The Small Business Association (SBA) is congratulating more than 3.2 million Hispanic-owned businesses and entrepreneurs.
As Hispanic Heritage Month comes to what the SBA described as a “successful” close, the agency points out that millions of Hispanic business owners and entrepreneurs “work tirelessly to ensure that the economic prosperity of our nation is alive and well.” The Association also notes that these individuals contribute in excess of $468 billion to the United States economy annually.
The SBA also indicates that the United States has experienced what it describes as “an historic 55 months of consecutive job growth,” with small businesses not only leading the effort, but creating two out of every three net new jobs.
Maria Contreras-Sweet, SBA Administrator, who is also an entrepreneur, says that she understands “the challenges America’s small business owners face.” Ms. Contreras-Sweet not only joined President Barack Obama’s cabinet, she founded California’s first—in 35 years—Hispanic-owned business bank. The bank’s purpose is to help release the massive economic potential of the Hispanic community in Los Angeles, California, she noted.
Ms. Contreras-Sweet also says that, “The local SBA office was a valuable resource in helping entrepreneurs gain access to capital, counseling and contracts—the lifeblood of our small businesses and key determinants of their success.” She adds that, “As SBA Administrator, I have made ‘inclusivity’ the watchword of my tenure. The face of American entrepreneurship is changing; more belong to women, African, Asian, Native, and Hispanic Americans.”
Last year, the SBA broke its Hispanic entrepreneur lending record, according to Ms. Contreras-Sweet, and worked to ensure the granting of more than $1.3 billion in loans to the Hispanic entrepreneurial community. The SBA set its fees at zero for loans secured under $150,000, which increased this community’s access to important capital for small business owners nationwide.
Also, SBA’s resource partners “counseled hundreds of thousands of Hispanic business owners on the fundamentals of starting and growing their businesses,” Ms. Contreras-Sweet points out, noting that, on a daily basis “SBA staff works to help Hispanic businesses get more government and corporate contracts, and expand into international commerce.”
Says, Ms. Contreras-Sweet, her goal is to ensure that, “the letters S B A” will “stand for Smart, Bold, and Accessible, “ further ensuring the SBA’s programs and outreach are as inclusive and dynamic as the communities we serve.”
Now is the best time to open and expand a business in this country, she also notes, adding that the SBA is available to help this “generation of small business owners—and the next—realize their entrepreneurial dreams.”
Contreras-Sweet, Maria. Hispanic Businesses are at the Forefront of Small Business Growth; SBA Administrator; October 15, 2014.