WASHINGTON, Jan. 15, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) came out in strong support of President Obama's nomination of Maria Contreras-Sweet to lead the Small Business Administration (SBA). The USHCC has long called for greater recruitment of entrepreneurs for government posts critical to supporting American business, as well as the promotion of leadership that understands the unique challenges facing minority-owned firms. As the founder of a community bank, co-founder of a venture fund, and a Latina immigrant, Contreras-Sweet is uniquely well-suited to serve the small business community.

The SBA Administrator, recently elevated to a Cabinet-Level position by President Obama, plays a critical role in providing educational programming and business counseling for entrepreneurs, extending government-backed loans to growing businesses, and highlighting federal contracting opportunities to American small business.

"Maria Contreras-Sweet is the epitome of a successful entrepreneur and social innovator, whose professional accomplishments make her the best and most qualified candidate to head the Small Business Administration," said Javier Palomarez, President & CEO of the USHCC. "The USHCC applauds President Obama for this groundbreaking nomination which clearly demonstrates that his administration understands the needs facing America's small businesses, as well as the concerns of the nation's valuable minority-owned business community. We also commend the President for choosing to reflect the true diversity of America in his cabinet nominations. Ms. Contreras-Sweet is a practitioner, not a bureaucrat; she personally understands the number one concern of all entrepreneurs, which is access to capital and credit. She is a close friend of the USHCC, with whom we have enjoyed a long, collaborative relationship. I have no doubt that Maria Contreras-Sweet will be a strong ally and fearless advocate for American small business."

"Over the past several years, the SBA has been a tremendous partner of the USHCC," said USHCC Chairman Marc Rodriguez. "SBA's efforts to increase opportunities for access to capital, counseling and mentorship, and Hispanic business procurement can easily be seen throughout our network of 200 local Hispanic chambers of commerce and their member businesses. Upon her confirmation, we look forward to working closely with Ms. Contreras-Sweet to keep this momentum and to ensure that small business is at the forefront of growing the American economy."

About the USHCC

Founded in 1979, the USHCC actively promotes the economic growth and development of Hispanic entrepreneurs and represents the interests of 3.16 million Hispanic-owned businesses across the United States that together contribute in excess of $468 billion to the American economy. It also serves as the umbrella organization for more than 200 local Hispanic chambers and business associations in the United States and Puerto Rico.

CONTACT: Valentina Pereda USHCC Director of Communications 202-489-2932Source:United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce