WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, received the "Champion of Small Business" award today from the Small Business Investor Alliance (SBIA). Sen. Landrieu received the award and spoke to SBIA members at its annual Washington, DC, fly-in. Among the SBIA members Sen. Landrieu met with during the event was Eric Berger of Gray Insurance Company in Metairie.
Sen. Landrieu spoke about a bill she continues to push called the Expanding Access to Capital for Entrepreneurial Leaders (EXCEL) Act. The bill would modify the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program to raise the amount of SBIC debt the Small Business Administration (SBA) can guarantee from $3 billion to $4 billion. It would also increase from $225 million to $350 million the amount of SBA guaranteed debt a team of SBIC fund managers who operate several funds can borrow.
"I am honored that the Small Business Investor Alliance gave me this award today," Sen. Landrieu said. "When I talk to small business owners in Louisiana and across the country, one of the things I hear most is that access to capital is still a significant challenge. One common-sense way to help small businesses is to strengthen the already-successful SBIC program, which has helped companies like Apple, Fed Ex, Callaway Golf, and Outback Steakhouse become household names. That is why I introduced the Excel Act, and I urge my colleagues in Congress to move forward on passing it as quickly as possible."
Additional modifications made to the SBIC program by the EXCEL Act include:
Indexing the program caps to increase with inflation in order to ensure adequate program growth.
Requiring the SBA to disclose effectiveness of individual SBICs to improve program transparency and accountability.
Giving SBA the tools to increase outreach to help small businesses.
SBICs are privately owned and operated funds that make long-term investments in American small businesses.
SBICs are licensed and regulated by the SBA.
SBICs use their own private money, plus money borrowed with an SBA guarantee.
In the SBIC's core debenture program, SBICs borrow $2 of SBA guaranteed funds for every $1 of private capital
Since 1958, SBICs have invested $56 billion to more than 100,000 small businesses.