Op-ed OEX24-01

Op-ed by Beto Yarce: Serving the Entrepreneurs of the Beautiful Pacific Northwest

The U.S. Small Business Administration has a strong history of helping millions of people reach their goals of business ownership, supporting their families and making a difference in their communities. It is an honor for me to be appointed by President Joe Biden to serve as the Regional Administrator for the U.S. SBA’s for Region 10, which includes Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Idaho.

Over the past 20 years, I’ve been a client and a partner with the SBA and I have witnessed firsthand the vital and impressive work that this agency does. It is truly humbling to have the opportunity to serve entrepreneurs and be a part of making a larger impact in their lives. My motivation and mission in life is centered around serving people and I take this responsibility seriously.

My entrepreneurial journey began in Mexico with selling candy ...when I was only eight years old. The spark of small business ownership quickly ignited into a burning passion that has been a part of me ever since.

When I moved to Seattle from Mexico in 2003, I started my jewelry business with just $250 and an ITIN number. At that time, I was undocumented but that didn’t stop me from pursuing my dreams. With the support of my amazing team and the incredible people who believed in my vision, we were able to grow our business. We opened multiple stores, participated in festivals across the region and had the opportunity to experience what success truly means to me – being able to pay the bills and build wealth through my business. ¡Si se puede!

Due to the success of my business in addition to assisting non-profit organizations, I was able to continue my personal growth and contributing to the community. This included running for Seattle City Council as well as being appointed to Washington State’s LGBTQ+ Commission, collaborating with the Mexican Consulate in Seattle and serving on numerous boards of directors and trustees such as the Greater Seattle Business Association and Cedarmere Foundation, which provides grants to organizations led by BIPOC.

Although my specific experiences are unique, the dream of business ownership and the determination of entrepreneurs is widespread throughout the country.

For example, hundreds of thousands of our friends and neighbors in Region 10 are small business owners. They employ more than half of our area’s workforce while pumping money into our economy and energy into our communities.  Economically and culturally diverse, Region 10 includes some of the most remote businesses in the entire nation as well as some of the most cutting-edge and innovative companies in the world.

The SBA has five locations in the Pacific Northwest to serve the needs of businesspeople: Anchorage, Alaska; Boise, Idaho; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle and Spokane, Washington. The dedicated professionals at these offices, along with our partner organizations, are passionate about business and eager to assist.

As an entrepreneur, immigrant and former small business owner, I have personally faced the challenges of navigating the system. I understand the struggles that small businesses go through and I am eager to use my experience to support and improve the services provided by the SBA. 

I am committed to continuing our region’s efforts to dedicate 50% of our outreach to minorities and underserved communities and connecting them to SBA resources. I also intend to take it to the next level by creating meaningful connections that will support the SBA ecosystem in serving these communities.

Other areas of focus for me are:

  • Explore partnerships and create a small business ecosystem that supports undocumented individuals and ITIN holders.
  • Increase the number of 504 borrowers representing BIPOC, LGBTQ, women and underserved communities.
  • Build stronger relationships with Native American and Alaska Native Corporations.
  • Explore the opportunity to create a pilot in Region 10 that supports Universal Income for Entrepreneurs. Other pilots hosted by U.S. Housing and Urban Development are happening nationwide and I would like to develop a plan to implement this in Region 10.
  • Increase resources and access to rural communities by utilizing technology.

Representation matters, and I am committed to ensuring that the voices of small business owners, especially those from diverse backgrounds, are heard and valued. I look forward to serving the creative, inspirational and resilient entrepreneurs of the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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

(Beto Yarce was appointed by President Joe Biden to oversee
the SBA’s programs and services as the agency’s Regional Administrator for the
Pacific Northwest serving Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.) 

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To schedule an interview with Beto Yarce 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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