April 12, 2024

Strengthening Buy America in Ohio

By Geri Aglipay

America’s Great Lakes states are known for manufacturing. Mighty Ohio manufactures steel to electronic chips. 84.65 percent of Ohio’s manufacturers have under 100 employees, but equal 42.3 percent of Ohio’s manufacturing workforce, according to the United States Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Advocacy. Though small, they fuel America’s pandemic recovery, and under President Biden, also our nation’s lowest unemployment since 1970. To strengthen American manufacturing, the Biden-Harris Administration has launched a whole-of-government initiative to enhance federal procurement and other programs; SBA spearheads these efforts.

One Ohio small manufacturer using SBA programs to become a success is woman-owned Tortilleria La Bamba, LLC. Leticia Ortiz immigrated to Ohio from Mexico in 2000, dreaming of owning a restaurant supply manufacturer. She bought equipment, rented space, and made tortillas. Initial sales were difficult: “I had to visit the first restaurants we sold to. Eventually people started calling us,” said Leticia. In time, the manufacturer’s income skyrocketed. When Leticia needed capital to grow in 2012, 2013, 2015, and survive during the pandemic, she obtained SBA-backed loans for working capital and to keep workers on payroll. Tortilleria La Bamba, LLC expanded its products and now distributes throughout Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Small businesses can also grow revenue through free SBA certification to sell to the federal government, ensuring President Biden’s vision of a future made in America by America’s workers. SBA is the only cabinet-level federal agency dedicated to small businesses making goods and services produced in America for America’s consumption, creating jobs, income, and wealth. Providing millions of dollars in financing and federal contracts, plus no-cost business counseling, SBA also supports underserved entrepreneurs such as women, women of color, and rural owners so they may build wealth.

SBA’s products and assistance help entrepreneurs start, buy, grow, expand, or recover from disasters. I encourage all to contact SBA’s Ohio offices: SBA’s Northern Ohio Office at: http://www.sba.gov/district/northern-ohio, and SBA’s Central and Southern Ohio Office at: www.sba.gov/district/central-and-southern-ohio, or visit www.SBA.gov. To recover from the pandemic we must buy American, and to do that, our nation’s small businesses can turn to the SBA to help build America.

Submitted by Geri Sanchez Aglipay. Geri Sanchez Aglipay is the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Regional Administrator, Great Lakes Region V, covering Illinois, Indiana, Michigan Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.