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Some of the Small Business Association’s Successes in the last 65 years

October 23, 2018 by OSYB Staff

Forbes honors the 65th anniverary of the Small Business Administration (SBA) by sharing 3 business success stories.  The SBA’s mission states, “Small business is critical to our economic strength, to building America’s future, and to helping the United States compete in today’s global marketplace.”   Here are 3 businesses that started off small and were recipients of funding from SBA loan programs, that over time became major industry leaders.  Who has not heard of these businesses?

  1. Under Armour:  Kevin Plank started Under Armour over 22 years ago in his grandmother’s basement.  Plank was determined to find a better way for athletes like himself that were constantly drenched in sweat to dress better.   Plank researched synthetic fibers and was able to design the first Under Armour HeatGear T-shirt. “By the end of 1996, Plank made his first team sale, and Under Armour had generated $17,000 in sales. The company received support in its infancy from the U.S. Small Business Administration. In 2016, Under Armour received the first ever inaugural Hall of Champions award. Thanks to the startup funding from the SBA, Under Armour has transformed itself into a global multi-billion-dollar company.”
  2. Chipotle – “In 1993, Steve Ells, a former chef, launched Chipotle Mexican Grill in Denver, Colorado. Funded by Ells’ father ($85,000), the first Chipotle storefront was established with the goal of funding a fine dining restaurant. One small business to fund another. The second store was opened with funds from the first. The third store leveraged SBA funds. In 1998, McDonald’s became an investor in Chipotle and in 2006, Chipotle went public. This is an example of where the SBA loans can fill a gap in combination with other loan sources, such as financial support from friends, family and large investors.”
  3. Apple – “In 1978, the SBIC program, which is a venture-capital branch of the SBA, was formed to support further investment in start-ups. The SBA’s Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) provides for privately-owned venture capital funds licensed by the SBA to invest in the long-term debt and equity securities of small businesses. Continental Illinois Bank, owned by John Hines, was the SBIC-funded bank that awarded $500,000 in start-up capital to a fledgling computer startup called Apple Computer. While success stories such as Apple are rare, the funding of Apple by an SBIC whose owner had strong foresight was a significant and notable success story of the SBA’s programs. There may be no greater success story than Apple, funded by SBA programs at its infancy, on the verge of becoming the first US company valued at $1 trillion.”

The SBA has evolved over its 65 years since it was established in 1953, but at its core the mission has stayed steady.   “The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses – not just small ones, but, ultimately, big businesses, too.”  Happy 65 years, SBA!!


For more details:  Not Just For Small Businesses: How The SBA Helped Grow 3 Major Companies

Image Credit:  Deposit Photos

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