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.”
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.
The businesses we are honoring over the next few days embody America’s entrepreneurial spirit -- and our ability to create cutting-edge products and services that are revolutionizing industries.
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.