She vowed Tuesday in
"I wish that I had known about these tools as a state official. If I had known what I know now, I could have been much more effective," she said after taking part in the city's small-business week program at Burns & McDonnell's headquarters.
Many economists look to small businesses, particularly new businesses, as a key in creating jobs. Contreras-Sweet, confirmed by
She was born in
Her career has included stints with big business, as public affairs director and then an equity partner at Westinghouse's 7-
Technology and innovation figure prominently in her plans. She's pushing the agency to use social media more, to automate its loan programs and handle the work online, and make the agency "as nimble as the small businesses we serve."
A more inclusive SBA under Contreras-Sweet will reach out more to underserved pools of potential entrepreneurs among women, minorities, seniors and members of the military.
On Tuesday, Contreras-Sweet particularly praised the SBA's Operation Boots to Business program and pointed to CrossFit Thunderstorm, a
Boots to Business builds on the SBA's Veterans Business Opportunity Centers, which some in
That recommendation, one of many about the SBA's programs, came from the
"In their pilots they've done none of that. It's kind of created in a vacuum," said
Contreras-Sweet said she has talked with Graves by phone, and a meeting between the two is set. She says they share the same goals.
"We all want to make sure we're creating and spurring economic activity," she said. "It's better to engage, even if we don't agree. ... We'll get to the right place together."
With her background in private business, Contreras-Sweet said she can ensure the SBA is a good steward of the agency's core programs and the resources
On Monday the SBA announced a
It's a good first step, said
"Traditionally the SBA hasn't been an organization that we've thought of when talking to our own startups about funding. We're certainly hoping that's going to change," Fein said.
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