The head of the federal government's Small Business Administration is coming to Buffalo Friday to meet with local small business owners while raising awareness of her agency and the services they offer beyond loans.
Linda McMahon, the Administrator of the SBA, vowed upon taking the position to visit all 68 regional offices. She calls it the "Ignite Tour" and her visit to Buffalo falls about halfway down the list.
"SBA needs to not be, I believe, the best-kept secret in the country," said McMahon. "Most folks, when they think of SBA, think about loans. I want to make sure they understand about the mentor programs and the network programs we have through our resource partners in the area, our SCORE offices, our SBDC (Small Business Development Centers) and our Women Business Centers."
In addition, as McMahon noted, the SBA is on site at domestic disasters around the same time as FEMA arrives to provide assistance including loans and assistance with the thought of getting communities back on their feet in short time.
While in Buffalo she'll meet with local business owners and entrepreneurs and is scheduled to deliver remarks Saturday at the opening of the SBA and Buffalo Niagara SCORE-sponsored annual Straight Talk conference.
McMahon was selected in December 2016 by then President-elect Donald Trump to lead the SBA. The president secured a legislative victory in December with passage of federal tax reform, a move that has been hailed by larger corporate entities but McMahon explained how smaller businesses will also gain from the change in tax codes.
"This is just an unprecedented move for small businesses. Pass-through small businesses will have their rate capped at 25 percent," she said, adding that small businesses will also be able to deduct up to 20 percent of revenues before they are taxed. "They will have the reduction in taxes through the new brackets and percentages for those brackets. It's a win-win for small businesses."
McMahon is part of a family that grew a once-regional professional wrestling promotion into World Wrestling Entertainment, an international multimedia juggernaut which has been publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange since 1999. Mrs. McMahon was active with the company through the year 2009, serving in roles including president and chief executive officer.
When asked if she shares her experiences running WWE with small business owners, perhaps as advice or to inspire, McMahon pointed out that she was chosen by President Trump because he was aware of both the ups and downs she and her husband, Vincent McMahon, endured along the way.
"My husband and I were bankrupt at one point and we lost everything," Mrs. McMahon recalled. "Our house was auctioned off. My car was repossessed in the driveway. I was pregnant with our second child at the time. If businesses have doubts about taking risks, I'm clearly someone who can talk to them about that.
"It's now how you fall, it's how you get back up."