Mills leads a team of 3,000 employees whose mission is to help entrepreneurs and small business owners grow and create jobs by providing greater access to capital, counseling, federal contracting opportunities, disaster assistance and more. Among its priorities, the SBA has a portfolio of more than $90 billion in loan guarantees. Each year, the agency helps leverage nearly $100 billion in federal contracts to small businesses and supports free counseling and technical assistance to more than 1 million entrepreneurs. In addition, SBA provides disaster assistance to homeowners, renters, and businesses with the help of 2,000 additional on-call employees.
Throughout her career, Mills has owned, managed, mentored, and invested in small and growing businesses across the country.
As an investor and owner, she helped several small manufacturers improve their competitiveness and ultimately survive the downturn of the early 1990s. This included producers of hardwood flooring, refrigerator motor manufacturers, plastic injection molding companies, and more. More recently, she was President of the MMP Group, which invested and grew businesses in sectors such as consumer products, food, textiles, and industrial components.
In 2007, Maine Gov. John Baldacci appointed Mills to chair the state’s Council on Competitiveness and the Economy, where she focused on attracting investment in rural and regional development initiatives, including a regional economic cluster with Maine’s boatbuilding industry. She also served on the Governor’s Council for the Redevelopment of the Brunswick Naval Air Station.
In her current position, Mills has helped expand access to capital through SBA lending, increase small business’ share of federal contracts, strengthen SBA’s network of more than 14,000 affiliated counselors, and oversee critical disaster assistance operations across the country.
Mills earned an A.B. in economics from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School where she was a Baker Scholar. Additionally, she served as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and was vice chairman of the Harvard Overseers.
She and her husband, Barry Mills, president of Bowdoin College, live in Brunswick, Maine. They have three sons.
Karen Mills's Posts
- November 19, 2012 at 4:00 PM EDT
Small Business Saturday is a date set aside to support the small businesses that play a vital role in creating jobs and economic opportunities across the country.
- August 28, 2012 at 11:46 AM EDT
Administrator Karen Mills meets with small business owners across the country to hear stories about why they started a business and how SBA was an important resource to make it happen.
- May 23, 2012 at 3:00 PM EDT
Small Business Administrator Karen Mills announces the winners of a video contest that asked small business owners to share their stories explaining how their business benefited from the SBA and makes a difference in their local community.
- May 21, 2012 at 11:02 AM EDT
On Wednesday, May 23, 2012, at 3:00 pm ET, Small Business Administrator Karen Mills will join a Google+ Hangout to announce the SBA video contest winners and discuss how SBA assistance helped their small business and what inspired their successes.
Are You a Small Business That Has Been Helped by SBA? Don’t Miss our National Small Business Week Video ContestApril 20, 2012 at 3:02 PM EDT
The Small Business Administration kicks off a video contest in preparation for National Small Business Week 2012.
- April 20, 2012 at 11:52 AM EDT
The Small Business Administration and the Department of Education are hosting a Twitter Q&A session to answer questions from recent graduates on starting a business and making Federal student loan payments more manageable
- April 5, 2012 at 1:57 PM EDT
The Jumpstart Our Business Startups, or JOBS, Act, makes it easier for small businesses and entrepreneurs to obtain much needed access to capital and creates an enhanced environment for growth.
- March 5, 2012 at 3:31 PM EDT
Business lending is showing new signs of strength and small business owners have increased ability to hire new workers and grow
- February 27, 2012 at 4:49 PM EDT
More than 400,000 manufacturing jobs have been created since the start of 2010 and there are currently about 229,000 job openings in the manufacturing sector, according to data from the Labor Department.
- February 16, 2012 at 2:06 PM EDT
President Obama's Fiscal Year 2013 budget proposal renders tax credit more accessible to small businesses and jobs more obtainable for new employees.
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