Presidential Nomination of Maria Contreras-Sweet as SBA Administrator

Ron Busby, President of the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC) applauds President Barack Obama’s nomination of Maria Contreras-Sweet as the next Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and stresses the importance of a swift confirmation by the U. S. Senate.

“I am pleased that the President has made a formal nomination to fill this cabinet-ranking position which is not only key to strengthening the nation’s small businesses, but also crucial to the flourishing of the economy as a whole,” Busby said in response to the President’s Jan. 15 nomination. “The SBA made great strides under the leadership of Karen Mills. We believe Maria Contreras-Sweet, with her strong background as a Minority and Woman small business owner and business banker, would serve to build on that success.”

(L to R: Antwanye Ford, Tameka Montgomery, Bridget Bean, Ron Busby, Gaea Honeycutt)

Busby added, “Given the gravity of this moment in which the economy is showing encouraging signs of recovery, we hope the U. S. Senate will render a quick confirmation.”

Contreras-Sweet is the Founder and Chairwoman of the Board of ProAmérica Bank, a Latino-owned community bank focusing on small business and non-profits in Los Angeles. Before founding ProAmérica Bank in 2006, she was the President and Co-Founder of Fortius Holdings, LLC, a private equity and venture fund specializing in providing California’s small businesses with access to capital.

In his announcement this week, President Obama described Contreras-Sweet as having a “proven track record of helping small businesses succeed; somebody who had firsthand experience both in the private sector and the public sector who can work with us and work with me to increase growth and expand opportunity.”

Calling small businesses the “lifeblood of our economy” and the “cornerstones of our communities,” which create most of the country’s new jobs, President Obama stressed the importance of an Administrator with experience and understanding of the struggles of small business ownership.

The USBC, based in Washington, D.C., is a nationwide association of more than 100 self-sustaining, viable Black Chambers and small business associations. With a goal of economic empowerment, USBC provides these chambers and associations with resources and initiatives in their work of developing and growing Black enterprises.

Busby said Contreras-Sweet’s banking background gives her a unique understanding of increasing the access to capital for Black business owners.

Busby also thanked former Deputy Administrator Marie Johns for her consistent commitment to serving the underserved and ensuring that all communities were represented at the table of prosperity. “Her willingness to advocate on our behalf will forever be appreciated.”

Busby concluded, “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.”