The Small Business Administration has a new district director in Nevada who hopes to bring his success in the business and finance world to the bureaucracy that exists to serve small businesses in our state. Joe Amato made it clear when he accepted the appointed position in this cabinet level agency that he meant to shake things up and he would probably ruffle some feathers.
Ten weeks in to his new job, Amato has already met with the owners of 169 business and is now reaching out to communities across the state. But instead of ruffling feathers, he is bringing a sense of optimism to the small businesses he visits and renewed vigor to the industry that serves them.
Amato visited Mesquite two weeks ago with his Lender relations specialist, Tom Martin, for their first stop in what will be a grand tour over the next few months of every community throughout the state. Martin stops in Mesquite regularly on his rounds of the rural communities served by SBA.
As Amato travels the state he will get to know the vast and diverse community that is Nevada. That process began with the Mesquite visit when he met with Rachel Dahl, President/CEO of Mesquite Regional Business (MRB) and board member Courtney Sweetin. They toured the community and visited with several local businesses including LOADTEC and Primex Plastics as well as Washington Federal bank. Amato and Martin also met with Brenda Snell and Jeff Powell of the Mesquite Chamber of Commerce and Aaron Baker from the City of Mesquite. Throughout the day discussion centered around the role of SBA and how the community can use the agency to grow small business and strengthen the Mesquite economy.
To some extent, SBA flies under the radar in the world of federal agencies, especially in the west which is more familiar with the agencies that manage public lands and parks. But in Nevada if you drink coffee at a mom ‘n’ pop coffee shop, use a local advertising agency or staffing service, or work for a manufacturing firm, chances are that business has bloomed because of their connection to one of the many resource partners carrying the load under the SBA umbrella. From the Small Business Development Centers to SCORE – the Service Corps of Retired Executives, and the Women’s Business Centers to Veteran Business Outreach Centers, the SBA funds and facilitates an incredibly valuable resource for the country’s small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Besides offering support for lending and funding small business, SBA has numerous resources to support local entrepreneurs with planning, the launch, management, and growth of their company. Additionally, the SBA is focused on helping small business navigate the world of government contracting at both the federal and local levels. Many communities, through their chambers of commerce and economic development organization take advantage of the SBA to offer clinics and educational seminars that promote small businesses and connect entrepreneurs to all available resources.
During Amato’s visit he was intent on delivering the message that SBA is a resource and the community should take advantage of all the finance and training opportunities that can help grow the local business economy.
“This was a great trip out to Mesquite which gave me the opportunity to observe the mechanism of how Mesquite is working in terms of economic development and the small business environment,” said Amato. “I look forward to working with this community to bring new business opportunity and prosperity to Mesquite.”
As a result of the visit from Amato, the Chamber of Commerce, SBDC, and MRB will work with the SBA office in Las Vegas to hold a lending clinic this spring that will provide businesses the opportunity to meet with a wide array of funding providers from banks to non-traditional lenders.