Senate approves venture capitalist as SBA administrator

The Senate unanimously confirmed Obama nominee Karen Gordon Mills on Thursday to serve as chief of the Small Business Administration.

Mills -- a venture capitalist, Harvard Business School graduate and member of the Council on Foreign Relations -- will lead more than 2,000 full-time employees at SBA and assume a prominent role in implementing elements of the economic recovery. Mills, who testified before the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee on Wednesday, touted her 25-year experience managing and helping to grow small businesses.

"The sum of my experience is this: I am a believer in American small business," Mills said. "I am a believer in America's ability to manufacture goods and services that are world class, and I am a believer in America's spirit of entrepreneurship. This spirit is one of our country's greatest assets and we need to cultivate it today, more than ever."

Committee Chairwoman Mary Landrieu, D-La., said Mills' unanimous confirmation made it clear she is the right person to lead the agency at a crucial time.

"Ms. Mills' background as an entrepreneur and community leader coupled with her vast experience and education put her in the right position to assume the reigns of the SBA," Landrieu said. "I am confident that, under her leadership, the agency will be better equipped to assist small businesses throughout the country."

Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and ranking member of the committee, said she recommended Mills to Obama as a strong candidate for the SBA position and called her a "talented and intelligent entrepreneur."

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