Aguilar Convenes Small Business Advisory Board
Yesterday, Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-San Bernardino) hosted the inaugural meeting of his Small Business Advisory Board in San Bernardino. Local business owners and community members from across the Inland Empire joined Rep. Aguilar to discuss everyday obstacles that small business owners in San Bernardino County encounter, and what can be done at the federal level to alleviate those concerns. The Small Business Advisory Board was a recommendation included in Rep. Aguilar’s Jobs Plan.
“Our small businesses are a driving force in the Inland Empire economy,” said Rep. Aguilar. He continued, “Since the Great Recession, small businesses have created about 60 percent of all new jobs across the nation. We need to do more to empower our small business owners so they can expand their workforce and help lift our region as we work to get our economy back on track.”
Manal Iskander, owner of the Green Shack Market, participated in the meeting and said, “Congressman Aguilar was very personable and was able to relate to the smaller businesses as well as the larger businesses that were in the room. I also liked that he addressed real life issues such as the FUTA tax or the minimum wage increase. He really dealt with things that really affect a small business on a daily basis. And he was able to allow us all to interconnect. He found issues that would face all businesses.”
Ryan Berk, owner of à la minute ice cream, participated in the event and said, “The fact that we could all brainstorm together and sit down at one table, pretty much a roundtable meeting, and just be able to communicate based on what’s necessary to help us achieve and move forward with the next five to ten years in growth based around our companies—I think the fact that we could all get there together and actually communicate about those types of things was probably the most important aspect of the meeting.”
Rep. Aguilar has made creating jobs and growing the Inland Empire economy his top priority. After taking office, he hosted a series of jobs roundtable discussions and small business tours throughout California’s 31st Congressional District. Last April, he released his Jobs Plan, a strategy for kick-starting San Bernardino County’s economy. Since releasing his Jobs Plan, Rep. Aguilar has put a number of his initiatives into action, including three jobs bills, hosting U.S. Small Business Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet to meet with local lenders, holding a Jobs Fair to connect job-seekers with Inland Empire employers, and establishing a Small Business Advisory Board to recommend proactive steps to help support the small business community. The Jobs Plan can be read in full here.