CSWASHINGTON, March 5, 2014 -- A coalition of small business organizations, led by the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) and Small Business Majority, commend the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee for its bipartisan support of Maria Contreras-Sweet as the next SBA Administrator. In a display of strong support, the Committee voted unanimously by voice vote in favor of Ms. Contreras-Sweet's confirmation, which will now proceed to the Senate for final confirmation.

Contreras-Sweet, Founder and Executive Chairwoman of ProAmérica Bank and former California Secretary of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, will bring 25 years of executive experience in both the public and private sectors to the Small Business Administration.

"The USHCC commends the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee for voting in favor of Maria Contreras-Sweet's nomination, and moving us one step closer to having a new head of the Small Business Administration," said USHCC President & CEO Javier Palomarez. "Ms. Contreras-Sweet is a highly qualified candidate who not only brings years of relevant experience to the role, but also possesses a profound understanding and unwavering dedication to America's minority-owned businesses. We call on our nation's Senators to do what is right for America's small business community and confirm Maria Contreras-Sweet as Administrator of the SBA before the upcoming Senate recess."

"Today's Senate committee vote to advance Maria Contreras-Sweet's nomination as SBA Administrator is an important step forward to providing strong leadership for the small business community," said John Arensmeyer, Founder & CEO of Small Business Majority. "She is a proven champion of small businesses and her diverse background working to expand access to capital, encourage investment and promote job creation in the government, non-profit and private sectors will be a critical asset for her new role as SBA administrator, especially during these difficult economic times."

Early last month, the USHCC and Small Business Majority sent a letter of support with nine other national small business associations to Committee leadership. Should the Senate ultimately vote in her favor, Maria will be the first Latina appointed to the SBA since the post was elevated to a full cabinet-level agency in 2012.

 "The National Association for the Self-Employed is enthusiastic in our support for the immensely qualified Maria Contreras-Sweet to lead the Small Business Administration," said NASE Vice President for Government Relations and Public Affairs Katie Vlietstra. "The year ahead is full of critical challenges that the NASE is eager to work to address with the leadership of the SBA, ranging from the implementation of the new health care law to tax filing changes to the continued inequity in the tax code faced by the self-employed. Our community will need a strong and vocal advocate inside the Administration to ensure we have the tools and resources to be competitive not only locally, but also globally."

"Ensuring that our members continue to have access to capital, contracting, and counseling will allow them to remain competitive in today's global economy. I look forward to working closely with Mrs. Contreras-Sweet to develop and implement new and existing SBA programs to help America's 2 million Black-owned businesses continue to grow and prosper," said Ron Busby, President and CEO of the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.

"The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) is proud to join with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and other organizations in support of Maria Contreras-Sweet as the next Administrator for the Small Business Administration," said NMSDC President Joset Wright-Lacy. "She brings a unique combination of public policy experience and business leadership as an entrepreneur and in the private sector to this important role. Asian, Black, Hispanic and Native American-owned businesses, as well as other minority-owned firms are the engines that drive the nation's economic growth. We look forward to partnering with Ms. Contreras-Sweet and the SBA to ensure that small and minority-owned businesses have the tools, opportunities and support to remain vital contributors to the domestic and global economy."

"During her testimony, Contreras-Sweet made it clear that as a small business owner, she understands the needs of small business," said Heidi Pickman, spokesperson for CAMEO (California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity). "Her understanding won her bipartisan praise. But for our organization, the most important part of her testimony was when she demonstrated her understanding and of the importance of microloans to building wealth in communities. She said that CDFIs and programs like CAMEO have been good stewards of making sure that underserved communities have access to a first line of credit."

"We could not be more pleased with the selection and urge the Senate to confirm Maria Contreras-Sweet as soon as possible," said Justin Nelson, NGLCC President & Co-Founder. "Maria Contreras-Sweet represents the very best interests of diverse-owned small businesses and has expansive experience supporting small business development both as an entrepreneur and as a public official. This is exactly the kind of advocate we need to lead an agency that represents all of America's entrepreneurs."

About the USHCC

Founded in 1979, the USHCC actively promotes the economic growth and development of our nation's entrepreneurs. The USHCC advocates on behalf of nearly 3.2 million Hispanic-owned businesses, that together contribute in excess of $468 billion to the American economy, each year. As the leading organization of its kind, the USHCC serves as an umbrella to more than 200 local chambers and business associations across the nation, and partners with more than 220 major corporations.

For more information, visit www.ushcc.com

Follow us on Twitter @USHCC

About the Small Business Majority

Small Business Majority is a national small business organization, founded and run by small business owners, to support America's 28 million small businesses. We conduct extensive opinion and economic research and work with our rapidly growing network of small business owners across the country to ensure their voices are an integral part of the public policy debate. Learn more about us on Wikipedia and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

About the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE)

The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) is the nation's leading resource for the self-employed and micro-businesses, bringing a broad range of benefits to help entrepreneurs succeed and to drive the continued growth of this vital segment of the American economy. The NASE Small Business Locator helps identify and connect our nation's smallest businesses. The NASE is a 501(c) (6) nonprofit organization and provides big-business advantages to hundreds of thousands of micro-businesses across the United States. For more information, visit the association's website at NASE.org

About the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. 

The U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC) provides committed, visionary leadership and advocacy in the realization of economic empowerment. Through the creation of resources and initiatives, we support African American Chambers of Commerce and business organizations in their work of developing and growing Black enterprises.

About the National Minority Supplier Development Council Inc ® (NMSDC®)

The NMSDC Network includes a national office in New York and regional councils across the country. There are 1,700 corporate members throughout the network, including America's top publicly-owned, privately-owned and foreign-owned companies as well as universities, hospitals and other buying institutions. The regional councils certify and match 12,000 minority-owned businesses with member corporations that want to purchase their products, services and solutions.


CAMEO's mission is to grow a healthy, vibrant, thriving environment for all entrepreneurs and start-up businesses by advancing the work of our statewide member network - the over 160 organizations, agencies and individuals dedicated to furthering the growth of micro-businesses in California. Annually CAMEO member organizations assist the 21,000 businesses that support 37,000 jobs.


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