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South Florida District Office Success Stories

South Florida District Office Success Stories

Sally Villalba and Pete De la Torre,  “Pete De La Torre Business Hour

There are people who are all talk and no action.  Pete De La Torre isn’t one of them.  You can truly say he is all talk and action.

As the host of Miami, Fla.’s only daily business news radio show, Pete’s business is helping people get and stay into business.   He is a one-of-a-kind communicator who takes a great deal of pride in reinventing small businesses through communication, training and professional speaking services.  He was awarded the 2015 State of Florida and SBA South Florida Small Business Media Advocate of the Year.

“Before I started my radio show, I was the executive director of the Doral Business Council where I helped grow our membership from 45 members to more than 700 in just six years.  Many of our members were small business owners with dreams and goals of success,” said Pete.

Raised in Miami from the age of five, the son of Cuban immigrant parents, Pete considers himself a hometown boy.

“This city is representative of everything that is happening to small businesses around the United States.  We are seeing tech companies started, small businesses exporting, and a new wave of entrepreneurship arriving with our international crowd.  It’s an exciting place to be,” he said.

Before he found his seat in front of the microphone and the head of a metropolitan business council, Pete spent 16 years importing flowers and became a pioneer in the floral industry.  He moved on to work in the financial services industry where he made his mark as an investment and insurance counselor.

“You might say my radio show was an accident.  I didn’t start out thinking I was going to go into the radio business.  The Doral Business Council had a weekly radio show that I did when I was the executive director and the idea of having my own show began there,” Pete recalled.

The “Pete De La Torre Business Hour” premiered on Miami’s 880 AM radio two years ago.

“Our program focuses on the most important local, late breaking topics and trends.  We have regular ‘Ask the Expert’ segments that feature domestic and international industry sectors that comprise the economic development and commerce opportunities in south Florida.  I also try to share innovative ideas on how to grow your sales and revenues with daily, practical ‘How-to-do’ tips,” said Pete.

A radio segment called “Let’s Talk SBA” began about 18 months ago and evolved from a bi-monthly segment to a weekly segment.

“We used to work with the SBA at small business workshops organized by the Doral Business Council.  So when the local district office pitched a story to me, I thought it would be a good fit for my radio show.  That’s when I realized the extent of resources available to small business owners and entrepreneurs.  That initial interview turned into a weekly segment,” said Pete.

Besides the weekly interviews with SBA south Florida staff members, Pete has interviewed two SBA Administrators, Karen Mills and Maria Contreras-Sweet; and other associate administrators and regional directors.

“I will continue to promote and advocate for small business because I truly believe it’s the backbone of this country and south Florida.

Pete is joined by co-host Sally Villalba, a commercial loan consultant and former baker.   Coincidentally, Villalba was a small business loan manager for more than 14 years at several Miami-area banks before becoming a consultant and radio host.  She has seen first-hand the value of SBA lending programs.

“Having a business professional like Sally on the show brings a greater perspective on financing and business development that you won’t hear on other radio shows,” said Pete.

De La Torre stays busy when he isn’t behind the morning microphone.  He is a motivational speaker, business consultant and sits on the advisory board of the US-Brazil Chamber of Commerce; the International MBA Advisory Board of Florida International University; and the Back on Track Network.  He is also a member of the Trustee Council of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce.

“As long as I have a voice, I’ll keep telling and encouraging entrepreneurs and small business owners where they can find help.  SBA is among the best resources for small business owners in south Florida and I want entrepreneurs to think about them first.”