SBA News: Recognizing One Successful Business and Two Small Business Champions

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Minnesota District Office

u s small business administration

2022 National Small Business Week Winner, NSBW

Recognizing One Successful Business and Two Small Business Champions

Luisa Fuentes

Rayito de Sol Spanish Immersion Early Learning Center is SBA’s Minnesota Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year

CEO Luisa Fuentes founded Rayito de Sol Spanish Immersion Early Learning Centers in 2003. It aims to prepare students to excel as young leaders of tomorrow by combining an exclusive intercultural curriculum elevated with first-class childcare services, Spanish Language Immersion and cultural development for children 6 weeks through 6 years old.

The company currently has four locations, two in Minnesota and two in Illinois, and 59 employees. Growth continues with plans for four more locations opening in 2022.  The number of children it is licensed to serve has also grown from 70 to almost 550. Read the full release here.


Christina Nebel-Dickerson

PTAC’s Christina Nebel-Dickerson is the 2022 SBA Minnesota Veteran’s Champion of the Year

Christina Nebel-Dickerson is the Procurement Technical Assistance Center Program Director at the State of Minnesota’s Department of Administration, leading a team of eight Procurement Specialists across the state. She has been a proponent of Veteran-owned small businesses for most of her career. 

The PTAC program was built on supporting the military and funded by the Dept of Defense - this mindset has followed through in her daily work to assist Veterans interested in starting or growing their own business. Since FY2017, VOSBs winning contracts has grown from $6.8M to $27M in FY2021 and the number of certified Veteran businesses has increased from 126 to 148. Read the full release here.


MN Department of Administration - Equity in Procurement





Minnesota’s Department of Administration's Office of Equity in Procurement is the 2022 SBA Minnesota Minority Champion of the Year

The Minnesota Department of Administration's Office of Equity in Procurement helps ensure greater equity in state contracting and construction by promoting opportunities to do business with the state.

The members of the team recognized for this award include Aaron Anderson, Tammy Gaglioti, Twauna Mullins, and Maishia Yang. 

The OEP was established in 2015 and has, since its inception, worked to create opportunities for minority-owned businesses. With a focused approach on minority businesses, the Office learned in 2015 that only $119,000 of the state’s billions of dollars of spend went to black-owned businesses. Today, more than $4,000,000 is spent with state-certified black owned businesses. That increase is directly attributable to this small, but tenacious team.

Read the full release here.

Woman in front of a computer with the text, "Watch our Webinar"

Upcoming SBA Training

We are hosting free training webinars to help entrepreneurs and small business owners start, grow, expand, and recover. 

To learn more and register today, visit the links below:

  • Resources for Small Businesses (with PTAC)
    May 2, 9 a.m.; Register
  • Steps to Starting a Small Business 
    May 2, 10 a.m.; Register
  • SBA Federal Certification - 8(a) Business Development Program Info (with PTAC)
    May 3, 9 a.m.; Register
  • SBA Federal Certification - Intro to the HUBZone Program (with PTAC)
    May 4, 9 a.m.; Register
  • Pasos simples para iniciar un negocio en Minnesota
    May 5, 9 a.m.; Register
  • SBA Federal Certification - Women-owned focused (with PTAC)
    May 5; 9 a.m.; Register
  • Veteran's Certification (with PTAC)
    May 6; 9 a.m.; Register
  • Veteran's Brief
    May 6, 10 a.m.; Register

SBA Resource Partner Trainings

  • HR Basics: When Growing from Start-up to 20+ Employees (SCORE)
    May 3; Learn More
  • Export Week Training from the US Commercial Service
    May 3, Mexico & Brazil: Medical Device and Diagnostic Market Opps
    May 4, Healthcare Tech Market Snapshot: Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Africa
    May 5, Port Infrastructure to support World Trade and Global Supply Chain Learn More
  • Selling A Business (SCORE)
    May 4; Learn More
  • Start with Brand: Messaging & Identity (SCORE)
    May 4; Learn More
  • Non-Traditional Financing Options Training (Multiple Partners)
    May 4, Courtyard by Marriott, 185 Radio Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125
    Email for details.
  • Insurance Options for Small Businesses (SCORE)
    May 5; Learn More
  • Attracting & Retaining Employees – Why Business Culture Matters (Women’s Business Alliance)
    May 11, Learn More
  • Native American Entrepreneurial Empowerment Workshop (SBDC)
    May 16 & May 17; Learn More
  • Google Analytics 2.0 - Beyond The Basics (SCORE)
    May 24; Learn More

Stay Updated

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