New DOL-SBA Website Encourages Entrepreneurship

by Karen Mills and Hilda Solis on December 13, 2012 · 7 comments

Senator Ron Wyden, a long-time champion of Self-Employment Assistance programs, meets Oregon entrepreneurs, including the founders Urban Airship to discuss Self-Employment Assistance, other programs aimed at facilitating startup companies and entrepreneurship.

Senator Ron Wyden (left), a long-time champion of Self-Employment Assistance programs, meets Oregon entrepreneurs, including the founders Urban Airship to discuss SEA.

The entrepreneurial spirit is what drives this country.  In fact, small businesses and start-ups are responsible for creating two out of every three new jobs in the United States. And more than half of all working Americans own or work for a small business.  That’s why helping to create an environment where more businesses are easily able to start and succeed has been an important goal for this administration. 

Today, our agencies — the Small Business Administration and Department of Labor — teamed up for another step forward on this path, announcing a new website to help states offer Self-Employment Assistance programs to those looking to create jobs in their communities.  Self-Employment Assistance provides Unemployment Insurance recipients interested in starting a business with financial assistance, critical entrepreneurial training and resources to get those businesses off the ground.

On the website, you’ll find model legislation that your state can use to enact these programs, as well as a new online toolkit from the Small Business Administration, which offers courses and training on how to start a business.  “How to Prepare a Business Plan” and “Franchising Basics” are just a few of the courses that are offered to up-and-coming entrepreneurs.  There are also courses on obtaining money for small businesses, entrepreneurship and business planning, entrepreneurial marketing, developing entrepreneurial work styles, as well as a host of other topics including accounting, marketing, legal facets, sales and taxes.

This initiative is part of a larger package of common-sense measures that are helping to turn the Unemployment Insurance program into a re-employment program. Earlier this year, President Obama signed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 − the first major overhaul of UI in four decades. Along with providing states tools to help prevent job losses and assist the unemployed in getting back to work quicker, the legislation also provided $35 million for states to create Self-Employment Assistance programs and expand entrepreneurship opportunities — like today’s announcement.

We’re excited about the ingenuity that will result from the Self-Employment Assistance program. This new site and the resources it provides will help expand access to the program, helping promising business owners create opportunities for themselves as well as new jobs for others.

Karen Mills is the administrator of the Small Business Administration. Hilda Solis is the secretary of labor.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shekia Taylor December 14, 2012 at 9:17 am

This development could have a substantial impact in fostering the next surge of Entrepreneurs. Creating careers rather than pursuing them!

2 Lisa Vazquez December 14, 2012 at 6:49 pm

I have my own equipment but have no money no insurance no car and I have no money to incorporate. I need Help and a mentor to help guide me please; I live in providence Rhode Island. How can I be involved in SEA. I want to get this business off the ground but I have no money no job and I have all the equipment. I am a videographer that wants to produce corporate videos and so on. Can you help.

3 DEBRA A DANIEL-HALL December 20, 2012 at 11:59 am

I have recently exhausted my unemployment benefits and am very interested in the self-employment assistance program. However, every agency I’ve contacted regarding this program has either forwarded me to another agency or have never heard of the program. Please provide me with the appropriate, contact information. I would like to use the 6-month time period alloted to start my own business while still receiving unemployment benefits during the process.

4 Colleen LaRose December 29, 2012 at 8:42 am

Your article on the SEA program expansion is missing a very important point!!! The problem is that if you sign up for the sea program, you are not entitled to any federal extensions of ui benefits. So people who go the sea route get only 26 weeks rather than 99 weeks of unemployment. The SEA programs do not offer enough value to warrant that much sacrifice(typically just a class…maybe a few mentoring sessions). Would you give up 76 weeks of unemployment benefits for that? Of course not. Two of the states (PA and Md) have completely abandoned the program because it makes no sense in this economy. Most of the other five states steer people clear of the program because it is ultimately more harmful than helpful due to the loss of 76 weeks of ui payments. If the feds want to make this work, they need to allow people starting businesses to have the same ui federal extensions as everyone else! No one starts a profitable business in six months! Entrepreneurs need the two years to make their business work…and in the long run, we would all benefit from the endeavors of these entrepreneurs …since these same entrepreneurs (with the right supports) will become the employers of the next generation. We should be supporting their creativity and ingenuity, not thwarting their efforts. And we certainly should not be expanding a program that clearly does not work…unless these changes are made to make it viable.

We have a group on linked in you may be interested in visiting called “creating a system of support for entrepreneurs and small business” president of Babson and many other VIP’s in this group trying to fiure out the right things to do to support entrepreneurs and small business. The SEA program is not the right thing to do…as it actually hurts people…instead of helping them due to the cut in their benefits!

5 Colleen LaRose February 19, 2013 at 8:45 pm

WARNIING!!! People in the SEA program are not eligible for federal extensions of their unemployment benefits! Who in their right mind would sign up for this program in this economy? How many businesses do you know of that can be up and profitable in six months? If USDOL and the SBA are serious, they would do this and allow people to still be eligible for ui federal extensions of benefits.
Many of the seven states who started this program have abandoned it or steer people clear of it because it hinders rather than helps people who want to try to start their own businesses.
If you really want to help…how about getting workforce development and economic development regions to align and work together to support business development?
And, how about getting rid of the pot of money set aside to go after people who are not trying to cheat the system but are trying to do something “extra” on top of their job search to be productive? Trying to start a business while on unemployment should not stop people from getting benefits! It should be encouraged! You are thwarting economic growth!
Entrepreneurship is a big part of the answer to our fiscal crisis…but the Feds seem to have no clue as to how to implement meaningful supports to make this happen.

6 entrepreneur freedom fighter July 8, 2013 at 7:26 am

I don’t think these program should be expanded at all. It will hurt entrepreneurs than help them. They should either abandon it or the program should allow for unemployment benefits

7 Angie Medema April 7, 2014 at 1:40 pm

You’re right, Colleen. Thanks for the enlightenment. I have just started my business last February financed by my unemployment ins. I started it very small because I have limited resources. I always feel so anxious on what will be the future of my new venture but I keep on going trying not to be discouraged. At this point in time, I can’t afford to lose my uib. If they are really serious in helping small entrepreneurs like us, they should extend our uib instead of cutting it.

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