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Southwest University President in running for National SBA Award

After winning the 2016 Texas Small Business Person of the Year, local business woman Yolanda Arriola is now in the running for the 2016 National Small Business Person of the Year. Arriola is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Southwest University.

“It’s a huge honor,” said Arriola at a celebration Thursday at Southwest University. “(This is) a huge opportunity for the city of El Paso and a huge opportunity for every woman out there to realize that there is no limit that what we can do.”

“This is the first time in more than 20 years that El Paso has had a person win the (state) award,” said Phillip Silva, director of the El Paso area SBA office. “It’s a big deal for us.”

Cindy Ramos-Davidson, CEO of the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, nominated Arriola for the award. Ramos-Davidson said Arriola has a passion for education and a passion for El Paso that has made Southwest University a successful business. “It’s not a job for her, it’s her life,” Ramos-Davidson added.

“I want to say that this is not just my award,” said Arriola. “It belongs to my family, my husband, and my children that have always supported me. As much as everyone that works at Southwest University, and every student that attends Southwest University. Because they are the ones that believe in my mission and my vision and they have the passions that I have for what we do.”

54 winners from across the U.S. and its territories have been invited to attend ceremonies in Washington, D.C on May 1-2 where they will be awarded their individual awards along with recognition of the runners-up and the naming of the 2016 National Small Business Person of the Year.

National Small Business Week is set as the first week in May, and this year the dates are May 1-7 with national events planned in Washington, D.C., New York City, Atlanta, Denver, Phoenix and San Jose and Oakland, California.

In making the announcement of the winners, SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet said, “These small business owners represent the best of the best and showcase daily their entrepreneurial spirit and what it takes to be successful in today’s evolving and competitive business environment.”

“There are more than 28 million small businesses serving as the economic engine of our country, employing half of the private sector and creating two out of three net new jobs. If our small business sector was a country, its output would rank number three above Germany and Japan. I’m looking forward to welcoming these talented entrepreneurs to their nation’s capital and celebrating their stories to shine a light on American ingenuity and innovation.”

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