By Calvin W. Goings U.S. Small Business Administration
One of the Small Business Administration’s top priorities is to provide access and opportunity to small-business owners in traditionally underserved communities. Nationwide, SBA has supported $13.5 billion in lending to underserved small businesses since 2009. And SBA has supported $100.3 billion in federal government contracting dollars to small disadvantaged firms since 2009.
Locally, SBA has backed nearly $58 million in loans to Hispanic-owned businesses in Washington state and Northern Idaho 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. Sept. 15 marked the start of Hispanic Heritage Month in America. At the SBA, we’ve joined forces with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) to help support thousands of Hispanic small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Through this collaboration, the SBA and USHCC will work to increase Hispanic-owned small-business participation in SBA programs, including:
• Loan programs and access to capital initiatives;
• Government contracting programs like the 8(a) program and the Women-Owned Small Program;
• Up to date information and access to SBA’s extensive resource partner network; and
• International trade opportunities to achieve the goals of the President’s National Export Initiative.
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.
Take advantage of the benefits of this partnership. The SBA team at the Seattle district office stands ready, willing and able to help your small business emerge from the recession stronger and more competitive than before.
When small businesses succeed, America succeeds. And we are committed to supporting our nation’s entrepreneurs. 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.
Calvin Goings is assistant associate administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration in Washington, D.C.