By Paul Schott
Connecticut Post, Bridgeport
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The SBA’s Connecticut office supported loans worth about $284 million in the 2016 fiscal year, with marked growth in lending to minority-owned business contributing to that total. One female entrepreneur reflects on President Obama’s influence over the years.
When President Barack Obama entered the White House in 2009, Maclyne Josselin was a college senior worried about landing her first job. As he prepares to leave office next week, Josselin is a businesswoman thinking about the growth of her personal finance startup.
The election of the nation’s first African-American president galvanized many black entrepreneurs like Josselin and other minority business owners. For Josselin, his leadership revealed new possibilities for their own career. Others saw their prospects improve with policy changes enacted under his administration.
And the past eight years also brought a protracted economic recovery — one keenly felt by minority-owned businesses. Now they face a period clouded by uncertainty about a new president, even as much of the work to support their businesses’ growth will continue on a local level.
“I think what his presidency did for me personally was it inspired me to be in new places,” Josselin said in an interview last week. “It inspired me to go to places and seek out situations where I don’t usually see people who look like me or where people like me have never been.”
A new era
Obama did not arrive at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. with a record of business experience. He started as a community organizer in Chicago and would go on to teach at the University of Chicago’s law school before entering politics.
His aspirational rhetoric and personal history instilled confidence in many that he could manage the world’s largest economy.
“It gave me a sense of comfort, like his words were hugging me,” Josselin said in an interview for an article that ran in the November 2008 issue of Ebony magazine. “It’s different getting advice from someone from the outside, but with Barack, he’s been there, he can relate.”