December 09, 2021

Thank you, Iowa

By Jayne Armstrong

The U.S. Small Business Administration has been on the front lines leading Iowa’s economic recovery the past two years. As we enter the final stages of SBA’s economic recovery programs, I want to thank our small business and non-profit communities for their inspiration and resiliency during this difficult period. While challenges remain, we all need to take a step back and recognize their impact on the economy.

From Council Bluffs to Davenport and all small towns and cities in between, small businesses and non-profit organizations were severely impacted by the state and local mandated shutdowns and the overall economic slowdown during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The SBA is proud of the role our federal economic recovery programs played in keeping the lights on, the doors open and the staffs employed across Iowa. The implementation of these programs wasn’t always pretty, as the SBA itself was forced to constantly adapt to the unprecedented national economic crisis to meet the changing needs of small businesses and non-profits.

Thanks to SBA’s partnership with Iowa’s lending community, the Congressional delegation, and our resource partner network of 15 Small Business Development Centers, four SCORE chapters, the SBA Women’s Business Center at the Iowa Center for Economic Success, and the Veterans Business Resource Center, we financed 172,991 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgivable loans for $8.1 billion in Iowa alone. We also financed over $3 billion in Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), EDIL advance, EIDL Targeted Advance, EIDL Supplemental Advance, Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, and Restaurant Revitalization Fund grants and loans to date across Iowa. Under SBA’s Debt Relief Program, we also made a substantial financial investment in our small business community by covering up to six months of loan payments on new and existing SBA loans.

Behind the scenes was a very small group of five to seven dedicated SBA employees who worked around the clock since March 2020 responding to emails and phone calls, hosting webinars and town halls to raise awareness, and providing daily technical assistance to Iowans. Words can’t adequately express my appreciation for my co-workers for their work ethic and commitment these past two years. They are truly the rock stars of Iowa’s economic recovery.

In addition to our economic recovery programs, the Iowa District Office also increased its normal SBA lending by financing 476 SBA guaranteed loans totaling $263.1 million last fiscal year, an increase of 47 loans and $29.3 million compared to the previous year.

The SBA Iowa District Office is beyond honored to work for Iowa small businesses in both good and bad times. As we enter the final stages of this unprecedented crisis, the SBA encourages everyone to support their local small businesses and non-profits this holiday season and throughout the years to come. Thank you, Iowa — we really were in this together.

Jayne Armstrong is the director of the SBA’s Iowa District Office.