Industries Small Business

SBA leader visits Richmond and says small businesses are coming back

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Print this page By Zak Kozuchowski

Just a short time ago, small business owners were bombarding the U.S. Small Business Administration for loans so their companies could survive the rough economic times.

Today, though, SBA administrator Karen Mills says many of these businesses are looking to grow.

“Now small businesses are coming to us and saying that they want to hire that next employee, they want to take on that next order or buy that next piece of equipment,” Mills said.  “What we’re seeing is that small businesses are reviving.”

Mills was in the Richmond area Thursday to meet with Shawn Boyer, founder and CEO of, to highlight his company as a small business that has continued to innovate and thrive.  It was the second time the company found itself in the national SBA spotlight. In 2008, the SBA selected Boyer as the National Small Business Owner of the year.

Boyer founded the company in 2000 with two employees. By last year, the staff had grown 130 employees,, and Boyer expects to soon have as many as 300.

Earlier this month the online job-search company, which serves employers and hourly workers, snagged a $27 million investment led by a California-based venture capital firm that is helping to finance its expansion.

“This is a company that is growing,” Mills said. “It is creating jobs itself, and it is also helping other small businesses grow their companies and get other people employed as well.” Mills said that the story of is a story that is being repeated all over America.

“Entrepreneurs are finding new ways to solve old problems,” she said. “(For Shawn) the new technology was the internet. The old problem was how to connect employees with the right companies.”

Mills said that the SBA is focused on President Barack Obama’s goal of supporting small businesses and helping them innovate. It provides small businesses across the country with access to capital, as well as to counsel. It was the access to counsel that caused Boyer to reach out to the SBA.

“To me, we live in absolutely the best country in the world in order to start a company and to grow that company,” Boyer said. “To have the different resources and infrastructure in place is just phenomenal.”

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