In Honor of Hispanic Heritage month 2012, the USF Society of Latinos (SOL) named Small Business Development Center Regional Director Eileen Rodriguez the recipient of its 2012 USF SOL Staff Award for her work in the Hispanic community.
As the Small Business Development Center’s first Spanish-speaking business analyst, Eileen Rodriguez has helped Tampa Bay’s Hispanic community start and run successful businesses. For more than 15 years, Rodriguez has provided no-cost business consulting to Hispanic entrepreneurs. Rodriguez developed and taught the center’s Spanish workshops, such as Steps to Starting a Small Business and Minority Business Enterprise Certification. During her progression from business analyst to associate and then regional director, she continued to add bilingual consultants to the team. Under Rodriguez’s direction, the SBDC’s Hispanic client base has grown to nearly 16 percent.
During the past year, Rodriguez has remained active in promoting the Hispanic community through her memberships in organizations such as the Hispanic Professional Women’s Association, where she’s been a member since 1994. She is also working with leaders in Colombia to help develop a business assistance center. Increasing the country’s economic capability will help boost American exports and give Hispanic Americans a huge advantage when conducting business in Colombia.
Also in the past year, Eileen has enhanced the USF SBDC’s capability to serve Hispanic clients by adding a center in Hillsborough County with three bilingual business consultants. In addition, she brought on an additional assistant director with extensive contacts and experience working with Spanish-speaking business owners.