Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

SBA Administrator Says 21st Century Is about Small Business

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

SBA Administrator Says 21st Century Is about Small Business

Article excerpt

Discussed Market Initiative Which Will Help Minorities

"Now is the time to prepare for small business success in the twenty-first century," Small Business Association (SBA) Administrator Aida Alvarez told local elected officials.

Alvarez spoke at the Congressional City Conference's "Celebrate Diversity" breakfast, founded by the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBC-LEO) and cosponsored by NLC's five other constituency groups.

Alvarez, the first Hispanic woman, and the first person of Puerto Rican heritage to serve as a member of the President's Cabinet, said that she "has not been disappointed in the Clinton/Gore Administration. Clinton has appointed more women and minorities to his Cabinet that any other president." Alvarez noted Madeline Albright, Janet Reno, and the late Ron Brown.

"There were lots of firsts in this Administration," said Alvarez. "This gives us something to aspire to--no more firsts."

Why do people take pride in these appointments? Alvarez asked the audience. "If one of us makes it, it's a reflection on all of us. I believe passionately, as you do, in diversity," said Alvarez. "It's what motivates me every day."

A Focus on Untapped Markets

Alvarez looked to local officials for their support of the SBA's New Market Initiative. The initiative will take advantage of untapped markets where "there is money to be made." The Clinton Administration-backed initiative will:

* lower fees for smaller-sized loans;

* provide more funds for technical support;

* license lenders that target new markets;

* license venture capitalists that invest in small businesses;

* open twenty new one-stop business centers; and

* open women's business centers. …

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