Karen Mills, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, announced her resignation to SBA staff members in a recent e-mail. Mills has served as SBA Administrator since April 2009. She plans to remain at her post until a replacement has been selected and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Afterwards, she will return to her home in Maine.
In response to the news, President Obama stated “Over the last four years, Karen has made it easier for small businesses to interact with the federal government by reducing paperwork and cutting through red tape.” Obama made the SBA Administrator a cabinet-level position last year, and relied on Mills to help pass the 2010 Small Business Jobs Act.
The SBA primarily works to secure federal-sponsored loans for small businesses. During Mills’ time as Administrator, the SBA was involved in loans to over 193,000 businesses. The total value of those loans was more than $106 billion. The SBA under Mills was faced with the challenge of helping small businesses get funding during the recession, when banks were extremely reluctant to lend.
In addition to lending, the SBA is responsible for helping small businesses secure federal contracts. In the e-mail she sent to her staff, Mills noted that businesses have secured $286.3 billion in federal contracts over the last three years. The federal government’s goal is to give 23 percent of its contracts to small businesses. That goal has not been met since 2005, but the dollar total during the last three years was a $32 billion increase over the three years prior.
Before becoming SBA Administrator, Karen Mills was president of the investment firm MMP Group, and served on the boards of Arrow Electronics and Scotts Miracle-Gro.
Pagliery, Jose. “Small Business Administration Chief Karen Mills Resigns.” CNNMoney, 2/11/13.