Barreto is purely a man of business, an entrepreneur. In his
conversations he uses the business language. A great admirer of his
father but very affectionate of his mother and sisters, which he
mentions in his conversations as being apart of the pillars that
constructed his solid and ample experience in business. Héctor hopes
to pass on to his offspring’s the values and knowledge learned at
home with his parents.
each challenge he sees an opportunity to grow and that is the reason
for his acceptance of the invitation by President George Bush to
accompany him in a public administration position. His nomination was
unanimously accepted. However, when I asked him about the challenges
of going from the private sector to the public administration
position, Héctor expressed that is very difficult to transmit the
spirit of entrepreneurship to his coworkers, but the real challenge is
that the SBA becomes a tool operating under the same administrative
principles that he want to teach other entrepreneurs.
Q.: The President of the United States is conscious of the role of the
Small Business and is he publicly has compromised to support them.
Which are the political strategies that have been implemented to
empower this sector?
The SBA is supporting the Small Businesses three ways:
Injection of Capital
Right now the SBA is offering 30% more loans to Small Businesses
conducted by women an a 45% increase for those owned by Hispanics.
This adds up to 1,000 million dollars.
II. Training and Information
The SBA offers Technical Assistance, Training and Information to the
Small Business. Since last year (2002) we have a site called [negocios.gov].
This site redirects directly to the Spanish Agency site. There
businesses can find very useful information also very important links.
the very beginning we only had 25,000 visits per week. A little later
they increased to 50,000. September we received 250,000 visits.
are also offering Spanish support to the Small Business through our
toll free number 1 800 827-5722.
III. Business Matchmaking
The third strategy, Business Matchmaking, consist of assistance to the
Small Business in order to obtain contracts form the government and
large companies from the private sector as well.
For more information about Business Matchmaking please [Click
Q.: A lot of Small Business owners are fearful of international
business negotiations that the US government is signing. How much has
NAFTA impacted and what are the risks with other negotiations like the
business trade agreement signed with Chile and the ongoing CAFTA and
Dominican Republic negotiations?
The commercial negotiations are a great opportunity to the Small
Business. 97% of all importations and exportations in the US are in
the hands of Small Businesses. More than 200,000 Small Businesses
participate in this type of commerce. Hispanics Small Businesses only
represent 30% of the pie, this is an opportunity to grow and expand.
Hispanic business is the best bridge to the commerce with Latin
American. Now the trajectory in the line of commerce could be
Sánchez-Sánchez-Smith, which is to say that the exporter or importer
could be a Hispanic, not an Anglo.
an opportunity because like President Bush said the neighborhood is
changing. We have to generate more commerce with our neighbors,
therefore these negotiations are important. Our government is not
going to engage in any negotiations that will hurt the Small Business
Sector. The two sides can win. An example of this, NAFTA has created
millions of new jobs in the region.
CAFTA and other hemispheric negotiations are also important.
Q.: However, the phenomenon that took place in the Steel and
Semiconductor Industry is repeating with similar characteristics in
the Technology Industry. Many Businesses are very afraid of the
International Free Trade Agreements.
The Agency has helped thousands and thousands of businesses in the
Technology sector. Names like INTEL, SUM Micromedia, Apple, American
OnLine (AOL) have been supported financially and with other
resources. The Agency counts with a special Development Center in
Silicon Valley for high technology businesses so that they can compete
with any other country in the world. It is very important to
“Know what you do not know”. That is why the SBA is a great
partner for Small Business and we continue giving them support with:
More than 1,200 Development Centers in cities all around the
More than 660,000 Small Businesses in the US.
And, the Program SCORE with more than 11,000 volunteers, only last
year they offer assistance to 400,000 Small Businesses.
Q.: it is important to have those Centers, but they do not speak
The Agency is investing to resolve that.
Q.: What is the biggest business challenge?
One of most frequent errors of Small Business is “not knowing
that you don’t know”. Starting before you are ready. It is
necessary to have a projection of the recourses needed to meet the
objective: Financial: Start Up, Cash Flow, Growth Capital; Human
Resources: How many employees, what salaries.
have to know where the strengths and weaknesses are. The advantages
for the business are, the needs of the community, individual talents,
and the competitive advantages (Price, quickness, service), then to be
able to use those advantages.
We businessman don’t know that we don’t know.
Challenges to grow in your business, people learning at work. They
learn from the problems. “Don’t know that they don’t know”.
They do not know what the capital is, or which the contact is, where
the opportunities are. Learning from the problems of other
businessman. It is important to be realistic, sometimes they think
they will have an income and not always is the case. He did not know
that the was an SBA. The SBA can help you make a Business Plan, find
financing and train you in different areas.
Q.: You started in business with your family, what do you think of
Dad was a great teacher; he initiated me when I was 9 years old. He
gave me a lot of responsibilities and motivated me to do the things I
had to do. With him, my mother and my sisters I learned important
Family businesses are one of the reasons this country is so
successful. The Hispanic community tends to have family businesses.
There are twenty million Hispanic small businesses with more than 300
thousands millions dollars of sales, this figures are expected to
duplicate in the next 5 years. Hispanic small businesses grow faster
than any other sector in the US.
Q.: What has meant to Héctor Barreto, the businessman, the jump from
business to politics?
Has the Cross Over been easy?
still think like a businessman. It aggravates me that things on the
public sector move slowly. They should be flexible, realistic and
take risks. They (the public sector) are not a business, but can act
like one. We are beginning to change things, but it is not only to
begin, also need to grow. To begin and to grow.
Q.: The Global Economy has been significantly impacted in the last
years (2000 – 2003), specially the SMB’s. What role has technology
played with the small businesses?
Technology has helped to overcome some of the challenges of the past.
The acquisition of information is easier today which makes them able
to compete with larger businesses. The better the information, more
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November 24, 2003