ceremony at Norwood Hills Country Club.

Guzman said ARPA dollars were a major catalyst for small businesses during the pandemic.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the COVID-19 small business boom saw a rise in small business applications of 20% from 2019 to 2020.

Guzman said President Biden’s Administration is focused on growing the workforce in Missouri and nationwide.

Another focus is equity, to make sure businesses can get needed dollars to invest back into their communities.

“Those rates of entrepreneurship have been high with women and people of color,” Guzman shared. “As we saw during the pandemic, some historic barriers to access capital. and you need money to grow your business.”

Guzman said the best advice for an entrepreneur is to have a local advisor. She said the SBA provides those guiding experts for free. If you are interested in starting your own business, you can click here to find the full list of offerings the SBA provides to entrepreneurs.