You know you are passionate about work when someone invites you to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Medellin, Colombia, while on vacation, and you still think about attending.
That is exactly what happened while I was visiting relatives on my trip to South America in March. The event that grouped 15 nations and several international organizations facilitated discussion on four key pillars: creating jobs, building international collaboration, facilitating trade, and promoting gender equity.
It was even more appealing after I realized Maria Contreras-Sweet, the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was part of this selective group.
“We all understand the important role of entrepreneurship in creating the dynamic social fabric of our societies,” said Contreras-Sweet. “If you can’t get a job, entrepreneurship allows you to create your own. And small businesses not only create most of the jobs in our global economy, they also create a sense of pride in local neighborhoods and contribute tax revenues that can help fund better services and better schools.”
Contreras-Sweet was in Bogota to announce the Colombian government will adopt the SBA’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) model. In the U.S. the model is comprised of 1,100 federally funded counseling centers staffed with experts providing ongoing business and technical support for aspiring entrepreneurs.
It is in this type of event when you realize just how important the Center for Rural Affairs' work is in rural communities across the country. And we're doing our part. From July 1 to December 31, 2015, REAP’s Latino Business Center staff trained 266 Small Latino Microentrepreneurs, counseled 126, and provided 22 loans totaling $373,100. At the end of the day, those small businesses are not so small.
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