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Speeches

The SBA Administrator

MARIA CONTRERAS-SWEET

Entrepreneurial Equality: New Tools for a More Inclusive SBA

 

Thank you, Neera, for that kind introduction and to the entire team at the Center for American Progress for hosting us today.

I recently received a call that would change my life and move my husband and me across the country. Two months ago, President Obama tasked me with three objectives: run an effective SBA, be a strong voice for America's small businesses, and take the agency to the next level. I embraced this exciting and worthy mission, knowing small businesses are the backbone of our economy.

Keynote Address for the National Association of Guaranteed Government Lenders Annual Meeting

 

Thank you, Tony, for that generous introduction.  And thank you to Lynn Ozer, the Board of Directors, and the hard-working NAGGL staff for planning this conference.  I especially want to thank whoever had the idea to meet here in sunny Florida. As Tony mentioned, before I came to SBA, I was a business banker in Los Angeles. There were a lot of April showers in my first month in Washington, so it’s nice to be back in the sunshine talking to my fellow bankers. It feels a little like home – only, less traffic.

Keynote Address to the National Association of Development Companies Annual Meeting

 

Thank you, Sally, for that generous introduction. I’d also like to thank Beth Solomon; the board of directors; and the incredible NADCO staff for your hard work in planning this conference. I’m delighted to be with you here in Colorado Springs.  I feel like I’m among kindred spirits.

I know you’re here because you have a passion for the kind of economic development work that can transform communities. You’re mission-based lenders, and I want to be your champion in Washington because I’m one of you.

Opportunities for Women in Federal Contracting

 

Thank you for that generous introduction. And thanks to all of you for being here. This is a very special day for me. Two and a half weeks ago, Vice President Biden swore me in as the 24th SBA Administrator. President Obama even stopped by my swearing-in to welcome me and talk about the importance of small businesses to our economy.

SBA Administrator Swearing-In Ceremony

 

Thank you, Mr. Vice President, for those kind words. I also want to thank the President for his confidence and for giving me this opportunity to be an advocate for America’s 28 million small businesses. And I want to thank the members of Senate for their vote of confidence.  I look forward to working with all of the members of Congress.

Keynote Remarks for SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet

Buenos tardes. Good afternoon. Thank you, Tony, for that gracious introduction and to Brent and the incredible LULAC staff for all their hard work in planning this year’s national convention. I also want to congratulate Margaret Moran for her four years of outstanding leadership of LULAC and her great work in San Antonio.

I’m delighted to be with you today. This has been an incredible journey for me. I feel blessed to have this opportunity to serve as SBA Administrator and be a champion for America’s small business owners.

Let me start by recognizing Marie Johns, our fabulous Deputy Administrator. She is doing amazing work for small businesses around the country. She is a proven leader, a change agent and a tireless advocate for your businesses.

National Small Business Week is one of my favorite times of the year. I love hearing your stories. Learning about your businesses. It truly is inspiring.

Thank you, Saul. Not only for that kind introduction, but for the work that you and your colleagues at the Business Innovation Factory do to fuel an environment where entrepreneurs can grow and succeed.

I know you also have a new book coming out later this month about the importance of adapting business models to changing times – and I look forward to reading it.

Thank you. It’s truly an honor to be here this evening.

Let me quickly recognize those who make this event possible: My friend John Berry. Let me also thank the State Department for hosting us. As well as Carol Bonosaro and her team, who work so tirelessly to make sure this event is a success.

Please give them a round of applause.

And I would like to congratulate all of you. You are receiving the civil services highest honor—Presidential Distinguished Rank.

Thank you, Stan, not only for that kind introduction, but for hosting us today.

Let me also thank the IBM International Foundation for its role in creating and maintaining the technical infrastructure of Supplier Connection.

It's an exciting and potentially game-changing resource for small businesses…and I want you to know how much we appreciate your hard work.

I also want to thank the 15 participating companies for teaming up to create this innovative public-private partnership. And it's great that Facebook has signed up as the newest partner.

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