The regional administrator for the South Central Region of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Yolanda Garcia Olivarez, met with Col. Lynda Armer, Brigade Commander for 418th Contracting Support Brigade, and other military officials, during a visit to Fort Hood March 22.
The purpose of the visit was to discuss the SBA’s assistance to Fort Hood’s transitioning veterans and their Families, through contracting opportunities for small businesses in the Central Texas community.
In fiscal year 2015, the federal government surpassed its 23 percent small business procurement goal for the third consecutive year, awarding an all-time high of $90.7 billion, in federal contracts to small businesses. This achievement benefits the local community by providing opportunities for advancement to its citizens.
“It brings a lot of value to the area by creating a strong partnership with the community,” Olivarez said. “It’s appreciated by all involved because it touches lives through strong revenue, job opportunities and higher wages.”
Olivarez was appointed by Pres. Barack Obama in 2009, tasked to leading the delivery of SBA programs and services in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma. During her seven years in this position, Olivarez has visited installations and cities across the region to better increase the success of the administration’s goals.
“These visits increase communication and allow us to see that we’re on the same page,” Olivarez said. “We have the same mission: to provide federal contracting to small businesses so they can grow.”
Soldiers of Fort Hood and their Families will be able to look toward a bright future filled with increased job creation, innovation, and growth through the opportunities created by these contracting funds.
“This is a big shot in the arm for a community like the Fort Hood area,” Olivarez said. “This is one of the jewel military bases that has the military right in its own backyard and has these contracts for small businesses.”
The goal of the SMA is to ensure that small businesses get their fair share of work with the federal government, including service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. This goal provides opportunities for advancement for transitioning Soldiers who may normally face obstacles for advancement in the civilian world after transitioning from the military.
“It’s our goal to ensure that service-disabled veterans receive their fare share of loans,” said Curtis Scott, assistant director for Small Business Programs. “We want to give transitioning Soldiers the skills and knowledge needed to be successful.”
Created through the Small Business Act of 1958, the SBA has ensured the success of small businesses through millions of loans, loan guarantees, contracts, counseling sessions, and other forms of assistance to small businesses.
The Fort Hood community has benefitted from the Reboot to Business entrepreneurial training program, as it provides guidance to transitioning Soldiers on the elements of planning and starting their own small business.
“When veterans first start their own business, they’re in the infancy stages of the process,” Scott said. “The SBA provides free classes, walking them through Contracting 101, and what’s available to them.”
Through the help of those who care, from members of both the Fort Hood community and large-scale organizations like the SBA, transitioning Soldiers have opportunities for a bright future awaiting them when they trade in their military uniform for dress clothes. “This is a way for the Fort Hood community to give back,” Olivarez added, “to those who have given so much to our country.”