Goings, Goings, Gone

Departing SBA administrator speaks to Queen Anne Chamber

As one of approximately 4,000 political appointees of the Obama administration, Calvin Goings submitted his letter of resignation to take effect on Inauguration Day, giving the president-elect a clean slate for his own nominees. 

The Regional Administrator for the U.S Small Business Administration, serving Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska, Goings has spent the last seven years amplifying the federal agency’s focus on the “three C’s” for small businesses: Access to capital, access to government contracts, and access to counseling services.

“Most folks have heard of SBA, and they only know about our loans, if they know anything, but there are so much more that we do,” he said. 

On Thursday, Goings gave his final formal speech in the role during the monthly Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce luncheon. 

A former state senator and Pierce County Council member, Goings discussed the impact of the SBA in the region and across the country, and the agency’s goal of connecting small business owners with the services they offer. 

Among the efforts Goings mentioned was the Empowering All Entrepreneurs action plan, designed to increase the accessibility of the SBA’s offerings to underserved business owners, including women, minorities, and members of the LGBTQ community.  He also noted that, just in King County alone during the Obama administration, the SBA supported more than 4,000 small business loans, worth $2 billion. 

“If you think about it, that’s small businesses right here in the Seattle area that are able to keep their doors opened, keep their shelves stocked, and keep their employees paid as a result,” he said.

Goings also emphasized the importance of Small Business Saturday. 

“That really is an opportunity for the community, for entrepreneurs, for consumers to really shop locally,” he said. “To go to those local stores in Magnolia or Queen Anne that are unique, that are special, and that really are key to the fabric of what makes Magnolia and Queen Anne unique, special places.”

He noted that in 2015, approximately 95 million people shopped locally during the event, contributing $16 billion to their local economies. This year, the hope is to eclipse 100 million shoppers, spending at least $17 billion. 

“That is money that stays in our community, that invests in our community,” he said. “Local businesses are really different than those national chains in that they are the folks that are involved in the Chamber of Commerce, they support the little league teams, they support the PTA, and so we’re really happy to do our part to help amplify what is a very important day.”

Goings said what he’ll remember most from his time with the SBA are the various small business owners he’s encountered, calling them “some of the most resilient and head strong people I’ve ever met.”

“It is the drive and the passion and the ‘I can do this’ attitude that continually amazes me and gives me kind of passion each day to get up and go talk to more small businesses,” he said. 

He also tried to assuage concerns about what the incoming administration may mean for the agency, saying that political nominees come and go, but the career staff already in place will remain. Goings is optimistic that the SBA will remain the nimble, responsive agency it is now. 

Though the end of his tenure is near, Goings said there’s no letting up until his official departure in January. 

“We are going to continue working to the very last hour of this administration to make sure that small businesses know we’re here to help them and give them the tools and resources they need to succeed,” he said. 

To learn more about the Small Business Administration and its resources, go to www.sba.gov

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