U.S. Small Business Administration Company History Timeline


The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) was created by Congress in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government.


In 1954, the SBA was making direct business loans and guaranteeing bank loans to small businesses.


1973-4: Several business organizations, including the Smaller Business Association of New England (SBANE), pushed to strengthen the SBA’s advocacy role, leading to the adoption of Public Law 93-386, which established the Chief Counsel for Advocacy.


1976: The SBA Office of Advocacy was created to support the Chief Counsel in their efforts to advocate on behalf of small business interests in policy-making processes in other federal agencies.

In 1976, the Office of Advocacy was created to protect SBA programs and small businesses within the Federal Government.


John M. Goshko, “SBA Benefits to Minorities Aid Well-Off,” Washington Post, July 3, 1977


John M. Goshko, “SBA Probes Overdue Minority Loans,” Washington Post, November 10, 1978

The SBA began an investigation into the 8(a) program in 1978.


“SBA Failure to Improve Practices Seen,” American Banker, September 19, 1979

Jane Seaberry, “300 Firms Warned of SBA Crackdown, Washington Post, October 3, 1979

In 1979, after the SBA Inspector General found that one in five firms that received 8(a) contracts was a front, SBA Admin Weaver warned 300 firms with contracts to “straighten up” or be eliminated in 30 days.

1979: The SBA launched a streamlined program to sell SBA-guaranteed loans in the secondary market.

1979: The GAO reported that the SBA failed to fulfil its promises to strengthen the credit approval and servicing activities of its regular business loan program.


1980: SBA changed how to determine whether a business is “small” from considering several factors—how much money a company earns, how many people they employ, as well as the type of assistance requested—to just how many employees a company has.


Rob Wright, “Abdnor Steers the SBA Up the Comeback Trail, American Banker, August 20, 1987.


Michelle Singletary, “Hill Fight Puts Entrepreneurs on Hold,” Washington Post, May 21, 1993.

1993: Erskine Bowles, Bill Clinton’s first Small Business Administrator, proposed a 17% cut to SBA’s budget and encouraged making the agency more “efficient” by outsourcing loan activities.


Nancy Rivera Brooks, “Borrowing Trouble: Small-Firm Owners Still Awaiting SBA Quake Relief, Los Angeles Times, April 2, 1994.

James C. Allen, “Success may make SBA niche lender,” American Banker, November 15, 1994.

James C. Allen, “Group Musters Force to Fight SBA Cuts,” American Banker, December 13, 1994.

1994: The SBA had trouble getting disaster loans to businesses affected by the Northridge earthquake.


James C. Allen, “Amid Cuts, Do SBA Loans For Realty Still Make Sense?” American Banker, February 7, 1995.

Philip Lader, “Small Business Administration: New and Improved,” Washington Post, November 28, 1995.

1995: After the SBA faced budget cuts, lenders questioned whether the agency should stop guaranteeing loans.


2000: The GAO reported that “aggressive outsourcing” and “privatization” hampered the SBA’s ability to oversee its loan programs.

In 2000, despite threats, the SBA survived and received high budgets


Albert B. Crenshaw, “Business Advocates Criticize SBA Cuts,” Washington Post, May 7, 2001.

2001: The Bush Administration proposed to cut the SBA’s budget by 40%. The Administration’s goal was to cut the 7(a) loan program budget and instead have the program fund itself by imposing higher fees on borrowers seeking loans more than $150,000.

2001: The SBA issued $140 million in disaster loans to small businesses in Florida following the 9/11 attacks.


2005: The GAO reported that the SBA struggled to process disaster loans following Hurricane Katrina The report found that the SBA lacked a timetable for completing a disaster management program and failed to prepare effectively.


2009: The GAO reported that, under a program called HUBZone, 19 companies were improperly awarded federal contracts that were supposed to go to small businesses in underserved areas.

Social Security Administration, “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Helps Small Businesses,” SSA/IRS Reporter (Summer 2009).


Catherine Clifford, “An emergency small business boost that fizzled,” CNN Money, January 24, 2010.

Robb Mandelbaum, “Why Won’t the S.B.A Lend Directly to Small Businesses?” New York Times, March 10, 2010.

Catherine Clifford, “$5 billion more in loans to small businesses,” CNN Money, October 4, 2010.

In 2010, the SBA budgets were further strengthened by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010


Robergt O’Harrow Jr., “Small-business agency moves to combat fraud,” Washington Post, February 12, 2011.

Sally Kestin and John Maines, “Florida cashed in on 9/11 disaster loans,” Miami Herald, September 12, 2011.

2011: The SBA overhauled the rules of its 8(a) Business Development program, which helped minority owned small businesses get contracts with the government, in an attempt to reduce fraud.

In 2011, more than $90 billion worth of federal contracts went to small businesses.


Matthew Yglesias, “Department of Cabinet Shuffles; Obama’s smart, doomed plan to reorganize the government to help small business,” Slate Magazine, January 19, 2012.

Jose Pagliery, “Some businesses worry about Obama’s SBA move,” CNN Money, January 13, 2012.

2012: The SBA was criticized for its response to Hurricane Sandy, according to a GAO report.


Joyce M. Rosenberg, “Myriad concerns, needs confront SBA nominee,” Associated Press, January 23, 2014.

J.D. Harrison, “House committee criticizes SBA’s budget proposals,” Washington Post, March 31, 2014.

J.D. Harrison, “Disaster loan disaster: SBA much too slow to respond to Hurricane Sandy, probe finds,” Washington Post, October 27, 2014.

J.D. Harrison, “Small Business Administration adopting more of a ‘Silicon Valley’ mentality; Do traditional mom-and-pop shops still get their fair shake?” Washington Post, October 7, 2014.

2014: The SBA shifted more attention and resources toward supporting startups and “expansion-minded firms,” adopting a “silicon valley mentality.”


The SBA government contracting changes - learn how the 2015 changes to small business government contracting is affecting business owners and entrepreneurs.


Aaron Gregg, “Definition of small businesses expanded,” Washington Post, January 29, 2016.

Tal Kopan, “Donald Trump’s SBA nominee gave $7M to support him,” CNN, December 9, 2016.

2016: President Trump nominated Linda McMahon, former WWE executive, to be Small Business Administrator.


Abha Battarai, “SBA budget cuts target ‘redundant programs,” Washington Post, March 15, 2017.


2019: Washington Post uncovered that the SBA’s HUBZone program, a program that sought to award contracts to businesses in D.C.’s underserved neighborhoods, relied on outdated data leading contracts to be awarded to businesses in D.C’s richest neighborhoods.

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