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Op-Ed: Providing more access, opportunity to Hispanic-owned small businesses

Author Jorge Silva-Puras is SBA regional administrator, overseeing agency operations in New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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 more than $261 million in loans to small businesses in Puerto Rico since 2009 while nearly $575 million in federal government contracts have been awarded to small disadvantaged 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 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
  • Business 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.

President Obama has said that when small businesses succeed, America succeeds. And the entire Obama Administration 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.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 29 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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