Small Business Administration re-doubles efforts in outreach to Hispanic entrepreneurs
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SBA Administrator Linda McMahonLinda Marie McMahonThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — White House to 'temporarily reinstate' Acosta's press pass after judge issues order | Graham to take over Judiciary panel | Hand recount for Florida Senate race The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by T-Mobile — Democratic race for Speaker turns nasty Mulvaney positioning himself to be Commerce Secretary: report MORE is dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs as they start, grow and manage small businesses across America. In fact, this administration’s deregulation and tax reform policies have made tremendous strides in assisting new and existing entrepreneurs in communities across our country. Because of these policies we have reached historic levels of optimism among small business owners. Despite these gains, one individual recently asserted (“The Small Business Administration’s misguided plan to eliminate SBA en espanol,” Sept. 19, 2018) that federal agencies are systematically eliminating “Hispanic-focused resources, programs and opportunities.” As evidence, this person pointed to the SBA recently deactivating access to Spanish language web resources.

This assertion cannot be farther from the truth. The SBA, under the leadership of Administrator McMahon, is committed to reaching out and providing exceptional services to a wide-variety of communities, including the Hispanic community. The fact is, there have never been more tools, resources, and hands-on assistance available to helping Hispanic entrepreneurs succeed. Here are just a few ways that the SBA is serving the Hispanic small businesses community:

  • In FY 2017, the SBA helped Hispanic American firms win $8.6 billion worth of federal contracts set aside for small businesses.
  • Likewise, flagship SBA loans to Hispanic American firms grew by 8.4 percent to total $1.34 billion.
  • In FY 2017, 11 percent more Hispanics participated in the Emerging Leaders program that provides free entrepreneurship education and training for executives of small, growing companies than participated in 2016.
  • The agency is also embarking on an ambitious online effort to build SBA brand awareness among Hispanics (e.g. Sobre la SBA, La SBA es su aliado, and La SBA: Impulsa el sueño Americano)
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In terms of the availability of Spanish language web resources – here is the real story. As we all know, cyber security threats are real. Thanks to bipartisan support in Congress, the SBA last year significantly expanded cyber education programs designed to help small businesses protect against growing cyber risks. Additionally, the SBA has taken steps to improve cyber security and is revamping its internal IT systems. In this context, a decision was made to deactivate the Spanish web-pages that existed on an outdated web operating system that was susceptible to hacking and move the same resources to a more secure system. In order to make this transition, the Spanish web pages must be rebuilt.

The SBA is working diligently to revamp and launch the Spanish language web pages using new secure cyber architecture. The web-pages are being developed by a team of dedicated Spanish speaking professionals and will be rolled out by the end of the year. Priority is being given to the pages that are visited by more than 90 percent of visitors and include; guidance to obtain disaster assistance for survivors of Hurricane Florence, the Business Guide section, and information on Lender Match to access loan guarantees from lenders.

In keeping with Administrator McMahon’s commitment to the Hispanic community, she has also directed the SBA team to improve outreach to the community significantly. Here are some additional resources that are being made available:

  • Spanish-language videos that are being used for public service announcements and in local presentations are available at https://www.sba.gov/brand/videos/.
  • The Spanish-language versions of the revamped marketing materials and resources the SBA provides will be available to our local SBA office to use in their outreach activities by the end of October. 
  • The Spanish-language version of the SBA Resource Guide will be available to the community in the near future.

The Trump administration is committed to providing Hispanic entrepreneurs with not only the resources they need to succeed, but also the right policies. Hispanic Americans are better off economically today than they were before this administration’s policies were put in place. Last year, Hispanic household median real income grew by 3.7 percent – twice the growth rate among all median income. Hispanic unemployment has been under 5 percent for five months straight and has reached record lows under this administration.

Of course, there is always more that can be done. That is why this administration is advancing new rules that will make it easier for Hispanic small businesses to offer health care and retirement benefits to their employees.

The SBA is proud to be a part of an administration that is bringing unprecedented prosperity to the Hispanic community by providing resources to Hispanic small businesses in America.

Allen Gutierrez is Associate Administrator for the Office of Entrepreneurial Development in the U.S. Small Business Administration.