The Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center hosted “Meeting the Challenges and Seizing the Opportunities in Exporting,” on March 10, with keynote speaker Yolanda Garcia Olivarez, the South Central Regional Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The free public forum was an opportunity for small business owners to learn about the resources available through exports. The event was presented by the SBA and the U.S. Commercial Service. Dr. Flavius Killebrew, President and CEO of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, gave the welcome address.
Olivarez, a native of Corpus Christi, was appointed to her position in 2009 by President Barack Obama. She currently leads the delivery of the SBA’s financial, entrepreneurial development, government contracting and international export initiative to assist the more than 3.3 million small businesses in South Central region’s five states – Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
“Under President Obama, SBA nationwide has supported more than $5.6 billion in small business export financing – more than under any other President,” Olivarez told the crowd.
Olivarez’s speech, titled “Opening Doors to Global Markets,” ran through the services offered by the SBA, including capital, contracting and counseling. She also talked about ways to unlock opportunities for U.S. small business exporters, including overcoming challenges like high tariffs, complicated customs procedures and complex regulation.
Other speakers on the agenda included Daniel Rodriguez, Director of U.S. Commercial Service – South Texas; Alale Allal, SBA Regional Export Trade Finance Manager; Randy Penn, President of Penn International Insurance; Celia Garza, Certified Business Advisor at Del Mar College Small Business Development Center; and Shawn Slevsen, UPS International Account Executive – Central Texas.
The Business Innovation Center, a part of the College of Business at A&M-Corpus Christi, has helped more than 125 companies since its inception in 2009. In 2014, the Center’s current clients reported 642 job equivalents, more than $2.7 million in annual salaries, and $5 million in annual revenues. To learn more about the Business Innovation Center, go to http://www.innovation4texas.com/.
The SBA was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small businesses. The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses and delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam. To learn more about the SBA, go to https://www.sba.gov/.