Latina poised to head federal Small Business Administration

Jovita Carranza is expected to take the helm of the federal Small Business Administration now that former head and wrestling mogul Linda McMahon has stepped down. 

Carranza, who started out as a parcel service box handler and today is the United States Treasurer, is President Donald Trump’s pick for the position. Trump announced in a tweet this month that he is nominating her for Senate confirmation. 

“I am pleased to announce that Jovita Carranza will be nominated as the new @SBAgov Administrator. She will be replacing Linda McMahon, who has done an outstanding job. Jovita was a great Treasurer of the United States — and I look forward to her joining my Cabinet!” 

Done deal 

It’s basically a done deal. Carranza is a Republican. She also comes well-prepared. She was SBA’s deputy administrator for more than two years from December 2006 to January 2009 under President George W. Bush. Two years ago, she was appointed treasurer.

If confirmed, Carranza will be the highest ranking Latina in the Trump administration. She is one of five women in his cabinet. 

SBA legacy of assisting underrepresented businesses

As administrator of the SBA, Carranza would lead the agency that provided $80 billion in loans and assistance to small businesses last year, many that otherwise would be turned away. 

The 66-year-old agency has a long history of lending a hand to boost minority, veteran and disabled entrepreneurs to successfully launch businesses into the marketplace. The SBA also helps businesses, nonprofits, homeowners, and renters prepare for, and recover from, disasters.

Last year, the SBA approved more than 66,000 loans, providing more than $30 billion to small businesses and supporting nearly 600,000 jobs, according to the agency’s Fiscal 2018 Financial Report. Minority business owners received a record $9.7 billion in combined loans –  32 percent of the agency’s loan portfolio. Women-owned businesses received $7.4 billion in loans. Loans to veterans totaled nearly $1.1 billion. 

SBA also partnered with the Small Business Investment Company program, in which the SBA partners with private investors to finance small businesses through professionally managed investment funds. Together, they supported more than 1,000 small businesses with $5.5 billion in financing.

Chicago born, business driven  

Carranza, 70, was born in Illinois to immigrant parents from Mexico. She started her career at United Parcel Service as a night-shift box handler. Over the next two decades, she rose to become the highest ranking Latina in the company as president of its Latin America and Caribbean operations.

Carranza’s father worked as a factory foreman and her mother was a housewife, according to Latina Style Magazine. Her mother read a newspaper everyday to learn English.

“Later in life, I realized my parents were the drivers of change, and their impatience with me taught me to be anxious about mediocrity,” she told the magazine.

Before taking on public service, Carranza co-founded supply-chain management company JCR Group. 

Over the decades, she has been honored repeatedly for her philanthropy and contribution to the Latino community. The national Latino Coalition Leadership recognized her in 2008 for her contributions to the Hispanic community and public service to the country. In 2004, Hispanic Magazine named her Woman of the Year.

She has served on numerous boards and councils such as United Way, the American Cancer Society, the U.S. Global Leadership Council, and the SBA Service Corps of Retired Executives, known as SCORE. Carranza also served as a member of Trump’s National Hispanic Advisory Council during his 2016 campaign.

McMahon resigns to help Trump re-election campaign 

If confirmed, Carranza will take over for McMahon, who announced in March that she was leaving to chair the pro-Trump super PAC America First Action.

McMahon, who co-built the multi-billion-dollar World Wrestling Entertainment empire with her husband, Vince, was one of Trump’s original Cabinet members. 

During her tenure at the SBA, McMahon made a point of visiting hundreds of business owners and cities across the U.S. to increase awareness of the agency’s offerings.

The SBA has offices and centers throughout Arizona and the country to assist small business owners and entrepreneurs. For more information, go to: Small Business Administration.

Victoria Harker

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