Op-ed OEX23-03

Op-ed by Aikta Marcoulier: Hispanic Entrepreneurship at the Forefront of American Business Boom

Each year from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, Americans celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month by recognizing the unique cultures, numerous contributions and rich histories of the Latino community in the United States. Hispanic heritage and traditions hold an important place in the heart and soul of our nation and this recognition reminds us that the American identity is a fabric of diverse traditions and stories woven together.   During National Hispanic Heritage Month, we reaffirm that diversity is one of our country’s greatest strengths.  

The Biden-Harris administration and U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman are committed to the success of Hispanic communities.  More Hispanics than ever before are seizing the opportunity to create new businesses which enhance our cities and neighborhoods. Data shows that the five million Latino-owned businesses contribute $800 billion each year to our economy.   In the past decade, Latino entrepreneur growth rates have risen 10 times faster than non-Latino businesses. Within SBA’s Region 10, Hispanic businesses employ thousands of workers and contribute millions of dollars to local economies. The number of Hispanic-owned businesses are impressive: nearly 3,000 in Alaska; more than 9,000 in Idaho; over 23,000 in Oregon; and more than 36,000 in Washington State.

Both President Biden and Administrator Guzman – the highest-ranking Latina in the President’s administration – have made strengthening Hispanic-owned small businesses a priority. Over the last 33 months we have seen the fastest creation rate of Hispanic-owned businesses in over a decade, which was more than 20% faster than pre-pandemic levels. The president made a goal of increasing by 50% the amount of federal contracting dollars going to small, disadvantaged businesses by 2025, which translates to an additional $100 billion for minority-owned and other underserved businesses and will help more Americans realize their entrepreneurial dreams. 

President Biden directed the development of an ambitious, government-wide interagency plan to advance equity, justice and opportunity for Latino communities. The SBA established four equity goals that focus on direct assistance including:

GOAL 1. Improve access to capital for underserved communities, including Hispanic small business owners. SBA is investing in additional technology to match underserved borrowers with Community Financial Institutions including Community Development Financial Institutions. For borrowers, application requirements will be simplified, data will integrate automatically, a high-quality customer service support system will be available and the process will be mobile-friendly. 

GOAL 2. Expand access to federal procurement and contracting opportunities. SBA will enroll more small, disadvantaged businesses into its business development and contracting programs including the 8(a) Business Development program, HUBZone program and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business certification program. The goal is to strengthen those businesses’ capabilities to compete and perform on contracts. 

GOAL 3. Provide support and expanded access to disaster assistance. SBA will work with its field and program offices to develop a systematic and formal process with its resource partners to assist minority-owned businesses with disaster loans including application completion, reconsiderations, credit repair and managerial and technical services. 

GOAL 4. Increase access to business counseling, training and services. SBA will investigate innovative approaches for reaching Hispanic and immigrant clients through its Community Navigators Pilot Program, Women’s Business Centers, Small Business Development Centers, SCORE and Procurement Technical Assistance Centers.

This equity plan is in addition to the legislative successes over the last three years including the American Rescue Plan, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 which makes urgent investments that will bring down costs, level the playing field and open historic opportunities for America’s 33 million small businesses and innovative startups – especially those businesses owned by minorities, women and veterans.  

During National Hispanic Heritage Month, we carry on the important work of honoring Hispanic culture and entrepreneurship.  Let us give thanks to the many generations of Hispanic leaders who have helped build this country and continue to fight for equality and justice.  Let us pledge to invest in the next generation of Hispanic entrepreneurs who will continue to be the shining stars of their communities. 

For more information on how the SBA can assist your small business start, grow or expand, please visit www.sba.gov.

(Aikta Marcoulier oversees the SBA’s programs and services as the agency’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Northwest serving Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. She is also the Regional Administrator serving Colorado, Montana, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.) 

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To schedule an interview with Aikta Marcoulier or learn more about the U.S. Small Business Administration, please contact:
Silvia Klatman
Talk/text: (206) 852-7538

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About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov

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