Thank you Ron for your kind introduction.
On behalf of President Barack Obama and Secretary Gary Locke, I am delighted to be with you at this very important gathering.
Before I get started I would like to introduce members of the MBDA team Holden Hoofnagle, Chief of Business Development and Don Chapman, Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Native American Affairs and our Chief of Native American Business Development.
I want to thank Ron Perry and the National 8a Association leadership for co-sponsoring this event.
And I want to thank the board of directors and staff of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for their leadership and dedication to not just advocating for the needs of Hispanic-owned businesses --- but for being a voice of wisdom and support for all minority-owned and operated businesses.
I also want to thank the Native American business owners who have traveled so far to be here today. Your presence at this event brings to life the words of famed author Helen Keller who once said “Alone we can do so little, but together, we can do so much.”
Several days ago, in his State of the Union Address, the President called on the nation to join him in “winning the future.”
That is out-innovating, out-educating and out-building our global competition. The President called for 80 percent of our electricity to be generated from clean sources of energy by 2035. He called for 100,000 new teachers in Science, technology, engineering and math by the end of the decade so that America may return to a position of global leadership within these critical disciplines.
The President also called for a concerted effort to rebuild America’s infrastructure based upon the long term economic needs of our nation.
And by winning the future, we will improve our ability to sell our goods and services around the world, strengthen the competitiveness of our companies and create more jobs for our fellow citizens. But America can not have an earnest conversation about winning the future without considering how to maximize the competitive advantages, skills and capabilities of the minority business community.
And central to the overall success of the minority business community are you, members of the Hispanic and Native American business communities.
Combined you represent nearly 40% of all minority owned and operated businesses in America. Of the $1 trillion in gross receipts generated by minority businesses nationally, Hispanic and Native American businesses generate over 1/3. You hire over 1/3 of all workers hired by minority-owned businesses. And together, you enjoy over $1 trillion in total buying power.
This is greater than the gross domestic product of most nations.
Alone you can do so little, but together you can do so much.
The Hispanic business community is uniquely positioned to win the future through your export capability, language skills, family ties, cultural knowledge and familiarity with local business practices places Hispanic-owned firms in a position to access markets, particularly those in Central and South America with a comfort simply not enjoyed by other businesses.
But to maximize these advantages, we have to do things differently. We have to re-evaluate our growth strategies and make sure that we are being both honest about our ability to grow and honest about our willingness to grow.
Today I am here to ask that each of you consider growing your business through acquisition or merger, joint venture or strategic partnership. I am asking that you honestly commit to build a much bigger business in 2011. Finally, I am asking that you target specific areas of opportunity where growth is imminently available of these key areas is government contracting.
The federal government purchases over $500 billion in good and services each year. But as those of you who have attempted to obtain or have obtained government contracts know, the process can be daunting.
Beyond completing the basics steps of getting registered on CCR (Central Contractor Registration)  and working through FEDBIZOPPS  and getting on the GSA schedule , the best step that you can take is developing solid partnerships and teaming relationships with companies with complimentary capabilities so that together you can go after larger contracts. Many of your potential partners are in this room today!
And this Administration, the Obama Administration is here to help you. Let me make you aware of some of the steps that this Administration has taken to help you grow.
The White House has convened a small and minority business procurement advisory committee to work directly with the largest procurement agencies to increase small business and minority owned business contracting. MBDA helped minority-owned firms obtain $3.8 billion of contacts and capital across the nation last year.
In addition, we intend to launch a center for government contracting to help you as you seek to increase your access to federal, state and local contracts.
The Secretary of Commerce has approved an advisory board on minority business enterprises which will take on the issue of greater federal contracting for minority –owned businesses.
This is the first advisory board  of its kind since 1970 and I am proud that outstanding Hispanic leaders such as Javier Palomarez, Anthony Jimenez, David Segura, Jose Mas and Elizabeth Plaza and an outstanding Native American business leader Roy Roberts have been asked by the Secretary to serve.
And the Small Business Administration  under the excellent leadership of Karen Mills, Marie Johns and Joe Jordan continues achieve new records for small businesses, minority-owned business and women-owned business lending.
Through the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010  signed by President Obama on September 27th, SBA new lending limits on 7a and 504 loans have been increased from $2 million to $5 million
Micro-loans have been increased from $35,000 – to $50,000
Size standards have been adjusted making more small businesses eligible for SBA loans.
The SBA 7a – international trade loans and export working capital loans have been increased to $5 million, And though the expansion of its SBIC program, SBA provides access to more equity capital than ever before.
This administration is fully committed to helping your business grow. So in closing I would like to say thank you for allowing me to spend time with you today.
I appreciate the work that you are doing to strengthen the economy and provide economic opportunities to those in need.
Please partner with us as we would like to partner with you and together we can win the future and make America the nation of opportunity for generations to come.