OKLAHOMA CITY — Members of the U.S. Small Business Administration were recognized Tuesday afternoon in the Grand Ballroom of the Skirvin Hotel at the annual SBA luncheon.
This year’s attendees represented a handful of the 330,000 small businesses currently in Oklahoma. Of the large number of local small businesses, 15 of them were recognized with a range of awards for lending, incubating future business owners and their contributions to the small business community.
“They are creative thinkers, entrepreneurs, financial stewards, problem solvers, marketing geniuses, champions of their employee success, community leaders, and the list goes on and on,” said Mary Mélon, president and publisher of The Journal Record, the host for the luncheon.
Presidential appointee and SBA regional administrator Yolanda Olivarez spoke at the awards ceremony, offering advice to the small business cultivators in the audience. Olivarez is a 2009 appointee of President Barack Obama and former SBA Administrator Karen Mills.
With extensive involvement in the growth of businesses and communities, Olivarez currently assists more than 3.3 million small businesses across Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma.
Named the first woman and Hispanic to chair the Port Authority Commision, Olivarez has made her mark in the history of the changing business world.
In honor of National Small Business Week, the president of the U.S. has made it a tradition to honor small businesses with a proclamation.
“We’ve been doing this since 1963,” Olivarez said. “And as the regional administrator, I love history. I love that I am a part of this.” Olivarez quoted Barack Obama’s address from May 9.
“‘Small businesses represent an ideal at the heart of our nation’s promise — that with ingenuity and hard work, anyone can build a better life,’” she said. “And that is so true with our small businesses today.”
More than $146 million in SBA lending has been spent to help develop and provide for small businesses, she said.