Lomé, Togo – Yesterday, as part of President Biden’s ongoing efforts to strengthen diplomatic and economic relations between the United States and Africa, Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), met with Togo Prime Minister Victoire S. Tomégah-Dogbé in Lomé. The meeting was part of Administrator Guzman’s multi-day trip to West Africa, where she also met with national leaders and local entrepreneurs in Togo and Côte d’Ivoire to promote entrepreneurship and highlight trade opportunities for small businesses.
During their meeting, Administrator Guzman and Prime Minister Tomégah-Dogbé discussed avenues to foster inclusive growth, including strategies to help more women and young people start businesses and enter regional and international trade. The leaders also discussed how the SBA is supporting women small business owners and the African diaspora in the United States, including through the SBA’s Women’s Business Centers (WBCs). Administrator Guzman and Prime Minister Tomégah-Dogbéalso spoke about the importance of digitalization for small businesses as well as opportunities for strengthening the United States’s trade and investment partnerships in Togo.
Following her meeting with Prime Minister Tomégah-Dogbé, Administrator Guzman visited an artesian village, where she met with local female small business owners and learned about their journey to small business ownership. Later in the day, she attended a reception for the Millenium Challenge Corporation Threshold Program dedicated to celebrating the expansion of a successful partnership in Togo and to empower Togolese women entrepreneurs to grow their business through data and digital skills while preparing them to benefit from the growing digital economy.
Administrator Guzman also highlighted international trade and export opportunities in a roundtable with local entrepreneurs. At the roundtable, Administrator Guzman learned about how U.S. government programs like Prosper Africa, the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program, and The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program (SSH) help increase international trade. While visiting Beeswax, a U.S. small business with a facility in Togo, she learned about how they successfully utilized SBA funding to expand their business opportunities as well as the challenges they still face in exporting.
Administrator Guzman is the first SBA administrator to travel to West Africa. This historic visit showcases how this Administration’s whole-of-government approach is delivering on crucial commitments President Biden announced at the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit in December 2022.
For follow-up interview requests for Administrator Guzman, please contact Rebecca Galanti at Rebecca.Galanti@sba.gov.
About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. 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.