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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.

Manufacturing Day

Good morning, everyone. I’m delighted to be here in Milford at First State Manufacturing – one of the SBA’s proudest success stories – to celebrate National Manufacturing Day. Today’s gathering is one of 1,500 events happening across America to shine the spotlight on 21st century manufacturing. To put that into perspective: It’s double the number of events held on National Manufacturing Day last year.

Americas Society / Council of the Americas Forum

Thank you for that kind introduction and for the invitation to be here today to talk about the growing role that small businesses play in our trading relationship with Mexico. Let me start by acknowledging that the Americas Society and Council of the Americas have been indispensable thought leaders in this area, and your work has helped to strengthen and expand North American commerce.

White House African-American Faith Leaders Briefing

Good afternoon.  It’s wonderful to be with you. I want to thank the Valerie Jarret and White House Office of Public Engagement – and Ashley Allison, in particular – for organizing today’s briefing.

Let me begin by asking for a show of hands. How many of you saw the President’s speech at the U.N. yesterday? I’d like to share some of what he said:

“Many Faces, One Dream" LGBT Leaders Summit

Good morning and welcome. I’d like to open today by going out on a limb and saying I think we all have something profound in common. Eugene, Sharon, you, me, and President Barack Obama. We all believe America is about inclusion. That belief is core to who I am, and I know it’s at the core of the President’s value system, too.

I immigrated to this country at the age of 5 from Mexico, not speaking a word of English. Yet I was able to start three businesses, and now I have a seat in cabinet of the President of the United States. In no other country in the world is my story possible.

National HUBZone Conference

Good morning.  Thank you, Chairwoman Bailey, for that warm introduction and thanks to you and your fellow Board members for all of your hard work. I also want to recognize Mark Crowley for his dedicated, thoughtful leadership of the HUBZone Contractors National Council. I’m told about one-third of our entrepreneurs who are here today are new to the program, so let me just affirm the critical role that this Council plays to promote economic development and job growth by helping companies like yours get federal contracts.

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