Washington, Sept. 17, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration and a member of President Biden’s cabinet, completed her first official visit to Puerto Rico this week, engaging with government officials, small business owners, community organizations and business development centers.
Administrator Guzman spent time on the island spotlighting the United States’ economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and encouraged vaccinations to help Americans get back to work safely.
The Administrator met with Puerto Rico Governor Pedro R. Pierluisi, Secretary of Economic Development and Commerce Manuel Cidre-Miranda at La Fortaleza as well San Juan Mayor Miguel Romero Lugo and members of the Puerto Rico Economic Cabinet during her visit.
“I am energized after meeting with Governor Pierluisi and his Cabinet, business leaders and entrepreneurs to see firsthand how our businesses are doing and to highlight the measures the Biden-Harris Administration has taken to help Puerto Rico’s small businesses get back on track to power our economy,” said Administrator Guzman.
“I was inspired to learn from small business owners in Puerto Rico how they tapped into SBA programs to pivot, continue operations and survive during the COVID pandemic. As entrepreneurs faced COVID-19 induced uncertainty, public health restrictions and hardship, our federal agency has delivered over $4.5 billion to Puerto Rico small businesses so far, with more on the way,” Guzman added.
“I thank Administrator Guzman for her visit to Puerto Rico at a time when our nation faces unprecedented challenges as a result of the effects of COVID-19 on the economy. SBA has supported our government and has played a fundamental role during the recovery of small businesses that have been affected by the pandemic,” said Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi.
Administrator Guzman also addressed the San Juan Economic Development Forum; participated in an Equity Roundtable and announced the launch of two new Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) in Puerto Rico to ensure female entrepreneurs have equitable access to resources for supporting, scaling and growing much-needed small businesses.
The historic investment in two new Puerto Rico-based WBCs, hosted by Ana G. Méndez University, Gurabo Campus (UAGM-Gurabo) and Friends of Puerto Rico, will assist the SBA fulfill its mission to assist female entrepreneurs and women-owned small businesses on the island start, grow, and expand. It reflects the SBA and Biden-Harris Administration’s shared priority to increase access to resources for women entrepreneurs in socially and economically disadvantaged communities.
After visiting a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant awardee, Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, the Administrator met with natural disaster-impacted small business owners; toured Parallel 18, an NGO that assist small businesses start and grow on the island; and discussed government contracting opportunities with government contractors and 8(a) small disadvantaged businesses.
Administrator Guzman was the first SBA Administrator to visit Puerto Rico since early 2017.
About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.
CONTACT: Press Office United States Small Business Administration Press_Office@sba.gov