By SBA Regional Administrator Natalia Olson-Urtecho
One of the Small Business Administration’s top priorities is to provide access and opportunity to small business owners in traditionally underserved communities. In fact since 2009, SBA has supported $13.5 billion in lending to underserved small businesses. In addition, SBA has supported $100.3 billion in federal government contracting dollars to small disadvantaged firms since 2009.
Locally, SBA has backed just under $80 million in loans to underserved communities in Delaware since 2009 while $123.7 million in federal government contracts have been awarded to Delaware based underserved firms since 2009.
As we see commercial lending improve across the country, we recognize there’s more work to be done and we know that challenges still exist. That’s why SBA is working hard to fill the gaps that remain in the market place and ensure that small business owners in underserved communities are aware of the assistance available to help them grow their businesses and create jobs.
Minority-owned businesses are some of the fastest growing segments of the economy, with Hispanic-owned small businesses leading all other demographics. September 15 marks the start of Hispanic Heritage Month in America. At SBA, we’ve joined forces with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) to help support thousands of Hispanic small businesses and entrepreneurs. We will pilot the partnership with eight city and state Hispanic Chambers: Austin, Texas; Calif.; El Paso, Texas; Fla.; Nashville, Tenn.; Ohio; Philadelphia, Pa.; and Utah. Through this collaboration, the SBA and USHCC will work to increase Hispanic-owned small business participation in SBA programs, including:
In combining our efforts, we will work to increase lending to Hispanic small businesses; increase awareness of SBA programs and services among Hispanic-owned small businesses; increase participation of small Hispanic-owned businesses in SBA’s procurement programs, with a focus on women and veterans; and increase trade opportunities for small Hispanic-owned businesses. As a member of the UHSCC network, this alliance holds great potential for your membership. We urge you to take advantage of the benefits of this partnership.
The SBA team at the Delaware District Office stands ready, willing and able to help your members emerge from the recession stronger and more competitive than before. The Delaware District Office has assisted numerous Hispanic owned small businesses including First State Manufacturing in Milford. Owners Eli Valenzuela, Sher Valenzuela, and Ashley Wolfe operate a thriving upholstery business employing more than 40 technicians working in a new 66,000 sq. ft. facility. During the past decade SBA provided First State with financial, procurement and technical assistance.
President Obama has said that when small businesses succeed, America succeeds and SBA is committed to supporting our nation’s entrepreneurs, including minorities, women, veterans, people with disabilities and those in rural areas. Working together, we can build growing vibrant communities, get people back to work and ensure that we have a 21st century American economy that’s built to last.