Mississippi Business leaders are taking their concerns to the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration as she tours the state. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.
"I have to tell you we mean business. We really want to deepen our relationship," said Contreras-Sweet.
Maria Contreras-Sweet, is the Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration. She's traveling throughout Mississippi by bus to meet with business leaders. Contreras-Sweet wants to know how they can better help entrepeneurs. It's part of SBA's effort to promote revitalizing city main streets.
"You know we're just saying how can we add more vitality to them? How can we get more energy to them? And so we just think that if more people knew about SBA we could be more helpful," said Contreras-Sweet.
The SBA helps people start a business with everything from creating a plan to financing and managing day to day operations. Contreras-Sweet is at IMS Engineering in Jackson, meeting with more than 60 business leaders. Ralph Hall with Community Bank in Brandon, suggested the SBA bring back the Go Loans, which offered up to $150,000 in credit. He says the option was available after Hurricane Katrina, but has since ended.
"It was a great, great loan program for Mississippi and Louisiana. We made a ton of them and had very, very good success with them," said Hall.
Also on the suggestion list, streamlining online application processes, which the SBA is in the midst of doing and more efforts to create black and Hispanic-owned businesses.
Contreras-Sweet also made stops in Clarksdale and Vicksburg.