Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the U.S. Small Business Administration's blog. See the original post here.
In my position at the U.S. Small Business Administration, I have the honor of serving the American people and enjoy meeting thousands of individuals around the United States on an annual basis. I am fortunate to work for a President and an SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, who both have as a pillar of their domestic agenda making our collective and individual prosperity more broadly shared. Principally this means promoting accessibility in every sense of the word in every field of endeavor, geography, affinity, and focus. Our economic engine is fueled by entrepreneurial drive, individual ambition, creativity and broad economic participation.
With that backdrop provided, I wish to share my experience this week at the National Reservation Economic Summit (RES) in Las Vegas. Along with my colleagues Chris James and John Shoraka, we discussed economic and small business issues with tribal leaders and Native American-owned small businesses. We emphasized our commitment to providing tools and resources to our American Indian, Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian communities through business development, entrepreneurial development, lending, and procurement programs. We also launched the American Supplier Initiative which facilitated over 400 meetings between small business owners and federal/private company buyers during our first event held March 9, 2015, which was held at the conference.
In addition to participating on a panel discussing access to capital, I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to keynote during the opening general session of the conference. I spoke on a broad range of topics touching upon high growth businesses, the innovation economy, and the continuing democratization of entrepreneurial paths and capital access.
I also talked how Native American entrepreneurs and small businesses can be primary drivers of innovation and job creation in Indian Country, through accessing the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programs run out of the SBA’s Office of Investment and Innovation.
It was a true pleasure to interact with so many entrepreneurs, to see firsthand the strong business development is in Indian Country. I left with the strong belief that there is enough skill and drive within our communities to continue moving forward on the path to economic prosperity and participation in all aspects of our amazingly diverse and bountiful economy.
The SBA will do its part to continue to find avenues to achieve that prosperity. Administrator Contreras-Sweet has used our agency’s acronym to crystallize what our mission should be ─ to be a Smart, Bold and Accessible advocate for small businesses across this great nation. I look forward to doing more with this diverse and rich community and while being #SmartBoldAccessible to them all.
Javier Saade is the Associate Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Investment and Innovation.