OWBO celebrates Asian American, Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

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Office of Women's Business Ownership - May 16, 2022

u s small business administration
Natalie M. Cofield

Dear Enterprising Women in Business Community:

This month is Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage (AANHPI) Month. This community is key to the larger small business community, and it is one that often gets overlooked. Equity and reaching all minority groups is the top priority for the SBA under Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman and the Biden-Harris Administration.

OWBO is also proud to announce the grand-opening of the new ACE Women's Business Center - Savannah Region. Learn more about the Women's Business Center network below.

Natalie Madeira Cofield

Natalie Madeira Cofield
Assistant Administrator
U. S. Small Business Administration

The SBA Celebrates Asian American, Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander Heritage Month 

Photo of four people with the following text, Asian American Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander Heritage Month Webinar on May 26 at 1 pm EDT

Join the SBA's webinar on Thursday, May 26, 2022 to celebrate AANHPI Heritage Month. The webinar will feature discussions about the importance of financial wellness, creating generational wealth through business ownership, and increasing equity and access to opportunities to help uplift and support AANHPI-owned small businesses.

Register Today

ACE Women's Business Center - Savannah Region, Hosts Grand-Opening

Three people standing in front of balloons.

On April 28, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE) Women's Business Center -  Savannah Region hosted its grand opening. The center is conveniently located at Savannah State University – Graduate School, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) located in downtown Savannah, Georgia. 

Remarks were provided by Allen Thomas, Regional Administrator for SBA's Southeast RegionTerri Denison, District Director, SBA Georgia District Office, as well as the center's leadership, Nita Penn, Director, ACE WBC - Savannah Region, and Grace Fricks, President/CEO, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs. 

2022 National Small Business Week Award Winner, ACE Women's Business Center - Metro Atlanta, Counsels Apparel Small Business

Two women standing for photo.

When Elena Carne was growing up in a Venezuelan beach town, girls her age wanted to sport new bathing suits every weekend. Her parents couldn’t afford to buy that many garments, so she decided to make them herself. Soon Elena received requests from friends and others who loved her bathing suit designs, and Elena discovered her passion for entrepreneurship. By the age of 21, Elena had an established business.  However, the political climate of her country made her leave home and put her business on hold. It would be twelve more years before Elena returned to her passion for design.

Today, Elena owns T31 Apparel, a small, minority, and woman-owned manufacturer based in Americus, Georgia. Her brand provides handcrafted leggings, tank tops, and other ladies' sportswear. “My South American culture is key to our creative process, but our southern roots embrace the more practical side,” Elena states. “We want to motivate ladies to live an active, positive lifestyle by incorporating vibrant colors with comfort and great quality.”

Once Elena relocated from Miami (where she attended Fashion Design school) to Americus, Georgia, she needed business resources and connections.

Her local chamber connected her with ACE Women’s Business Center - Metro Atlanta staff, who encouraged Elena to participate in a large apparel show. She also attended a Women’s Business Center workshop at the SBA Georgia District Office. There she learned of opportunities to sell her manufactured goods under the label of another brand. Elena said the SBA Small Business Development Center was also a helpful resource for her counseling needs.

Elena began T31 as a “solopreneur” but has grown to a small team of three, which she said was key for the company to stay open when the COVID-19 pandemic started. The pandemic influenced her to develop a personal protective equipment (PPE) division to sell fashionable face masks. She also partnered with her local community to donate thousands of face masks, isolation gowns, and head/shoe covers for healthcare providers and other frontline workers in Southwest Georgia.

Elena says SBA resource partners like the Women’s Business Center helped provide her with the essential tools to make her business successful. "We have periodical meetings that always lead to great solutions and ideas,” Elena stated. “We try to always take the training and courses they offer to keep us up-to-date with the constant changes in the small business world. I cannot imagine not having the resources they provide small business owners.”

The SBA Celebrates Military Appreciation Month  

Photo of three people sitting indoors at a table with the following text, Military Appreciation Month. The SBA logo is at the bottom.

Happy #MilitaryAppreciationMonth!

Learn more about the SBA's @Boots2Business program, which provides entrepreneurial education and business ownership training to transitioning service members (including National Guard and Reserve) and their spouses. 

Learn More

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