Americans celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month to recognize the many contributions, diverse cultures and extensive histories of the Latino community in the United States. The celebration reminds us of the American fabric of diverse traditions and stories woven together.
The U.S. Small Business Administration remains committed to the success of Hispanic communities. More Hispanics than ever before are seizing opportunities to open new businesses. Data shows 5 million Latino-owned businesses contribute a total of
$800 billion each year to the U.S. economy. In Colorado, Hispanics own nearly 73,000 small businesses, employing thousands of workers and contributing to local economies.
Both President Joe Biden and SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman — the highest-ranking Latina in the cabinet — have made strengthening Hispanic-owned small businesses a priority. The last 33 months have seen the fastest creation rate of Hispanic-owned businesses in more than a decade, more than 20 percent faster than pre-pandemic levels. The president set a goal of increasing by 50 percent the amount of federal contracting dollars going to small, disadvantaged businesses by 2025 — an additional $100 billion for minority owned and other underserved businesses.
President Biden directed the development of an interagency plan to advance equity, justice and opportunity for Latino communities. The SBA established four goals:
Improve access to capital for underserved communities, including Hispanic small business owners. SBA is investing in additional technology to match underserved borrowers with Community Financial Institutions (CFIs), including Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). For borrowers, application requirements will be simplified, data will integrate automatically, a high-quality customer service support system will be available and the process will be mobile-friendly.
Expand access to procurement and contracting opportunities. SBA will enroll more small, disadvantaged businesses into its business development and contracting programs, including the 8(a) business development program, HUBZone program and economically disadvantaged women-owned small business certification program.
Provide support and expanded access to disaster assistance. SBA will work with its field and program offices to develop a systematic and formal process with its resource partners to assist minority owned businesses with disaster loans.
Increase access to business counseling, training and services. SBA will investigate innovative approaches for reaching Hispanic and immigrant clients through its Community Navigators Pilot Program, Women’s Business Centers, Small Business Development Centers, SCORE and Procurement Technical Assistance Centers.
During National Hispanic Heritage Month, we carry on the important work of honoring Hispanic culture and entrepreneurship. Let’s give thanks to the generations of Hispanic leaders who’ve helped build this country and continue to fight for equality and justice. Let’s pledge to invest in the next generation of Hispanic men and women entrepreneurs who hold the destiny of our nation in their hands.
Aikta Marcoulier is SBA regional administrator in Denver. She oversees programs and services in Colorado, Montana, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. Frances Padilla is SBA Colorado District Director. For more information, visit www.sba.gov and or follow the SBA on X @SBArockymtn and @SBA_Colorado.