The Office of Advocacy and the Three B’s for Small Business

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Teri CoaxumSmall businesses are America’s backbone and the key building blocks for the economy and our society. Small businesses account for 99.7 percent of all businesses in America and employ about half of the private sector workforce, paying 42 percent of all payroll. In the past 20 years, small businesses have created 63 percent of all net new jobs. Small business owners hire from all sectors of society, offering opportunities to all Americans.

The Office of Advocacy, headed by Claudia Rodgers, Acting Chief Counsel for Advocacy, was created by Congress in 1976 to be the independent voice for small business within the federal government.  Our office’s two primary roles are to provide research and information about the role of small business in the American economy and to serve as the watchdog of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA). Under the RFA, we work with the federal rulemaking agencies in Washington, D.C., to consider the economic impact of proposed regulations on small businesses and to offer alternatives to improve proposed rules. In fiscal year 2014, Advocacy’s work with federal regulatory agencies resulted in forgone regulatory cost savings for small entities of more than $4.8 billion.

Advocacy has 10 regional advocates around the country. As your Region II Advocate, I am here to listen to and work with small businesses with a mission to serve as a voice for small business, ensuring your concerns with proposed federal regulations are heard and considered. For more than four years, I have covered Federal Region II, which is made up of New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In my role as Regional Advocate, I conduct workshops and roundtables, participate in council hearings, moderate and join in legislative caucuses, and attend small business listening tours. In addition, as your Regional Advocate, I am here to help you with three B’s: barriers, best practices, and big ideas.

Barriers:
As a small business owner, you face many obstacles, ranging from access to capital to burdensome regulations. It is my job to be the eyes and ears for the SBA Office of Advocacy in your region, to listen, to learn, and to report back to Washington, D.C., about your concerns. I want to hear your proactive solutions for fixing these problems.

Best Practices: By traveling across the region and speaking with different small business owners and entrepreneurs, I hear firsthand about the best practices for small business owners to succeed in America.

Big Ideas: We are a nation of innovators, and without opening up the conversation across the country, we would lose out on some of the best ideas from small business minds. When we go back to the White House, Congress, and federal agencies, we need your big ideas, so they can develop sound policy.

As I visit and talk to small businesses and business stakeholders, I am able to amplify your voice by bringing your concerns back to Washington, D.C., to help identify solutions to allow your business to thrive and grow.

(Teri Coaxum is Office of Advocacy’s regional advocate for New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. You can reach her at teri.coaxum@sba.gov.)