Idaho small businesses need access to resources through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) now more than ever, but critical positions at the agency still remain unfilled due to partisan politics in Washington, D.C. One example that is holding back the agency is the current attempt to prevent Mr. Dilawar Syed’s nomination as deputy administrator of the SBA, which is both outrageous and concerning to those in the small business community.
The actions to block Mr. Syed’s nomination — being led by U.S. Senator Jim Risch and many other Republican members of the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship — have nothing to do with his qualifications for the role. These stall tactics are not in the best interest of helping small business owners quickly and stably recover from the ongoing pandemic.
Idaho has nearly 170,000 small businesses that employ more than 56% of the state’s workers. With more than 99% of all businesses in Idaho being small businesses, it’s clear that this community is the backbone of the local economy. Idaho small businesses deserve access to the resources and funding needed to lead them on a path to recovery from the pandemic and help them to withstand the next crisis. That’s why they need their elected officials to focus on ensuring that the SBA is fully staffed and ready to swiftly deploy the tools they need to mitigate disruptions to their business operations.
Small businesses are still facing setbacks from the pandemic. Our recent polling found 84% of small businesses around the country are concerned about the rise in the Delta variant and its effects on their business and local economy. During this critical moment when 38% of small businesses report that business conditions are on the decline compared to a month ago, we need the SBA fully staffed and functioning — this starts with quickly advancing a vote on Mr. Syed as the deputy administrator and ensuring that his strong leadership is at the helm of the agency during this time.
Mr. Syed is a well-qualified nominee who has received strong endorsements from numerous business groups across the ideological spectrum. As many have noted, he has led a distinguished career, including serving as president and CEO at Lumiata and founding chair of California’s Entrepreneurship Task Force, which propelled California’s next generation of innovative entrepreneurs and small businesses. He also chaired the White House Initiative on AAPI’s Economic Growth Committee, which gave him a unique perspective on how to empower diverse entrepreneurship.
Small businesses don’t care about the ideological political differences that are currently stalling progress; they are looking for resources and solutions essential to their growth and sustainability. Mr. Syed offers innovative insights and solutions that will better support the small business ecosystem, particularly during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. His career speaks to his commitment to diverse small businesses and his belief that they can grow and expand, reinforcing their role as our economic drivers. We urge Sen. Risch and his colleagues to advance an immediate vote to confirm Mr. Syed and restore confidence that the SBA has the experts it needs to fully support our small businesses.
— John Arensmeyer is the founder and CEO of Small Business Majority.