By Maria Contreras-Sweet
, SBA Administrator
Published: November 18, 2014Updated: November 18, 2014
This July, I stood alongside President Obama at the White House and announced a vital new partnership between the government and private sector to strengthen America’s small businesses by increasing their access to affordable working capital. SupplierPay is about paying small suppliers on time and keeping their interest rates low, so they can invest in new equipment, new products and new people.
Twenty-six U.S. corporations took the SupplierPay pledge this summer, and yesterday 21 additional corporations signed on. Jeff Zients, director of the National Economic Council, and I joined together at the White House to recognize these companies for their commitment to grow our economy.
When companies do not pay their small suppliers promptly, the impact is felt at the community level. Small suppliers must find alternative financing options, which can mean layoffs or raising prices to the detriment of their loyal customer base.
SupplierPay is a win-win. It’s a win for small businesses because they gain payment certainty that allows them to plan for growth. That could mean hiring full-time employees with health benefits, instead of relying on more expensive contract labor. Or it could mean investing in new products and better processes that will improve their bottom line.
SupplierPay is also a win for U.S. corporations. Providing payment certainty to small businesses means corporate buyers will get higher-quality goods and services and pay less for them. We’re competing in a global economy, and strong, nimble supply chains give American companies a competitive edge.
Small firms create 2 out of 3 new jobs in America and account for half of all private-sector employment. Approximately one-quarter of our small businesses are firms that primarily supply other firms. Entering corporate supply chains allows the average small business to grow its revenue by 250 percent and its workforce by 150 percent. SupplierPay is an initiative that goes to the heart of our economy’s growth potential.
Manzi Metals in Florida is the only black-owned, woman-owned metals distribution company in the country. Barbara Manzi started her company 25 years ago and it’s now a multi-million dollar enterprise supplying some of the largest companies in the world, including the Department of Defense and NASA.
After the financial crisis, many of Barbara’s clients extended their payment windows substantially, depriving her of the working capital she needed to scale up and innovate. Now, two of her largest clients, Lockheed Martin and Rolls Royce, have joined the SupplierPay movement, allowing Manzi Metals to start hiring and innovating again.
That’s the power of SupplierPay.
Going forward, SBA will be convening a working group to share best practices. Faster payments are just one way to get affordable working capital to our entrepreneurs. We will study other methods and share them, so companies can choose a financing strategy that makes sense for them.
But today, we salute the trailblazers in this movement. By supporting America’s small businesses, these companies are supporting local jobs and local communities – and our economy and our country will be stronger for it.