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SBA Head Karen Mills to Hold Live Chat Today

Posted by: John Tozzi on November 16, 2009

The Small Business Administration’s chief Karen Mills is scheduled to hold a live webcast today at 3:15pm ET at You can submit questions by email. The chat is in advance of a White House forum Wednesday on small business financing. You can also submit questions via Twitter to @BusinessDotGov.

Reader Comments

Carol Cross

November 16, 2009 12:59 PM

I would like to ask Karen Mills if the SBA should, again, be encouraging the banks and lenders to loan to unsustainable small businesses to encourage short term stimulation of the economy.

Has Karen Mills looked at the statistics of Professo Scott Shane, who suggests that the small business person, the entrepreneurial sector, may not be the answer to the problem of jobs in our economy? Professor Shane indicates that policy makers may be working with questionable statistics, doesn't he?

Does the SBA recognize the brutal odds of success of all small business startups and is this why they favor franchisees of franchisors -- because the franchisors have a better chance of beating the odds and becoming big business entities.

The 90% guarantees are certainly an incentive for banks and lenders to lower the demand for collateral but is this good long-term policy even if the 90% guarantees provide product for the secondary markets when sold as bonds to investors?

The SBA has been encouraging Veterans to become business owners with the pilot program "The Patriot Express Loan." However, the SBA has put no pressure on the FTC to fix the flaw in the FTC Rule governing franchising that misleads buyers of franchises because the risk/profitability/success/failure of the investment can be obscured from the view of the buyer under cover of regulation.

Chuck Blakeman

November 16, 2009 4:28 PM

I am disturbed and offended that the question attributed to me during today's broadcast by Karen Mills, head of the SBA, was nothing like the actual written question, and deceptively mis-characterized my question to provide an opportunity to cheer lead for politicians and the SBA.

Following is the email note just sent to the White House, which will be sent to the SBA directly after sending this. I expect a full apology for attaching my name to something that was not my question in any way.

White House staff:
I am requesting an apology. During Karen Mills' webinar today, a question was attributed to me that was nothing like the question I asked, but was changed to become a cheer leading question for the SBA and politicians.

My [written] question was:
"Obama increased the limits on 7(a) loans from $2 million to $5 million - how did that solve anything for the thousands of small businesses that can't qualify because the bank metrics are so artificially high?"

And the question that came out [verbally] was something to the effect: "Chuck Blakeman from Denver has a question - how did raising the limit on 7(a) loans affect small businesses?"

This very significant change allowed Ms. Mills to completely ignore the basis of my question - that the issue is qualifying for a loan, not higher limits. This allowed her to cheer lead for the raised limits which helped almost no one.

It is one thing to hold a forum and not directly answer any of the questions asked. It is quite another to completely change the meaning of someone's question to deceptively use them to create an opportunity to blow your own horn.

If we are going to have transparency and change we can believe in, it has to apply in this situation as well.

I would like an apology for this deceptive mis-characterization of my question.

Chuck Blakeman


November 17, 2009 9:55 PM

My advice to Chuck is change your companies name to anything with Goldman in it and see if they call you back.

We all know the truth for how thoughtful and genuine your question was. Lets be honest it was a hard ball and some aide wanted to help her raise a positive note vs what those of us in the trenches of survival and hoping to employ people know, the Small Business Admin is a waste of money, Obama did not provide ANY help to small business, yet Goldman execs a buying their new homes, cars with their bonuses.
"Change" came to Washington with lower house prices for Goldman execs on Martha's Vineyard.

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What's it like to run your own company today? Entrepreneurs face multiple hurdles new and old, from raising capital and managing employees to keeping up with technology and competing in a global marketplace. In this blog, the Small Business channel's John Tozzi and Nick Leiber discuss the news, trends, and ideas that matter to small business owners. Follow them on Twitter @newentrepreneur.

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