Table for 12, please: Small business administrator Isabel Guzman to handle $ 1 trillion in relief
“More than ever, our small businesses need us.”
—Isabel Casillas Guzman, President Biden’s choice to lead the Small Business Administration and the first Latina to hold the position.
In the history of the United States, no presidential cabinet has ever equaled the country’s gender balance or race. But America may soon see its most diverse cabinet of all time – with the Native American First Secretary of the Interior; first head of Latin American internal security; first openly gay cabinet member and more. In two departments – Treasury and Intelligence – there has never been a woman in charge… until now. In total, Biden announced 12 women in his cabinet, the most ever.
To celebrate the historic number of women and women of color in the cabinet of media thought leader Biden Pat mitchell launches a new series: “Table for 12”, which will appear on PatMitchellMedia.com–and be reposted here at Mrs.-every week!
This week: Isabel Guzman
March 16 the Senate confirmed Isabella Casillas Guzman, President Biden’s choice to head the Small Business Administration (SBA), an agency that has seen its profile grow tremendously in response to the pandemic. “Today more than ever, our small businesses need us,” Guzman said.
Guzman comes to the post after leading the California Office of the Small Business Advocate since 2019. Previously, she was Deputy Chief of Staff at the SBA during the Obama administration. “I have no doubts that I can hit the ground running,” Guzman told senators during his confirmation hearing.
She is the first Latina to run the agency and the only Latina in Biden’s diverse firm. He also chose three Latino men for other Cabinet positions: Alejandro Mayorkas as Internal Security Secretary, Xavier Becerra as Health and Social Services Secretary and Miguel Cardona as Education Secretary.
Guzman joins an economic team that includes Secretary Janet Yellen at the Treasury Department, Secretary Gina Raimondo at the department of commerce, and Cecilia rouse, President of the Economic Council of Advisors, among others.
“Small business is personal”
Guzman is one of the fourth generation of Texans who fled the Mexican Revolution from the state of Aguascalientes, Mexico, on his father’s side. Her parents moved from Texas to Southern California in the 1960s and she was born in Burbank, California, in 1970.
She has often said that “small business is personal” to her. She grew up helping her father with his business. “My father opened his first veterinary hospital when I was a year old. And I remember memories from early childhood when he was tagged with him in hospitals to check on the animals in his care. As I got older, I worked alongside my father.
“I loved the bond he had with the clients he served every day. At a young age, I saw firsthand how important small business owners are to the communities they serve and why we rightly call them the fabric of our neighborhoods ”. Guzman said.
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Guzman graduated in Commerce and Economics from the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania. In her own career, she has been an entrepreneur herself and has consulted with entrepreneurs during the start-up and growth of their businesses. As an advocate for California affairs, She served the state’s 4 million small businesses employing 7.1 million people and have worked to help those injured during the pandemic get the financial help they need.
Small business administration is big business
The Small Business Administration was established in 1953 by Congress. It varies by industry, but a small business is generally defined as having less than 1,500 employees and a maximum of $ 38.5 million in average annual revenue, according to the SBA. With nearly 32 million small businesses representing 99.9% of all U.S. businesses in 2020, small business is big for the economy of the United States.
Guzman will run the Paycheck Protection Program, which has already distributed nearly $ 1 trillion during the pandemic. In a series of reforms over the past month, the Biden administration has made program changes aiming to increase equitable access to relief and making sure small businesses get the help they need, especially Mom-and-Pop businesses in underserved communities.
Guzman says she will prioritize helping women-owned businesses, and especially women-owned minority businesses, get back on their feet. To celebrate Women’s History Month, Guzman wrote on the SBA blog:
“My mother, who was a teacher, instilled in me the importance of using my voice to defend others. This is why I am so passionate about using my platform as an SBA administrator to make meaningful change for the small business community, especially women business owners of color. “
Because while women-owned businesses are one of the fastest growing segments of the small business community – from 5% of businesses in 1970 to 38% today – the lack of opportunity persists and has been compounded by the pandemic. Women-owned businesses were 1.7 times more likely to close during the pandemic than their male counterparts.
The SBA has played and will continue to play a vital role in helping small, women-owned businesses in our country start, grow and be resilient. We’ll get there through impactful initiatives that really work for women business owners. We are making progress and I am delighted to report that PPP loans to women-owned small businesses increased by 14% in March. “
Beyond pandemic relief, the SBA offers many resources for women business owners. This includes over 130 Women’s business centers and the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Procurement Assistance Program.
“Having successfully navigated a sophisticated, high-volume business environment in California, I am confident that Isabella understands the pressing and complex needs of this time,” said Senator Alex Padilla (D-California). Told Forbes.
“One of the places where she’ll do a really good job is looking out for small business interests and figuring out how to make the cogs and engines of government work to give them the help they need to do what they want. ‘They do the best thing, which is to grow the economy and create jobs,’ former SBA chief Karen Mills Told Inside the business community.
During his confirmation hearing in the Senate, Guzman mentionned she was “deeply committed to helping support small businesses and entrepreneurs in our country.” They are facing an unprecedented crisis and need our support to survive.
A sincere feminist welcome at Guzman’s table!
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