The mission of the Small Business Administration is “to maintain and strengthen the nation’s economy by enabling the establishment and viability of small businesses and by assisting in the economic recovery of communities after disasters.”
The SBA does not make loans directly to small businesses but does help to educate and prepare the business owner to apply for a loan through a financial institution or bank. The SBA then acts as a guarantor on the bank loan. In some circumstances it also helps to procure loans to victims of natural disasters, works to get government procurement contracts for small businesses, and assists businesses with management, technical and training issues.
The SBA has directly or indirectly helped nearly 20 million businesses and in 2008 had a loan portfolio of roughly 219,000 loans worth more than $84 billion making it the largest single financial backer of businesses in the United States.