Senator Landrieu is the Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship and is working to promote economic growth by giving American small businesses the tools they need for success.
Louisiana's unique small businesses include antique shops in the New Orleans historic French Quarter and meat pie stands in Natchitoches. The state's nearly 400,000 small businesses make up close to 98 percent of the state's businesses. They employ more than half of the workforce and have generated close to a half trillion dollars since 2001. Senator Landrieu is continuing the fight for the prosperity of small businesses in Louisiana and across the nation.
History in the Making
Sen. Landrieu and Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, made history in 2009 as the first two female lawmakers to lead a full committee in either the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives. Together they are fighting to advance an aggressive policy agenda for the nation's small businesses. Women make up 40 percent of all small business owners. In 2008, women owned more than 10 million firms and employed more than 13 million Americans, pumping nearly $2 trillion into our economy.
2009 Economic Development Award Winner
The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) awarding Sen. Landrieu the 2009 Federal Leadership in Economic Development Award for her efforts to promote successful entrepreneurship. Sen. Landrieu was given the award for her work in:
* Securing $25 million in funding for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans for Katrina/Rita and millions of dollars in Economic Development Administration grants for Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike.
* Leading a bipartisan coalition to enact SBA disaster reforms as part of the Farm Bill.
* Obtaining funding for the Northeast Louisiana Business and Community Development Center.
* Acquiring $400,000 for the Louisiana Immersive Technology Enterprise program at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, which develops technology used for military training.
Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Sen. Landrieu heard from countless Louisiana businesses that were frustrated by the federal government's response to the storms. She led a three-year bipartisan effort to enact significant disaster assistance reforms to the Small Business Administration (SBA). Sen. Landrieu successfully included provisions in the 2008 Farm Bill that directed the SBA to be more responsive and transparent. These reforms increased SBA disaster loan limits, gave the agency new response tools and reduced the red tape that plagued the agency following Katrina and Rita. Sen. Landrieu remains focused on disaster preparedness and assuring the SBA is more accountable and prepared for future disasters.
Small Business and the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act
Sen. Landrieu helped to secure several small business provisions in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act that pump some $16 billion in loans and venture capital into small businesses in our communities, creating or saving hundreds of thousands of jobs. These provisions include:
* Reducing fees on SBA loans while increasing the SBA loan guarantee on 7(a) loans to 90 percent. This will make it easier for borrowers to afford new loans and provide a higher level of protection for risk-weary lenders.
* Loosening the secondary market for SBA loans.
* Making it possible for small businesses to compete for Federal contracts and providing additional help to businesses with 10 or fewer employees.
* Providing oversight to assure the funds are used as intended.
As the United States continues to recover from an economic recession, Sen. Landrieu is working to help unclog the frozen credit market so entrepreneurs will have the money they need to stock their shelves, pay their employees and keep their doors open.
Enhancing Small Business Trade
Sen. Landrieu is also working to ensure small businesses have equal access to trade opportunities. Shortly after becoming Chair, Sen. Landrieu asked U.S. Trade Representative Ronald Kirk to add an Assistant U.S. Trade Representative to focus exclusively on small business trade. Foreign markets are an untapped resource for most small businesses. Less than one percent of the nation's 26 million small businesses are exporters, drastically lower than other developed nations. If the percentage of small business exporters were to increase even by one percent, it would significantly reduce the trade deficit and eventually eliminate it completely. With 31 ports Louisiana -- 5 of which are deepwater -- international trade and exports are key to the economic vitality of the state.
To read more about Sen. Landrieu's work as Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, please visit the Committee's website at: http://sbc.senate.gov/.