WASHINGTON, DC — Forty-one Rhode Island small businesses attended Goldman Sachs’10,000 Small Businesses Summit July 19-20, including Katie Schibler Conn, founder of KSA Marketing in Warwick.
She and her fellow Rhode Islanders were among more than 2,500 small businesses gathered at the summit at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center to share solutions to accelerate growth and create jobs to continue powering the U.S. economic recovery from pandemic and inflation stresses.
Small business owners met with lawmakers to advocate for policies and legislation affecting their access to capital, workforce and competitiveness, childcare and government contracting. The group also called on Congress to reauthorize the Small Business Administration to meet the needs of today’s small businesses, something it hasn’t done in more than 20 years.
The opportunity to visit DC with over 2,500 other business owners and speak with Sen. Jack Reed and other federal officials about the needs of small businesses was, “energizing,” Schibler Conn said.
Schibler Conn founded KSA (which she does not deny may unofficially stand for Kick Some Ass) Marketing, in 2011 at her dining room table. And yes, she said, the firm has kicked some ass. Now the firm boasts 20 employees and a 4,800 sq. ft. office at Unit 4, 100 Metro Center Blvd. in Warwick.
Schibler Conn attended the 2019 Goldman Sachs Sachs’10,000 Small Businesses program at CCRI, which provides no-cost business education, support services and pathways to capital for growth-oriented entrepreneurs. The program launched more than a decade ago to provide business education along with access to capital and support services. It’s reached more than 12,800 small business owners across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. to date.
Schibler Conn credits the lessons learned there with her firm’s ability to weather the pandemic.
When the pandemic’s economic effects began, Schibler Conn had a growth plan mapped out and had begun to implement it. But the pandemic presented challenges that required the solid understanding of finances and cash flow, that she realized thanks to her education in the Goldman Sachs program.
“I knew that there needed to be tough decisions to be made,” to weather the rough times ahead. “We did that quite effectively,” Schibler Conn said.
Going forward, Schibler Conn agrees with the summit’s big ask of Congress; reauthorizing the SBA to meet current small businesses’ needs.
“SBA needs to be reauthorized,” she said.
What reauthorizing the SBA means
The Bipartisan Policy Center and Goldman Sachs recently released a report, From Pandemic to Prosperity: Bipartisan Solutions to Support Today’s Small Businesses, calling on policymakers to address four key challenges: Workforce/retaining employees, Access to Capital, Childcare, and Access to Government Contracts, reauthorizing the SBA to meet these and other needs of today’s small businesses.
“The way we do business and buy products and services has fundamentally changed. The pandemic further accelerated this shift. It’s time to modernize the SBA to better serve small businesses in today’s economy. Reauthorization will help the SBA adapt to today’s small business landscape and equip it with additional resources and new capabilities,” according to the report.
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