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Improving Federal Services for Small Businesses

Posted on May 12, 2014

Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. This year, events will take place across the country to engage the small business community and highlight their importance as innovators and job creators who strengthen the nation’s economy.

We’ve done work on federal efforts to support entrepreneurs through programs the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Departments of Agriculture (USDA), Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development administer. We found fragmentation and overlap among these programs based on the type of support they are authorized to offer and the type of entrepreneur they are authorized to serve. We found that some entrepreneurs struggle to navigate the fragmented programs that provide technical assistance such as business training and counseling. They told us they don’t know what services are available or where to go for assistance.

Graph1Excerpted from GAO-12-819

We recommended, among other things, that the four agencies work together, particularly on opportunities to share resources across similar programs. The agencies and the administration have taken some steps to address this recommendation, such as by jointly developing BusinessUSA. This website is intended to centralize information to make it easier for small businesses to access government services.

It will be important for the four agencies to continue to seek additional opportunities to work together. You can keep tabs on the agencies’ progress in our Action Tracker. More information about our work on small business issues—including links to recent reports—can be found on our Key Issue page.

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