Isabel Guzman Named Small Business Administrator: “American Dreams Fuel Our Economy”

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With Inauguration Day fast-approaching, President-Elect Joe Biden took the stage on Friday, Jan. 8 to appoint the final members of his Cabinet. Among them was small business administrator nominee Isabel Guzman, who delivered the following remarks:

“So many small businesses across the country have been devastated by the pandemic and economic crisis. A disproportionate impact has fallen as it often does, on our businesses owned by people of color,” Guzman said. “I know you believe wholeheartedly, Mr. President-Elect and Madam Vice President-Elect, that all of our small businesses are critical to our collective success as a nation. Their American dreams fuel our economy, bring new ideas to transform our lives for the better, and enliven every main street in America. And now more than ever, our small businesses need us.”

Guzman’s words are backed by a long history of working with small businesses in her California community. She is currently the director of the Office of the Small Business Advocate, working within the governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development to support entrepreneurs with necessary resources, particularly during the COVID-induced recession.

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Her Shop Safe Shop Local and Get Digital CA initiatives are aiding in the preservation of small businesses, despite pandemic safety measures that are keeping customers at home. She previously served as deputy chief of staff and senior advisor of the Small Business Administration (SBA) under President Obama.

Guzman also draws from experience as advisor of the California-chartered and Latinx-run ProAmérica Bank, and as the daughter of a veterinary hospital founder.

“Together with you and the exceptional and diverse team you’re assembling, I am eager to build our economy back better in every community. The small business experience is personal to me. I grew up in an entrepreneurial family. My father started his first veterinary hospital when I was one years old. And I recall early childhood memories of tagging along with him to the hospitals, to check on the animals under his care,” Guzman said. “I saw him spending endless hours wearing multiple hats, tirelessly working to learn more and grow the business. Those memories have defined my career, and really inspired my work still today.”

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“As director of California’s Office of Small Business and a small business advocate, she worked tirelessly to ensure that everyone with an entrepreneurial spark had a fair and equal shot at getting off the ground and succeeding,” Biden said, introducing Guzman. “As head of the SBA, Isabel will be leading the critical mission, not only to rescue small businesses in crisis, but to provide the capital to entrepreneurs across the country, so they can innovate, create jobs and help lead us into recovery.”

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Sophie Dorf-Kamienny is a junior at Tufts University studying sociology and community health. She is a Ms. contributing writer, and was formerly an editorial fellow, research fellow and assistant editor of social media. You can find her on Twitter at @sophie_dk_.