February 27, 2015
SBA Administrator, NAGGL Honor Local Business Entrepreneur
BALTIMORE, MD- In celebration of Black History Month, local business owner James Hamlin was honored at an event hosted by the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders (NAGGL). NAGGL was joined by Small Business Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. During the event, Mr. Hamlin was presented with the Champion of Small Business Entrepreneurship Award.
Mr. Hamlin was able to open Avenue Bakery with funds acquired through the SBA 7(a) loan program, which provides financing for small business owners. This loan, provided through a partnership between the Small Business Administration and Susquehanna Bank, helped Mr. Hamlin continue his longstanding dedication to community development.
“We are proud to honor James Hamlin with this award. His story is an example of successful community revitalization that we hope to emulate around the country,” said Tony Wilkinson, the president of NAGGL. “We look forward to further opportunities to partner with lenders like Susquehanna Bank to provide access to capital in underserved communities nationwide.”
Mr. Hamlin has been a leader in the effort to revitalize Baltimore’s Pennsylvania Avenue for more than two decades. Since Avenue Bakery opened its doors in 2011, it has been a model for positive restoration in the neighborhood, and business continues to grow.
"Pennsylvania Avenue and the surrounding community is the most historic African-American community in the country. It was important to me that my bakery not only become a successful business, but also to spark the revitalization of this neighborhood," said James Hamlin. "Susquehanna Bank, SBA, and NAGGL were a key part of that - and I'd like to continue to work with them to help broaden their outreach and education in underserved communities."
“I’ve been on the job for about a year now at SBA, and I’ve made increasing capital to underserved communities one of the top priorities of my tenure,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. “As a former banker, I’ve seen how SBA capital has helped revitalize communities. I’m proud to report that since I started at the SBA last April, our lending to the African-American community is up 35 percent. Mr. Hamlin’s work symbolizes Pennsylvania Avenue’s resurgence.”
The National Association for Government Guaranteed Lenders (NAGGL) serves the needs and represents the interests of the Small Business Administration (SBA) lending community as they finance a wide variety of Main Street small business needs through SBA’s primary loan portfolio, the 7(a) program. Our members expand access to capital for job-creating startups and existing small businesses nationwide. NAGGL has grown the industry and the small business sector by helping the 7(a) program flourish—burgeoning from $1 billion in 1984 to $19.2 billion in FY 2014 loans to entrepreneurs.