Isabella Casillas Guzman
This week, Isabella Casillas Guzman was confirmed as the 27th Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA). President Joe Biden’s nominee with broad bipartisan support in the Senate, passing by a vote of 81-17. This is her second tenure at the agency; Guzman previously served in the Obama Administration as a Senior Advisor and the Deputy Chief of Staff, where she oversaw the SBA’s adoption of improved policies, technology, and program initiatives to make SBA more accessible to entrepreneurs of all backgrounds.
Before her public service career, Guzman was an entrepreneur herself. She grew up as the daughter of a small business owner and learned at a young age how important small businesses are to the communities they serve, the people they employ, and the economies they help power. This is the kind of experience that is needed right now.
“I loved the connection he had with the clients he served every day. At a young age, I experienced firsthand how important small business owners are to the communities they serve and why we rightly call them the fabric of our neighborhoods,” Guzman said.
Most recently, she served as the Director of California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate, where she served the state’s four million small businesses, which employ 7.1 million people. She provided a voice for small businesses and innovative startups and advocated for programs and initiatives to help small businesses access capital. Guzman and her team helped connect entrepreneurs in every community with the resources needed. She worked diligently to help small businesses gain financial relief during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Having successfully navigated a high volume and sophisticated business environment in California, I am confident that Isabella understands the urgent and complex needs of this moment,” Senator Alex Padilla (D, Calif.) said. “Her expertise is critical to our nation’s economic recovery. She’s ready to hit the ground running and will assure the SBA helps small businesses across America not only to survive the pandemic, but to build back better than before.”
As SBA Administrator, Guzman now represents more than 30 million U.S. small businesses and leads an agency committed to helping small business owners and entrepreneurs start, grow and be resilient.
“As a product of and lifelong advocate for America’s small business community, I am honored and profoundly grateful that President Biden has nominated me to serve as the next Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration,” said Guzman during her testimony. “Now more than ever, I am deeply committed to helping support our nation’s small businesses and entrepreneurs.”
Guzman has a deep knowledge of the needs of small businesses and is committed to meeting the needs of small businesses in Black, Latino, Native, and other underserved communities. She now leads over 9,000 SBA employees and administers the SBA’s portfolio of loans, investments, disaster assistance, contracting, and counseling.
Additionally, she will implement critical financial relief for small businesses impacted by the pandemic through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program, and additional support recently passed in the American Rescue Plan.
“Growing up in an entrepreneurial family, I learned firsthand the ins and outs of managing a business from my father and gained an appreciation for the challenges small business owners face every day. Throughout my public and private sector career, I have been dedicated to helping small businesses grow and succeed,” said Guzman. “Now more than ever, our impacted small businesses need our support, and the SBA stands ready to help them reopen and thrive.”
The Administrator is excited to return to the SBA and is committed to championing the agency’s mission and helping equitably build back the economy. She says that she looks forward to working to ensure that the SBA creates and sustains inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems for all of our diverse small businesses across the nation to thrive.
“SBA must continue to be a lifeline for small businesses in the months ahead, and I am confident that Isabel Guzman is the best person to lead the agency out of the pandemic and through the economic recovery to follow,” said Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Ben Cardin (D-MD).
Guzman becomes the nation’s biggest advocate and voice of small businesses in America—including independent contractors and sole proprietors, startups, innovative technology and science-based firms, Main Street businesses and manufacturing.
The SBA has been innovative in its approach to expanding access to capital since the launch of PPP lending last year. For instance, the agency approved FinTech lenders in the PPP process to help expand access to capital for the smallest businesses. Further the agency has been continuously updating its technology to improve the application process, which at times has been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of applications for PPP funding.
The SBA has played a pivotal role in the recovery of the economy from damage caused by the coronavirus. Administrator Guzman and her agency’s continued success is critical to the survival of small businesses across the United States. Fortunately, she has the background and understanding to lead at this critical time.
In 2007, I co-founded Biz2Credit, an online small business financing platform that uses technology to streamline the funding process. Previously, I worked for Deloitte