July 20, 2004 – The administrator of the Small Business Administration, Hector V. Barreto, will be making his first official visit to St. Thomas on Sunday and Monday as the head of a delegation of SBA officials that also includes regional and district managers of the federal agency.
His visit is being hosted by the University of the Virgin Islands Small Business Development Center in collaboration with FirstBank Virgin Islands and the St. Thomas/St. John Chamber of Commerce.
Barreto is to be honored as a private reception Sunday evening.
On Monday at 9 a.m., he is to deliver the keynote address at a Bankers Roundtable being sponsored by the SBDC at the center's training facility in Nisky Center. The program is geared to the local banking community.
With a portfolio of direct and guaranteed business loans worth more than $45 billion, SBA is the largest single financial backer and facilitator of technical assistance and contracting opportunities for the nation's small businesses, according to an SBDC release.
Barreto has been recognized for his contributions to small business by Congress, the California Legislature, the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross. Named one of America's 100 Most Influential Hispanics by Hispanic Business magazine, he also has been praised by the Latino Coalition as a role model to Latino youth and by the Hispanic College Fund for leadership in advancing Hispanic businesses.
Warren Bush, SBDC director, said the sponsorship of Barreto's visit by FirstBank and the Chamber of Commerce reflects their "continuing support of the territory's economic development initiatives, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the UVI-SBDC."
He said that Cassan Pancham, FirstBank Virgin Islands first vice president and general manage and also president of the chamber, "has always demonstrated a committed dedication to the overall economic development initiatives of the territory."
Barreto will travel to Puerto Rico later on Monday for similar meetings with small-business stakeholders before returning to the mainland.
For more information about the national Small Business Administration and Barreto, visit the SBA Web site or call the SBDC at 776-3206.
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