Jump to main content.

Deputy Secretary Graves and Assistant Secretary Castillo Close Out Hispanic Heritage Month by Celebrating Contributions, Successes of Local Hispanic-Owned Small Business

Graves and Castillo Capped the Month-Long Hispanic Heritage Month by Promoting EDA funding programs to Build Back Better

Photo of AS Castillo and Graves with ArepaZone DC staff

Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to recognize and celebrate the many ways the Hispanic community and culture have enriched the United States.

Last week, Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves and Assistant Secretary for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo capped the month-long occasion with a visit to ArepaZone DC, a local Hispanic-owned business in Washington, D.C., leading a roundtable discussion on the challenges facing Hispanic and other minority-owned business and talked about ways the Commerce Department, EDA, and businesses can partner.

Graves and Castillo stressed that more work must be done to break down barriers including:

  • Enabling increased access to capital
  • Increasing access to contracts and equipping Hispanic and minority-owned business owners with the knowledge and resources to be competitive in those endeavors
  • Increasing access to markets for Hispanic-owned and other minority-owned businesses in order to export their goods and services and expand their operations
Photo of AS Castillo talking

Owner Gabriela Febres shared her story and the many obstacles they have overcome, thanks in part to relief programs such as the CARES Act and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

Graves and Castillo praised Febres and other Hispanic and minority business owners for their strength and resilience throughout pandemic and for their ability to pivot their operations, ultimately helping to preserve local jobs.

The two highlighted the many ways the Biden-Harris Administration is working to support our Hispanic and minority-owned business and help them build back better to create a more equitable economy for all.

Joining Graves, Castillo, and Febres were members of the Northern Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. President & CEO Susana Marino and NOVA board members Alberto Marino and Victor Florido joined the roundtable discussion and shed light on what local Hispanic small business owners, innovators, entrepreneurs are doing to strengthen our country, advanced job growth, and grow our economy.

Photo of AS Castillo and AS Graves at ArepaZone DC

EDA is committed to making sure Hispanic communities, and every American community, have access to the economic resources needed to continue to expand small businesses, accelerate startups, innovate, and comeback stronger post pandemic.

EDA’s American Rescue Plan programs, Revolving Loan Fund program, University Center program, and suite of funding competitions available through its Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship are all avenues to further build back better and strengthen regional economies across the United States.

Resource Directory Disaster Recovery Annual Reports Stay Connected
(Subscribe to EDA's monthly e-newsletter)

Facebook icon Instagram icon Twitter icon LinkedIn icon YouTube icon