'American Greatness’ Demonstrated Daily by Small Business

Pacific Northwest Region - Feb. 8, 2019

u s small business administration

‘American Greatness’ is Demonstrated Daily by Local Small Business Owners

SBA Regional Administrator Jeremy Field

By Jeremy Field
SBA Regional Administrator, Pacific Northwest

During this week’s State of the Union address, President Trump spoke repeatedly on the theme of “American Greatness.” In my role as regional administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), this is something I have the opportunity to see every day in our region's small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Much of the economic strength the President touted during his address is the result of local small business owners creating opportunities and a valuable quality of life for people in our local communities. A few economic accomplishments worth celebrating:

  • As of January 2019, we’ve had a record 100 consecutive months of job growth. This is more than double previous records with 5.3 million new jobs created during this Administration.

  • In addition to more jobs, we’ve also seen wages grow. Wages are currently at an 11-year high with six consecutive months of wage growth at or above 3 percent.

  • We’re also experiencing historically low unemployment. For 11 straight months, unemployment has been at or below 4 percent nationwide, similar to what we’ve seen here in the Pacific Northwest.

  • Manufacturing is making a comeback, which is good news for our region since more than 33,000 small firms in the Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska) are manufacturers. During the past two years, half a million new manufacturing jobs have been created nationwide.

This optimism – which has reached the highest level in history for small businesses – has inspired new entrepreneurs as well. So how do we protect America’s job creators and empower them to do what they do best?

One aspect the President touched upon was trade, and this is an area I find crucial for protecting our local small businesses.

Eighty-three percent of firms in the Pacific Northwest that export are small businesses. In fact, 95 percent of small businesses’ potential customers live outside of the U.S. From urban manufacturers to rural producers, a fair global economy is essential to small business success.

The SBA recognizes the value of trade to small businesses and has several programs to help small businesses compete in a global market.

For example, many people are aware of the SBA Loan Guarantee Program. However, many people don’t know the SBA has specific export loan programs that provide a guarantee up to 90 percent to businesses that export.

The SBA also awarded local states in our region more than $2 million through the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) so their departments of commerce can provide export vouchers to help small businesses cover the costs of international trade shows, website translation, shipping product samples overseas and other costs that can prohibit a small business from entering a foreign market.

Additionally, our partners at the Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) provide free, one-on-one business advising and market research to small firms interested in expanding their business through exporting.

As the Trump Administration works to negotiate fair trade deals for American small businesses and workers, the SBA continues to support small businesses entering the global economy and growing their business through exporting.

When the President challenged Congress and the American people to “choose greatness,” I think we can all agree entrepreneurs and small business owners already have. Let’s choose to support our local innovators and job creators so they can continue to demonstrate what American greatness looks like.

Jeremy Field is the Regional Administrator for the
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Pacific Northwest Region. The SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small businesses with resources to start, grow, expand or recover.