By O. Kay Henderson (Radio Iowa)
The owner of a Cedar Rapids business is in Washington, D.C., urging congress to modernize the Small Business Administration. Sydney Rieckhoff is the CEO of Almost Famous Popcorn, a company she co-founded with her brother 10 years ago when she was 14.
“Ninety-four percent of small business owners think that congress should join together to reorganize the Small Business Administration and really modernize it to be a tool and a resource for small businesses across the country that fits with the times, fits with the challenges that we feel today,” she says.
Rieckhoff’s company received a Paycheck Protection Program grant at the beginning of the pandemic. Reickhoff says while it helped keep employees on the company’s payroll, it exposed problems in the Small Business Administration. “Kind of outdated procedures and policies that take place in it,” she says.
Iowa Senator Joni Ernst is the top Republican on the Senate Small Business Committee. Ernst says she and the Democrat who’s chair of the committee plan to work on a bipartisan plan that would lead to a top to bottom review of the Small Business Administration.
“The way Americans did business with Small Business over two decades ago is very different than the challenges and the technology that small businesses have today,” Ernst says.
Ernst has invited Rieckhoff to be her guest tonight in the U.S. House to watch President Biden’s State of the Union speech. Congresswoman Ashley Hinson has invited Sergeant Trent Dirks of Eldora, an Afghanistan vet who trains dogs to be service animals. Congressman Randy Feenstra’s guest at tonight’s speech is the C-E-O of a company building a $450 million beef processing facility in Mills County.