WASHINGTON – Policy experts at The Greenlining Institute applauded Small Business Administration chief Maria Contreras-Sweet’s priorities announced today in remarks at the Center for American Progress.
After strongly supporting Administrator Contreras-Sweet’s nomination, the Greenlining Institute and its coalition published an open letter with recommendations for what she could accomplish within her first 100 days of taking office. These recommendations included suggestions about building small business capacity, increasing access to capital for small businesses, improving small business data, championing diversity and prioritizing supplier diversity.
Contreras-Sweet’s remarks today aligned with many of Greenlining’s suggestions, drawing praise from Executive Director Orson Aguilar. “From government contracting opportunities to expanding SBA lending to diverse entrepreneurs, the Administrator is showing that she understands the importance of growing businesses rooted in communities of color,” said Aguilar. “As our nation becomes increasingly diverse, our economic prosperity will depend more than ever on the success of small businesses of color. These businesses often act as neighborhood anchors, with higher rates of job creation than their white counterparts.”
In her remarks, Contreras-Sweet noted that “capital is not reaching small business owners equitably” and focused on expanding access to core SBA programs known as “three Cs” – capital, consultation and contracting. “The face of entrepreneurship is changing in America, “said Contreras-Sweet. “More of those faces today belong to women, Latinos, African Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, veterans, seniors, and business owners who are socially and economically disadvantaged. Too many in these groups cannot access the requisite expansion capital. Your gender, your race, your age, or your neighborhood should never impact whether you can get a small business loan. Only your creditworthiness should.”
Contreras-Sweet also remarked on the importance of cutting through red tape to increase access to capital for business owners from “all walks of life,” and emphasized improving government contracting opportunities for small businesses.
“We look forward to a continuing dialogue with the Small Business Administration as the agency works to revitalize this critical sector of our economy,” Aguilar said.