The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), the country's largest Hispanic business organization, today congratulates Karen Mills for her many accomplishments as head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Earlier today, Mills announced her upcoming departure as SBA Administrator, a post she has held since 2009.
"Over the past few years, small businesses -- particularly those in the Hispanic community -- have made enormous economic contributions despite the lingering effects of a financial crisis and sluggish recovery," said USHCC President & CEO Javier Palomarez. "In no small part, this is due to the leadership of Karen Mills as SBA Administrator since 2009 and her promotion of policies that help small businesses grow and create jobs, while also broadening the scope of SBA's impact on America's minority entrepreneurs."
In March 2012, Administrator Mills launched a historic Strategic Alliance Memorandum with the USHCC aimed toward improving SBA's work in the Hispanic business community. That Strategic Alliance resulted in the launch of a pilot program to increase outreach efforts, lending opportunities, and business counseling for Hispanic entrepreneurs. Since then, local Hispanic chambers of commerce are reporting improved relationships with local SBA officials, and events are being created across the country to ensure that Hispanic business owners better understands the resources available to them through SBA.
"Karen Mills clearly understood the day to day sweat equity of small, minority, women, and veteran owned businesses, especially as it related to the launch of SBA's Strategic Alliance with the USHCC and their pilot chambers ," wrote Cindy Ramos-Davidson, CEO of the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
In a September 2012 statement, Mills said, "An economy built to last includes boosting entrepreneurship opportunities in Hispanic American communities. The SBA is having a powerful impact in this sector, with a billion dollars in loans to Hispanic-owned businesses last year alone. Combining our resources with the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will spur new business growth, drive competitiveness and innovation, and strengthen our economic recovery and growth."
During Administrator Mills's tenure, SBA supported more than $106 billion in loans to more than 193,000 small businesses and entrepreneurs. Those figures included a record $30.5 billion in loan guarantees in 2011 and $30.25 billion in 2012 (SBA Release, 2/11/2012).In federal contracting, she also led SBA to increase small business procurement at the agency by $32 billion to a record high of $286.3 billion dollars in small business contracts. Last year, President Obama elevated the agency to Cabinet level, which gives the Administration's small business head a stronger role in broader policy decisions.
"In naming a successor, we urge the President to continue SBA's renewed commitment to ensuring Hispanic entrepreneurs, the fastest growing segment of American enterprise, have access to the best opportunities for success," added Marc Rodriguez, USHCC Chairman of the Board.
About the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Founded in 1979, the USHCC actively promotes the economic growth and development of Hispanic entrepreneurs and represents the interests of over 3 million Hispanic-owned businesses across the United States that contribute in excess of $465 billion to the American economy each year. It also serves as the umbrella organization for more than 200 local Hispanic chambers and business associations in the United States and Puerto Rico. For more information, visit www.ushcc.com.
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