WASHINGTON —The Senate today confirmed Dilawar Syed as Deputy Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) by a vote of 54-42. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Ben Cardin (D-Md.) issued the following statement:
“Small businesses across the country will benefit from Mr. Syed’s confirmation. The vacancy caused harm to small business owners throughout our nation who depend on SBA to be fully staffed in order to access capital, contracting opportunities, and entrepreneurial development training,” said Chair Cardin. “While his confirmation has been a process fraught with unacceptable delaying tactics, unfounded accusations, and unrelated controversies, Mr. Syed has shown only patience and perseverance. I am confident that America’s small businesses and the communities they support will benefit from him in this role. We look forward to working with Deputy Administrator Syed to build on the small business boom seen under the Biden-Harris Administration.”
Since he was first nominated for this position, Syed’s nomination received broad support in the small business community, earning endorsements from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Black Chambers, National Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship, Small Business Roundtable, Small Business Majority, and more than 150 civic, government, higher education and business leaders and organizations.
Yesterday, Chair Cardin spoke on the Senate floor to recognize the importance of his confirmation. Below are Chair Cardin’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
CHAIR CARDIN: I rise today in strong support for the confirmation of Dilawar Syed to fill the long-vacant role of Deputy Administrator for the Small Business Administration (SBA).
After more than two years since President Biden first nominated Mr. Syed, the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, finally reported Mr. Syed’s nomination out of committee earlier this year.
Mr. Syed was nominated to fill a position that has been vacant for nearly five years. The vacancy caused harm to small business owners throughout our nation who depend on SBA to be fully staffed in order to access capital, contracting opportunities, and entrepreneurial development training.
In an entrepreneurial career spanning over two decades, Mr. Syed has experience starting businesses and advocating for inclusive entrepreneurship at the international, federal, and state level.
He currently serves as the Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, where he advances trade, commercial, and economic policies through commercial advocacy. Prior to his position at the State Department, Mr. Syed was CEO at Lumiata, a healthcare technology company, and President at Freshworks, where he helped scale the software company’s products to reach thousands of small and medium sized businesses.
Mr. Syed has also held a number of civic positions. In the Obama administration, he served as Chair of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Economic Growth, and in California, he chaired the California Entrepreneurship Task Force under Governor Gavin Newsom’s Office of Business and Economic Development.
With experience at the State Department as Special Representative and leadership roles in business, entrepreneurship, and public service, he is very well positioned to help SBA meet this critical moment small businesses face across the nation.
As our small businesses continue to recover from the pandemic while facing new challenges, it is essential that SBA is fully equipped to meet their needs.
During the pandemic, the agency provided relief to millions of existing small businesses. Now, record levels of new businesses are being created under the Biden-Harris administration. SBA has a unique opportunity to foster the continuation of this small business boom, making sure that entrepreneurs have the resources, assistance, and capital that will create economic prosperity for communities across the country.
While SBA has worked tirelessly to provide this assistance, the pandemic exposed a clear need for modernization, technical upgrades, new resources, and reforms at SBA. That is why we need a Deputy Administrator today more than ever. The skills and qualifications Mr. Syed possesses are a perfect fit for the SBA’s needs. He has broad support from dozens of small business organizations that understand the needs of entrepreneurs. They know Mr. Syed as an individual who will endlessly continue to advocate for and support our small businesses.
Allowing the position of Deputy Administrator to remain empty for so long is a great disservice to our nation’s small business owners. His confirmation process has been fraught with unacceptable delaying tactics, unfounded accusations, and unrelated controversies. Throughout it all, however, Mr. Syed has shown only patience and perseverance. I am honored to stand here today – finally – to support his nomination for the position of SBA Deputy Administrator. I am confident that America’s small businesses and the communities they support will benefit from him in this role. I urge all my colleagues to support his confirmation. This is what our small business community needs. I urge my colleagues to ratify this nomination. With that I yield the floor.