Vercie Lark has big plans for small businesses in Region 7 | Economic news

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President Joe Biden named Vercie Lark as the new Small Business Administration Region 7 Administrator in February and he leads SBA programs and services in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska.

“My primary goal for the SBA in the Great Plains Region 7 states is to increase access to capital for micro and small business owners in inner cities, rural communities, small towns and farmers. “, said Lark. The American of St. Louis.

“There are specific programs and program modifications that the SBA has made to support this goal”

The SBA has micro-loans available up to $50,000, and SBA Community Advantage loans were recently increased from $250,000 to $350,000 to provide more capital to eligible small business owners, according to Lark.

Additionally, federal contracting targets for federal agencies have been increased to 15% by 2026 for small businesses/disadvantaged businesses, “which will add billions of dollars in future revenue growth opportunities for landlords. businesses that decide to be suppliers of goods and services to the federal government,” Lark said.

“I want to build on the new relationships we’ve established during the pandemic and use them to help shape and fund the dreams of many other aspiring and existing smallholders in communities across our region.”

Lark recently retired from DST Systems of Kansas City where he served as Executive Vice President and Head of Financial Services in the United States. He ran a billion dollar business that served the finance, banking, brokerage and retirement investment industries.

The SBA celebrated Women’s History Month last month, and Lark said the SBA has increased the number of Women’s Business Centers to more than 150 across the country to provide greater access to training, mentoring and advice to the fastest growing small business segment.

The SBA also launched “one of the most significant achievements of 2021, the landmark $100 million Community Browser Pilot Program.”

“This Biden-Harris Administration initiative leverages a hub-and-spoke hyperlocal approach to extend the reach of timely, accessible, and culturally relevant resources to small businesses. The two-year pilot program is designed to put more skilled SBA resources on the ground in hundreds of new locations to better serve small business owners in small towns, rural and underserved communities.

The Jefferson County Community Action Corporation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to serve those in need and raise awareness of the challenges of living in poverty, has been named a HUB organization in the state of Missouri.

“Owners don’t need to spend a lot of money on training when there’s free, high-quality training, advice and mentoring already available through the SBA’s Small Business Network,” Lark said. .

“The SBA continues to provide free, low-cost business training and technical assistance through SCORE, Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), Women’s Business Centers (WBCs), and our Regional Business Center for veterans in Saint-Louis, which serves the entire region.

“Nationally, they have provided assistance that has enabled small businesses to access more than $44.8 billion in capital injection, start more than 26,000 new businesses, and create and retain more 2,100,000 jobs in the last fiscal year.

Lark said he has heard of business owners and entrepreneurs who have benefited from the Restaurant Revitalization Fundthe Paycheck Protection Program, COVID Economic Disaster Loansand Subsidies to operators of closed sites.

“A lot of them credit these programs with saving their business. There’s more to it,” Lark said.

“There will be more opportunities for small businesses on the horizon thanks to President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and Made in America priorities. The SBA and our local partners will continue to work to ensure our smaller businesses benefit

“I would be remiss if I did not express my thanks and gratitude to the members of the SBA who gave so much of their lives to save and recover thousands of businesses and millions of livelihoods for our fellow Americans during the pandemic. .”

The SBA has been “transformative for small businesses during the pandemic, providing more than $450 billion in critical stimulus funding to more than 6 million entrepreneurs,” he said.

“The SBA workforce remains committed to ensuring that every small business opportunity is available to small businesses, because that is key to maintaining the resilience of America’s small businesses in 2022.”

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