The top administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration is in central Iowa today touting how S.B.A. programs spark job growth.
Ames-based Harrisvaccines started with the turf and branched off into the surf. S.B.A. chief Karen Mills explains why she singled out the company for a visit.
“Harrisvaccines is a terrific company, started by an entrepreneur who has the technology to grow vaccines that help in swine production and also in shrimp production,” Mills says. “We’re going to be seeing the shrimp production facility.”
When Harrisvaccines looked to expand its products from swine and cattle to shrimp, Mills says her agency was able to help accomplish the goal. “They created 12 jobs already due to some of the grants that we have at the SBA, called the Small Business Innovation and Research grants,” Mills says.
“They won four of these grants for almost a million dollars. There are 27 people now and they expect to grow to about 40.” Harrisvaccines is doing business with myriad Iowa hog farmers — and with shrimpers as far away as Indonesia. She says it’s a sterling example of a small, rural business growing to meet global demands.
“One of the interesting things about Iowa is that it is a very, very strong exporter of products,” Mills says. “Over $13-billion of exports have come up and that’s a 65% increase since 2009. We really see this as investing in small businesses, helping entrepreneurs use their technology to expand to new markets.”
Mills says government doesn’t create jobs, but it can give small businesses the tools they need to grow, create competitive products, and export them around the world. Learn more at: www.sba.gov.