09/20/2022 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/20/2022 15:23
SALT LAKE CITY - On Friday, Sept. 16, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and voice for America's 33 million small businesses in President Biden's Cabinet, visited Salt Lake City for a series of small business visits, a business roundtable, and to keynote at the Small Business Digital Alliance (SBDA) conference in Lehi, Utah.
Administrator Guzman started the morning with a live interview on KSL 1160 AM radio on her visit to Utah and how small firms can better cope with inflation and the post-pandemic business environment. Following the interview, the Administrator was joined by Utah District Director Marla Trollan and Deputy District Director John Gygi, who traveled with her during the entire visit to Utah.
After the radio interview, the Administrator visited Alpha Coffee, a local Salt Lake City veteran-owned coffee shop. At the coffee shop, the Administrator conversed with owners Carl and Lori Churchill about the current business environment in Utah and how the SBA can better serve veteran-owned businesses. Alpha Coffee began in 2010 as an online retailer founded by retired U.S. Army Col. Carl Churchill and his wife, Lori. From the beginning, their mission was to give back by sending donated coffee to troops in combat zones and supporting veteran-focused charities. In 2017, Carl and Lori expanded to brick and mortar by taking out an SBA loan and opening their first coffee shop, which they doubled in size within 18 months.
Next, the Administrator traveled to Lehi, Utah, to meet with the SBDA and VISA. The SBDA is a new co-sponsorship agreement between the SBA and Business Forward, Inc., a non-profit organization working with small business leaders supporting policies promoting America's economic competitiveness. This conference introduces a comprehensive suite of free resources to help small businesses expand their customer base, manage their growth, find, and retain talent, and enter new markets. The Administrator talked about the critical importance of getting your small business e-commerce savvy, and about the various SBA resources available to help new and established entrepreneurs.
Following the SBDA event, Administrator Guzman traveled back to Salt Lake City for the first of three small business visits and a business roundtable discussion. The first stop for the Administrator was at Red Iguana 2 restaurant. Red Iguana's owners, Lucy Cardenas and Bill Coker, are the SBA's 2022 Utah Small Business Persons of the Year winners. Cardenas and Coker have built Red Iguana restaurant into one of Utah's most recognized and awarded dining establishments. Red Iguana has three locations.
At Red Iguana, the Administrator held a small business roundtable discussion with SBA lenders, representatives from the Governor's Office of Economic Opportunity, small business owners, Small Business Development Center directors, and other Agency resource partners. The discussion centered around access to capital, business training, and federal contracts. The Administrator also talked about the President's infrastructure bill, the Inflation Reduction Act, and how these laws help small firms.
The Administrator's next stop was at ECO Green Equipment Company in North Salt Lake City. Administrator Guzman met with Chief Marketing Officer Andres Salazar, and CEO Brad Swenson who gave her a tour of the business. The Administrator and Salazar discussed how ECO Green became successful in exporting its products abroad, and what support SBA gave the firm over the last several years. Eco Green Equipment is a global leader in manufacturing tire grinders and rubber recycling equipment. Eco Green Equipment is a recipient of an SBA STEP Grant from the World Trade Center of Utah. Currently, their worldwide distribution partners are in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, and their products are now used in 27 countries.
Next, Administrator Guzman visited OxEon Energy in North Salt Lake and met CEO Lyman Frost and COO Jessica Elwell. OxEon Energy LLC is a cleantech startup. The company has had significant success in attracting commercial, state, and federal government businesses utilizing its core capabilities in energy transformation technologies. The company expects further growth in its core technologies of high-temperature electrolysis, hydrocarbon reforming, synthetic fuel production, and power generation by high-temperature fuel cells. The Administrator and Frost discussed how the President's clean energy agenda can help entrepreneurs grow their businesses nationally and globally.
About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.