SBA Administrator Kicks-Off Hispanic Heritage Month

By Miguel Ayala

NEW YORK – U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet today hosted a Hispanic Heritage Month Small Business Roundtable discussion at New York’s City Hall. She was joined by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Robert Cornegy, City Council Chair of the Small Business Committee and local New York City Chambers.

This was the Administrator’s first Hispanic Heritage Month as a member of President Obama’s Cabinet, having taken her oath in April. As an immigrant and an entrepreneur, Contreras-Sweet expressed the importance of providing opportunities to Hispanic entrepreneurs to grow our economy.

“There are more than 3 million Latino-owned businesses in America today and they are starting businesses at three times the national average. To further that growth, SBA micro-lending under President Obama has increased dramatically for Latinos, growing to 43 percent the number of SBA-backed microloans last year, up from 14 percent in 2009. Latino purchasing power is expected to top $1.5 trillion by next year, which means, if the American Latino market were it’s own country, we’d be the 11th largest economy in the world. As Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off, I want Americans to know that one of my priorities is to increase access to capital to our underserved communities,” said Contreras-Sweet.

The Administrator also spoke on the importance of the Affordable Care Act and its open enrollment for small business owners, beginning November 15th. “Thanks to the ACA, small employers now have a level playing field when it comes to health care. For the first time, small business owners have the opportunity to leverage their buying power with other small businesses in the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace.”

Overall, the roundtable highlighted how the SBA unlocks the potential of small businesses and emphasized how the agency is retooling itself as a smart, bold, and accessible resource for small business owners around the country.

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