Watchdog: Follow the Money

SBA launches new million-dollar initiative, despite Congress' disapproval

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Congress says no, but the Small Business Administration says yes.

Despite pushback from numerous lawmakers on the House Small Business Committee, the new head of the SBA, Maria Contreras-Sweet, insists a new $2.5 million agency program will launch, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Under the new program, the agency will competitively award 50 grants each worth $50,000 to early-stage technology businesses.

"We want to export the Silicon Valley model across the nation," Contreras-Sweet said in San Francisco, where she announced the new program during a kickoff event for National Small Business Week.

Lawmakers think the agency should "stick to its core programs and stop funding new initiatives," the Washington Post reported.

Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., pointed out that more than 100 types of these technology businesses, often dubbed "accelerators" or "incubators," already exist across the nation, backed by a combined $5 billion in investor commitments — or simply, without federal assistance.

SBA said it will require the recipients to report updates every three months, including the number of new jobs created, money raised, start-ups launched and corporate sponsorships received.

Read the full article here.

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