Congressman Mark Alford Introduces SBA Rural Performance Report ActCongressman Mark Alford

As first reported by The Missouri Times, earlier today, Congressman Alford (MO-04) introduced the Small Business Administration (SBA) Rural Performance Report Act. This legislation will require two reports from the SBA to ensure we understand how they are elevating rural small businesses.

The first is a report on the Office of Rural Affairs (ORA) within the SBA and will include:

  • The name of the Director of the ORA and the number of staff assigned to the Office.
  •  How the ORA is promoting financial assistance available from the SBA for small businesses in rural areas.
  • Statistics compiled by the ORA from rural areas on population, poverty, job creation and retention, unemployment, business failures, and business startups.
  • How the ORA is providing information to industries, organizations, and governments on resources available to rural small businesses from the SBA and other Federal agencies.
  • How the ORA is providing information to industries, organizations, educational institutions, and governments about programs that improve economic opportunities for rural citizens.
  •  How the ORA is working with the National Travel and Tourism Office within the Commerce Department to assist rural small businesses with tourism promotion and development.

The second is a report on the Memorandum of Understand (MOU) entered into by the SBA and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and will include:

  • How many working groups convened by the MOU the SBA was part of and if the SBA is still part of any of the working groups.
  • How many staff employed by the SBA were and are still involved with the working groups.
  • The findings of capital access and investment in rural America, as outlined in the MOU.
  • The findings of assisting business in rural America, as outlined in the MOU.

The legislation is co-sponsored by the following Representatives (3):

  • Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03)
  • Jake Ellzey (TX-06)
  • Aaron Bean (FL-04)

Congressman Alford issued the following statement: 

“Small business owners face many challenges, and that is especially true in rural areas. I was proud to have Jennifer Cassaday from our district come testify last month at our Small Business Committee hearing on rural entrepreneurship. She shared with us the challenges she and other rural small business owners face. 

“When I asked the witnesses if they knew about the SBA’s Office of Rural Affairs, they all told me they never heard of it. What the Office is doing to elevate our rural small businesses is unclear. Additionally, agriculture often goes hand-in-hand with rural small businesses, so it is important to see what came of the collaboration between the SBA and USDA. This bill will shed light on the Office and MOU so we can better serve our rural small businesses.”

Congressman Luetkemeyer added:

“Rural communities depend on the success of their small businesses. In small towns, when one business struggles the entire town feels the effect. The SBA exists to ensure the government does not create those struggles. I’m proud to join Congressman Alford in this effort to assess and update federal programs that can and should better support rural small businesses.”

Media inquiries for Rep. Alford should be directed to Austin Higginbotham at [email protected].

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