Obama era chief of Small Business Administration offers advice at annual forum

Milwaukee should focus on growing the supply-chain sector of its economy, going beyond supply chains related to manufacturing and inviting new businesses in the future-facing service sector, a national expert in small business growth told a ballroom full of business and community leaders on Tuesday.

“How do you bring in more of these companies and how do you grow the ones already here?” said Karen Mills, who served from 2009 to 2013 as administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration during the Obama administration. She’s now a senior fellow at the Harvard Business School, where she focuses on competitiveness, entrepreneurship and innovation.

She made the comments at Tuesday’s Economic Forum, an annual luncheon sponsored by the Milwaukee Jewish Federation. Held at the Pfister Hotel, the event sold out its 650 tickets for the fifth consecutive year.

“Business, and particularly small business, runs in my family,” Mills said, noting that the candy company her grandpa Jack started makes Tootsie Rolls in Chicago and Andes mints in Wisconsin.

Read the full story by Milwaukee Magazine