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Small Business Administration leader visits Iowa, discusses successes, challenges with entrepreneurs

Small business owners talked about the support they received from the SBA and challenges they still face during Isabella Guzman's visit.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa has more than 250,000 small businesses—and they employ just under half of all workers in the state. The head of the national Small Business Administration (SBA) visited several of them around the metro on Monday.

The SBA's Isabella Guzman joined Rep. Cindy Axne, IA-03, for trips to multiple local businesses, including MoMere, St. Kilda Collective and Fox Brewing. All of the business owners had made use of SBA resources during the pandemic.

"It was just a resource when there was a lot of uncertainty around the different federal programs like PPP," said Brian Fox, the owner of Fox Brewing. "Our local administrator, Jane Armstrong, with the SBA was a great person to be able to reach out to and give me a lot of peace of mind."

Later in the day, Guzman and Axne participated in a roundtable at the Greater Des Moines Partnership, speaking to business owners about everything from supply chain issues to employee retention.

"We've seen this record economic recovery, the strongest economic growth in 40 years, but businesses are still feeling the sting of inflation," Guzman said. "So a lot of them have had to pivot their models or just adapt."

RELATED: US inflation jumped 7.5% in the past year, a 40-year high

According to the SBA, the organization lent over 346 million dollars to small businesses in 2021—a 21% increase from the previous year. Guzman told Local 5 she's working to keep that forward momentum to help Iowa keep up with bigger states like California and New York.

"We need to continue to fortify those networks and strengthen the SBA's district offices around the country to partner with them to ensure that they're getting out the priority issues that small businesses are facing today," she said.

RELATED: 2022: The year of the entrepreneur | Iowa entrepreneurs share their stories, advice

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