Senate Panel Hearing with President Obama SBA Nominee Maria Contreras-Sweet

A year after the search began, the Senate has taken the next step toward filling the opening at the top of the Small Business Administration (SBA) by holding its nomination hearing for Maria Contreras-Sweet.

During the hearing on Wednesday February 12, 2014 with member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, Contreras-Sweet, leaned heavily on her public and private sector experience as she vowed to use her post to help entrepreneurs achieve access to more capital, and secure more government contracts.

One area of concern for policymakers is whether small businesses have sufficient access to credit. Growing firms need capital, but smaller firms may have a harder time obtaining loans if they have less of a credit history. Lenders may also be reluctant to lend to small and relatively young firms based on the inability to accurately gauge the potential for the success. These factors are cited by policymakers to justify government intervention in credit markets that assist small businesses. Policymakers argue that market-driven lending denies credit to worthy small businesses, and so they have tasked the Small Business Administration with correcting this market failure.

Originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, Contreras-Sweet immigrated to the United States when she was 5 years old. She has made a point of working closely with Hispanic businesses and other minority groups that have been underserved by private investors and traditional bank lenders. She served as California’s Secretary of the states Business, Transportation and Housing Agency before founding ProAmerica Bank, a certified SBA lender specializing in commercial loans to small and mid-sized companies. By total assets, ProAmerica ranks 3,779th out of 6,900 American banks, according to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, with real estate loans constituting about 81 percent of its portfolio. What the F.D.I.C. classifies as small-business loans those under $1 million make up 15 percent. But these figures are misleading because the bank often makes a business loan using real estate as collateral, which the government tallies as a real estate loan. By the banks own accounting, 30 percent of its loans are business loans, and they average about $500,000 with about 62 percent of the banks lending to minorities.

Ms. Contreras-Sweet is also familiar with the S.B.A.’s counseling programs. At her insistence, ProAmerica Bank has teamed up with the Small Business Development Center at Santa Monica College, which is partly financed by the S.B.A. A loan officer at the bank teaches both at the center’s workshops for entrepreneurs a few times a year, and the bank sponsored workshops for its own clients several times. In both 2011 and 2012 the bank contributed $5,000 to the Small Business Development Center’s budget.

Many in the banking industry said her experience at ProAmerica should not be discounted. It’s been frustrating that there hasn’t been an S.B.A. administrator with banking experience for a very long time that I can recall, Mr. Winick at Clark Street Capital said. Getting somebody who has real-world banking experience and real-world S.B.A. experience is a big change for the agency.

Sabre88 Awarded Contract with Naval Supply Systems Command

Newark, New Jersey, February 4, 2014  Sabre88 wins contract award with the Naval Air Systems Command. The contract will require Sabre88, a global consulting firm in Newark, New Jersey, to hire new employees responsible for providing the continued logistics and support for ground support equipment for the Navy. Sabre88 personnel will manage the induction and the continued maintenance of all equipment in support of the NAVSUP, the entity responsible for supplying sustained logistics for the Navy.

Additionally, Sabre88 personnel will be responsible for providing in-depth and focused analysis of NAVAIR operational and systems plans to develop comprehensive equipment implementation strategies. Research and analysis obligations will include but are not limited to:

  • Assessment of current and emerging technologies and their applications
  • Test and Evaluation Planning
  • Assessment of design proposal for processes, systems and IT infusions
  • Cost benefit analyses, risk assessment and risk reduction planning

Sabre88 has been awarded this opportunity for a period of one year plus three options years and is one of the rapidly expanding company’s largest contracts to date. Sabre88 is committed to delivering mission-critical solutions to our clients, said Chairman and CEO Robert Cottingham, Jr. It is this mindset that continues to help lead us to opportunities to be successful. We are delighted at the chance to bring our unique work culture and perspective in the administration of services to NAVSUP and the Navy.

About Sabre88, LLC.  Sabre88 is a global consulting firm applying capabilities in technology, public policy, international affairs, healthcare and education to government and commercial clients. With more than twenty years of experience offering strategic solutions, Sabre88 staff advance the firm’s mission to provide civilian and defense agencies of the government with the necessary tools to address emerging challenges and pursue global opportunities.




Benjamin Bratton

Sabre88, LLC.

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