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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
- January 3, 2012 at 3:42 PM EDT
President Obama reauthorizes bill investing in America’s most promising small research and development companies for another 6 years
- December 22, 2011 at 4:10 PM EDT
By refusing to extend the payroll tax cut, the House of Representatives is causing uncertainty for America’s 27 million small businesses as they put the final touches on their business plans for 2012.
- December 8, 2011 at 11:45 AM EDT
The Obama Administration is taking action to support small businesses through creating an environment where they have access to capital markets to help facilitate growth at every stage.
- November 23, 2011 at 1:00 PM EDT
When you buy a product or service from a small business, your money goes right back into the local economy. That's why the Small Business Administration is asking Americans to shop small for some holiday shopping this weekend
- September 9, 2011 at 7:00 AM EDT
The head of the Small Business Administration says America's small businesses are counting on Congress to act now
- August 2, 2011 at 1:56 PM EDT
Karen Mills, Administrator of the Small Business Administration, announces a showcase of 100 small business that created at least 100 jobs each with SBA assistance, helping drive our economy forward and putting more Americans back to work.
- July 26, 2011 at 12:05 PM EDT
Karen Mills, Administrator of the Small Business Administration, announces the first public-private partnership of the Impact Investment Fund, which will focus on growing businesses in Michigan
- June 16, 2011 at 10:58 AM EDT
The US Small Business Administration holds a roundtable with manufacturers, focusing on the manufacturing workforce to encourage American exports and spur job growth.
- May 16, 2011 at 6:00 AM EDT
Karen Mills, Administrator of the Small Business Administration, discusses the release of The Small Business Agenda: Growing America’s Small Businesses to Win the Future report. The report details the many things the Administration has done over the past two years to help small businesses do what they do best: create jobs.
- May 10, 2011 at 9:50 AM EDT
Karen Mills, Administrator of the Small Business Administration, travels to Dayton, Ohio to talk with small suppliers about how to make America's supply chains as innovative as possible.
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