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At the Indiana State Fair: Farmers, The First Entrepreneurs

Ed. Note: Building on the President’s commitment to address issues important to rural Americans, Administration officials are visiting state fairs all summer. See a map of where we’ve been so far, and hear from SBA Deputy Administrator Johns about her recent visit to the Indian State Fair:

Having grown up in Indiana, I know firsthand that there is much debate over what a “Hoosier” is, but I can tell you for certain that there were many at the Indiana State Fair. From the young 4-H and FFA participants that I met at a pancake breakfast, to the small businesses selling their products, and the family farmers displaying their livestock, Hoosiers represent the diversity and growth of the small business community.

SBA’s Deputy Administrator Johns talks to future farmers and entrepreneurs at the Indiana State FairSBA’s Deputy Administrator Johns talks to future farmers and entrepreneurs at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis, IN. August 18, 2010. (by Hayley Matz)

America’s farmers, like all small businesses, drive our economy. They are key parts of our heritage and our identity as Americans. And just as the FFA seeks to develop the next generation of leaders in agriculture, at the Small Business Administration (SBA) we’re working to create the next generation of entrepreneurs. At the 4-H breakfast I was privileged to speak with young women who are budding entrepreneurs. The leadership skills they’re developing through 4-H and FFA will be invaluable to them as they look to capitalize on their experiences and knowledge down the road.

There are about 6.5 million women-owned businesses in America. They’re one of the fastest growing segments of our economy. The SBA is committed to helping women create and grow businesses, like the ones I met at the Indiana State Fair and at a roundtable with Congressman Carson that afternoon. Through the SBA’s network of more than 14,000 affiliated resource partners, including 110 Women’s Business Centers (WBCs), SBA can help these young women turn their entrepreneurial dreams into reality.

At the Fair, we discussed that farming has much in common with what it takes to run other small businesses. That’s why the SBA’s Women’s Business Centers are great places to get advice and assistance to turn a business plan from good to great. Last year, the WBCs counseled and trained more than 150,000 women entrepreneurs and small business owners. Indiana’s future farmers and small business owners are working hard to be the next generation of entrepreneurs. The SBA is here to help them invest in success, create jobs, and drive the economy forward.

Marie Johns is Small Business Administration Deputy Administrator

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