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SBA Administrator Delivers State of Entrepreneurship Address at Nasdaq MarketSite

Release Date: 
Friday, February 12, 2016
Release Number: 
Terry Sutherland (202) 205-6919

WASHINGTONMaria Contreras-Sweet, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration and a member of President Obama’s Cabinet, delivered a compelling State of Entrepreneurship address at the Nasdaq Marketsite in New York City today.

As the voice of entrepreneurs in President Obama’s Cabinet, Contreras-Sweet’s message resonated for the assembled audience of entrepreneurs, small business owners, community leaders, bankers and the financial industry, especially her comment “From Main Street to Wall Street, the state of entrepreneurship is strong. But without our serious attention, it won’t stay that way.”

Throughout her remarks she touched the pulse of the American economy noting that important changes that have taken place over the past seven years as the nation has been in recuperation and rebuilding. She also noted that, while U.S. entrepreneurship is strong, demographics are changing rapidly. “There’s an increased focus on gender equity, which is long overdue.  The clean energy revolution is real and gaining momentum.  The new gig economy has people working in ways we’d never dreamed of and is disrupting entrenched economic interests,” Contreras-Sweet said.

Contreras-Sweet also emphasized the importance and impact that small businesses make in the world economy: “If our small business sector were a country, our output would rank No. 3 above Germany and Japan. Small firms employ half of the private sector.  They’re creating 2 out 3 net, new jobs.”

To keep lending strong and robust Contreras-Sweet called for more banks to be active SBA lenders.  Just a third of America’s 6,200 banks are active SBA lenders to date. “We need America’s big banks fully in the game. Those banks rethinking their retrenchment are adding value to their books.  Charge-offs and delinquencies for commercial loans are at their lowest rate in nearly a decade.  So today, I challenge all banks to re-engage in small business lending. You’ll be doing a service to your country and your institution’s bottom line,” she added.

According to the latest Census data from December, minority ownership is up 38 percent over five years. These firms provide 7 million jobs.  Women’s ownership rates are up 27 percent, employing 8 million workers. “Women and minorities own record numbers of businesses, but they can’t afford the capital to grow.  Hispanics and African-Americans represent 25 percent of the population . . . Yet only one percent of VC capital flows to Hispanic or black entrepreneurs.  Does anyone honestly believe these communities are the source of just one percent of our best business ideas?” said Contreras-Sweet.

For a full transcript and to read more about the three major players in our ecosystem: institutions, investors and innovators along with incubators, accelerators and innovation research programs visit