WASHINGTON – Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), has announced that Chris James, of Cherokee, has been appointed to serve as SBA’s Associate Administrator for the Office of Field Operations in addition to his current role as Associate Administrator for the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.
“I am honored to join the Office of Field Operations and look forward to continuing to serve the President and the U.S. small business community,” said James, who oversees many priority initiatives at SBA. These include Startup in a Day, which encourages cities to centralize and streamline the requirements and support services for entrepreneurs to start a business, and the SupplierPay program, a White House-led effort with the private sector designed to strengthen America’s small businesses. He also coordinates the American Supplier Initiative, an Administration-wide effort to support American manufacturing.
James previously led the SBA’s Office of Native American Affairs, which promotes and enhances small business services and opportunities for Native Americans. He remains an active member of the White House Council on Native American Affairs, the White House Rural Council, White House Community Solutions Task Force and the White House Interagency Group on Insular Affairs.
James is responsible for providing senior leadership to almost 50 percent of the SBA’s budgeted workforce including insuring the implementation of its overall goals, programs, and operations. He is also responsible for management and oversight of over 90 offices covering all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and all U.S. Territories and strengthening relationships between federal, state, local, and tribal partners.
James has nearly 20 years of experience in the field of small business and economic development with particular experience working with underserved communities. Before joining the SBA, Mr. James was an associate program manager at the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) in Washington. Prior to joining the CDFI Fund, he was associate director and senior loan officer for the Sequoyah Fund, Inc., a CDFI in Cherokee.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and a master’s degree in entrepreneurship from Western Carolina University. He was previously an active member of the Certified Entrepreneurial Council, Blue Ridge Entrepreneurial Council, National Association of Developmental Organizations, and the North Carolina Incubator Association.