GAO Finds Duplication in Programs Intended to Help New Entrepreneurs

August 30, 2012

The government has dozens of programs that overlap in their efforts to help Americans start new businesses, the Government Accountability Office says in a new report.

Four agencies — the Small Business Administration and the Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, and Agriculture departments — offer 52 different economic development programs that help entrepreneurs create business plans, learn to manage start-ups and obtain funding, according to the Aug. 23 report.

Many of the programs overlap in the types of technical and financial assistance they provide. For example, 24 of the programs offer entrepreneurs in any industry a range of technical assistance, such as business training and counseling. Sixteen programs offer loans to entrepreneurs in any industry.

Many programs target similar entrepreneurs, in particular businesses in rural areas, businesses in economically distressed areas, disadvantaged businesses and small businesses.

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