The U.S. Small Business Administration is seeking comments from the general public on key issues relating to its current small business size standards, the rules used by the SBA and other federal agencies to determine whether a business is "small" enough to qualify for SBA loans and other government assistance programs.
"In developing important policy changes regarding the small business community that SBA is here to serve, we are reaching out to engage our stakeholders in the process," said Allegra F. McCullough, SBA Associate Deputy Administrator for Government Contracting and Business Development. "We believe a number of areas concerning size standards need to be examined and input from the small business community will greatly assist us in formulating meaningful and relevant changes."
Last March, SBA proposed to restructure its size standards by reducing the number of different size categories from 37 to 10, and by expressing all size standards in terms of the number of a company's employees. In comments submitted to the SBA, the public expressed concern about several aspects of SBA's approach, prompting the SBA to withdraw that proposal for further study on July 1, 2004.
The SBA published a notice of the comment-seeking process in The Federal Register of Dec. 3. That notice, an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, didn't propose any specific changes to the agency's size standards. However, before SBA considers a different approach to restructuring its size standards, it is seeking comments on a number of general issues that were raised by the public in response to the March 2004 proposed rule.
Specifically, the agency is seeking comment and suggestions on:
The SBA also will conduct a series of public meetings across the country on size standards to listen to ideas and concerns from the small business community. Information on these meetings will be announced in early 2005.
The agency also is seeking comments regarding the participation of small businesses that are majority-owned by venture capital firms in the Small Business Innovation Research Program and the relationship between franchisors and franchisees in the Temporary Staffing industry.
Comments, which should be identified by the code RIN 3245-ZA02, can be sent by the following methods:
For further information, contact the SBA's Office of Size Standards at (202) 205-6618 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.