The small business sector of the United States currently employs 60 million Americans full of entrepreneurial spirit, invaluable experiences and encouraging solutions for the expansion and growth of our economy. 

Small businesses are the engine of our nation's economic prosperity. They employ about half of all private sector employees, and they create nearly two-thirds of all new jobs. By far, they are the most significant, most populated and therefore the most potentially powerful sector of our economy and our electorate.

We will foster ideas of opening new markets for goods and services in order to strengthen free enterprise around the world.

- Hector Barreto

Hispanic Americans are a major force in this small business sector with 3 million Latino-owned companies and over $500 billion in revenue.

As administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, I led an organization that exceeded all previous records in small business loans, women and minority owned business support and private-public sector procurement opportunities, guaranteeing loans totaling more than $60 billion.

This week, small business owners from around the nation will come together for The Latino Coalition and U.S. Chamber of Commerce 2013 America’s Small Business Summit in Washington, D.C. The summit seeks to champion the leadership of individuals with the American Dream of being small business owners and generate the productive, diverse, and flexible workforce that America needs to ensure prosperity over the coming generations.

On Monday, April 29th – Wednesday, May 1st, the TLC Summit will host more than 40 speakers and panelists on key issues important to small business such as: procurement opportunities, newly available financing, risk management, legal reform, healthcare, immigration and international trade.

We will hear from a stellar line-up including chairman and editor in chief of Forbes Steve Forbes, investigative journalist and best-selling author Bob Woodward, president and founder of the Boston Beer Company Jim Koch, co-owner of the Colorado Rockies Linda Alvarado, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Bank of America CEO Brian T. Moynihan to name a few. These leaders will share their experiences as active players in our economy, the triumphs and hurdles to their growth and the initiatives and partnerships that enhanced their businesses.

A B2B National Procurement Matchmaking event will take place during the summit as well, during which attendees will have the opportunity to meet with procurement officers from federal agencies, as well as Fortune 500 companies, to discuss small business contracting opportunities. Over the years, this Business Matchmaking event has proven to be a huge success by generating an estimated $8 billion in verifiable contracts. In addition, small businesses are provided with a unique chance to access contract opportunities, strategic business solutions and better practices to thrive as the driving force of our economy. 

The summit is focused on job creation principles and the tools to help make America a more fruitful place with panels on healthcare, immigration and international trade. We will discuss the Affordable Care Act and its impact on the Latino community. We will advocate a bipartisan solution to immigration reform in order to expand our worker pool legally. And we will foster ideas of opening new markets for goods and services in order to strengthen free enterprise around the world.

Small business will lead our nation back to meaningful economic expansion and growth. And The Latino Coalition is a willing and open partner to aiding this success because the entrepreneurs who are the “engine of America” are essential to the U.S. economy now and in the future.

Hector Barreto is the former head of the Small Business Administration (2001 – 2006) and currently serves as the Chairman of The Latino Coalition.

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