Administrator of U.S. SBA and Foreign Leaders Exchange Innovation Strategies at Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Italy

Contreras-Sweet Leads SME Ministerial, Bringing Together Nations Investing in Small Businesses

Mar 17, 2015, 15:40 ET from U.S. Small Business Administration

WASHINGTON, March 17, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --The head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Maria Contreras-Sweet, a member of President Barack Obama's Cabinet, was in Milan today to lead the U.S. participation in the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC), finding opportunities for American small businesses in trade and exports. For the past five years, the GEC has contributed to the expansion of the global entrepreneurial ecosystem, connecting experts and entrepreneurs across borders to empower innovation and drive economic growth. The participating nations expect this to be the beginning of a new wave of cooperation among Ministers for small business and entrepreneurship in response to increasing public interest around the world in the role government and small and new businesses play in job creation, firm and capital formation, and innovation.

"Rome wasn't built in a day, and thriving entrepreneurial ecosystems aren't either. Entrepreneurship is an opportunity to create an expanded middle class and stronger democracies around the world," said Administrator Contreras-Sweet. "Creating these prosperous ecosystems takes government and business leaders working together in partnership with our small businesses to build thriving ecosystems for the world's entrepreneurs."

Contreras-Sweet has had several bilateral meetings with foreign dignitaries, with countries such as the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, South Korea, South Africa, Panama, as well as the United Nations. In addition, she will serve as a moderator for sessions focused on social impact entrepreneurship and innovation. Today, she chaired the historical SME Ministerial, which for the first time ever brought together over 14 countries, represented by the Administrator's counterparts from those nations, to discuss global trends and best practices for supporting entrepreneurship ecosystems

Administrator Contreras-Sweet highlighted successful programs by the SBA and throughout the federal government that are empowering entrepreneurs and allowing Americans to create their own success, like our Export Working Capital Program and Boots to Business.  She also highlighted how we create opportunities for innovation through our Small Business Innovation Research grants and empower women entrepreneurs via Women's Business Development Centers and programs like InnovateHER.

Photo available for media use here.  Photo credit should go to the SBA.

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Release Number: 15-20

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SOURCE U.S. Small Business Administration