Isabella Casillas Guzman serves as the 27th Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and was sworn in on Wednesday, March 17, 2021. Administrator Guzman represents the more than 30 million U.S. small businesses and is committed to helping small business owners and entrepreneurs start, grow and be resilient.
A lifelong proponent of small businesses, Guzman 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.
Administrator Guzman previously served as Director of the California Office of the Small Business Advocate, a position she held after being appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom in April 2019. In that role, she served as the voice of small businesses and innovative startups in the 5th largest economy in the world. She administered and advocated for programs and initiatives to help small businesses access capital, markets, and networks for stronger outcomes. She and her team helped connect entrepreneurs in every community with the resources needed. As the economic recovery support function coordinator for the state, she focused on resilience and most recently worked to help small businesses access relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In California, Administrator Guzman oversaw a network of small business centers focused on expanding assistance to underserved business groups. She launched new public private partnerships and collaborated to deliver cutting edge resources to small businesses, including through initiatives like Get Digital CA to increase technology and e-commerce adoption and Source Diverse Source Local to strengthen supply chain readiness. She advocated fiercely for financial relief for small businesses, leading to the expansion of state supported lending and the largest COVID-19 grant relief program in the nation at over $2.5 billion. Guzman’s office launched the Entrepreneurship Task Force to serve as a bridge to small businesses and create content and programs to help strengthen the competitiveness of startup and small firms.
Administrator Guzman has previously served in leadership at the SBA as the agency’s Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor during the Obama-Biden Administration, where she oversaw policy and new program implementation. She was a small business entrepreneur herself, and an advisor to fellow founders including in accelerating technology commercialization and in helping small business contractors leverage the federal marketplace. Administrator Guzman earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business.
From the NGLCC
The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) celebrates the confirmation of Isabel Guzman as the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Through this confirmation, the nation proudly affirms an essential core value of the NGLCC: that we all deserve our shot at the American Dream, and that our economy only succeeds when it is available to all LGBT and allied Americans. This is especially true at time of urgent economic stimulus and small business recovery. NGLCC is thrilled to work alongside Administrator Guzman as she assumes her new role at the SBA.
As SBA’s deputy chief of staff during the Obama administration, Guzman showed her dedication to ensuring that diverse small businesses have a seat at the table. She has helped small business owners in need during the pandemic by implementing a grant support program as Director of California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate. Her past experience as a small business owner and entrepreneur will enable her to better connect with LGBT business owners represented by the NGLCC in both their successes and in their times of need.
In 2012, NGLCC and SBA signed a multi-year Memorandum of Understanding, as well as a Strategic Alliance Memorandum, both directed at increasing access to education, funding, and certification opportunities for LGBT business owners. These opportunities included the Harvard University award-winning LGBT Business Builder national tour, as well as multiple high profile achievements being made by NGLCC Certified LGBT Business Enterprise® (Certified LGBTBE®) suppliers, including Equator Coffee & Teas named as SBA’s National Small Business of the Year. NGLCC looks forward to working closely with Guzman throughout her appointment to ensure that these goals continue to be carried out.
There are approximately 1.4 million LGBT-owned businesses in the United States who generate more than $1.7 trillion dollars in annual economic impact. These small business owners drive economic development, create jobs, and build stronger communities, all despite the latent, and often outright hostile discrimination they continue to endure on account of their sexual orientation or gender identity. LGBT business owners are working in every major industry, including those regularly sought by federal procurement officials. The next step is to cement this next Congress’ and Administration’s legacy as the most pro-equality in our nation’s history through the affirmative inclusion of LGBT- owned small businesses (LGBTBEs) in federal procurement and subcontracting.
Isabella Casillas Guzman
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