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.
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.
Thank you, Jeannine, for that generous introduction and for your outstanding leadership as AARP Board President. It’s great to share the stage with a fellow Californian. I know you all had options today about which speaker to see, and I understand the competing presentation was part of the “travel and lifestyle” track. The fact that you chose the “money and work” track lets me know this is my kind of crowd. Thank you all for coming.
Thank you for that generous introduction. It’s great to be on a California university campus, as a Cal State-LA alum myself. I’m proud to be here in La Jolla representing the Obama administration. Thank you all for coming.
The economic leadership we’re seeing here at UC-San Diego is extraordinary. It’s the reason we’ve chosen this campus to make some national news about an important new initiative to support America’s innovators in their efforts to create small business start-ups.
Thank you Martha for that generous introduction and to the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners for hosting us today. I also want to thank Doug McKalip of the White House Domestic Policy Council for his incredible leadership on issues facing rural America and rural entrepreneurs, in particular. And Phil Karsting, who runs the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service and has been instrumental in promoting ag exports. A special thank you to Tara Rice from the USDA, who has done yeoman's to put this event together.
Good morning, SCORE, and happy golden anniversary! What a special occasion to be together to celebrate what this organization has meant to America’s entrepreneurs for the last 50 years. Let me start by thanking Tameka for her leadership in our Office of Entrepreneurial Development. I also want to recognize Ellen Thrasher for her passionate advocacy on behalf of the entire SCORE family.
SBA Small Business Contracting Annual Scorecard Release
Thank you, Chris, and to everyone here at the Goddard Space Flight Center for hosting us. What a beautiful facility!
I’m so pleased to be with Senator Ben Cardin and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, who’ve both been tireless supporters of small business.
The Washington Post said it well. Senator Cardin is “sensible, tough-minded and independent.” He has “proven integrity, formidable intellect and an unstinting work ethic.” Senator Cardin is a true champion for America’s small businesses.
Thank you, Enrique, for that generous introduction. Good afternoon, NCLR! It’s wonderful to be home in Los Angeles with so many friends. I want to thank Janet and Jorge for the gracious invitation to be with you – and for outdoing themselves yet again with another impactful Annual Conference.
Celebrating 50 Years of Civil Rights Leadership at SBA
Thank you, Ron, for that generous introduction, your commitment to economic growth, and your forward-looking leadership here at the Chamber.
I also want to congratulate Congresswoman Maxine Waters from the great state of California for her award and her tireless advocacy of the African-American community and black entrepreneurs in particular. And I have to acknowledge the leadership of Congressman Butterfield, who is doing incredibly important work every day on Capitol Hill as a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Three months ago, I took my oath at the SBA after spending most of my career as an entrepreneur and a business banker in Los Angeles. As I’ve traveled the country and asked America’s small business owners their No. 1 challenge, I get some version of the same answer. They tell me, “Our customers love what we’re selling. Now, I just need the working capital to scale up so we can service more of them.”