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SBA Convenes Council on Underserved Communities Advisory Board Meeting

Diverse new membership appointed to examine obstacles facing small businesses; recommend policy changes to bolster SBA programs and services
Release Date: 
Friday, May 27, 2016
Release Number: 
Terry Sutherland (202) 205-6919

WASHINGTON – Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), recently convened a meeting of the Council on Underserved Communities (CUC) Advisory Board. 

Created in 2011, the CUC Advisory Board provides advice and counsel on initiatives to strengthen support for small businesses in underserved communities, examines the obstacles that small businesses in underserved communities currently face, and delivers perspectives from underserved groups regarding the efficacy of SBA programs and services.

In making the announcement, Administrator Contreras-Sweet said: “The Council on Underserved Communities is an important part of our ongoing effort to expand SBA services in order to better reach underserved communities and rural areas, as well minorities, women, veterans, and people with disabilities.  The work of the Council helps inform our mission and move our agency forward, particularly for socially, economically and geographically disadvantaged small business owners.  I look forward to working with this highly qualified and impressive group of new members and appreciate their willingness to serve.”

The board met at SBA headquarters in Washington, D.C., and explored ways in which SBA can form partnerships with underserved community organizations. Additionally, the CUC board members learned about the resources available through SBA to help small businesses launch and grow, and heard about ongoing efforts to use new technological applications to streamline SBA processes.

Administrator Contreras-Sweet appointed nine new CUC members and one member who had previously served on the Council.  The 10-member board represents a diverse range of backgrounds with experience in finance, community organizations, advocacy and entertainment.  Board members serve a two-year term. The CUC Advisory board members are:

  • Ron Busby Sr., President and CEO, U.S. Black Chamber, Inc. (has previously served on the Council)
  • Crystal Arredondo, MBA and Partner at MPACT Financial Group
  • Rebecca Cokley, Executive Director for the National Council on Disability
  • Gary Davis, President & CEO, National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development
  • Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO, AARP
  • John Molinaro, President and CEO, Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth
  • Mike Muse, Co-Founder of Muse Recordings
  • Justin G. Nelson, President and Co-Founder, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
  • Javier Palomarez, President and CEO, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Sach Takayasu, President and CEO, Asian Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce


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The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 and since January 13, 2012 has served as a Cabinet-level agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation.  The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses.  Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, the SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam.