Rodriguez recognized for work in Hispanic business community
Tampa— September 20, 2013 — “I want to thank all of them [the Small Business Development Center team] for helping me be able to serve the Latino community and help them grow and exceed their businesses here and abroad,” Eileen Rodriguez said in her acceptance speech Thursday at the Tampa Hispanic Heritage Leadership awards dinner. Rodriguez was honored for her work within the Latino business community.
As the SBDC’s first Spanish-speaking business analyst, Rodríguez has helped Tampa Bay’s Hispanic community start and run successful businesses. For more than 15 years, she has provided no-cost business consulting to Hispanic entrepreneurs in order to help them gain greater access to the resources needed to increase the operational and financial performance of their businesses.
She developed and taught the center’s Spanish workshops. During her progression from business analyst to associate and then regional director, she continued to add bi-lingual consultants to the team in order to increase the center’s capacity to serve the region’s Hispanic community.
“Under Eileen’s direction, the SBDC’s Hispanic client base has grown to nearly 16 percent,” Orlando Nieves, of Centro, said.
Rodriguez is active in Hispanic, international and minority business organizations in the Tampa Bay area as well as abroad. Some of her professional and volunteer efforts to strengthen the Hispanic business community include:
- Assisting the Instituto Tecnologico de Cancun, in Cancun, Mexico, develop an SBDC.
- Working with the U.S. Small Business Administration in the implementation of the Trade Capacity Building Section under Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) in Costa Rica;
- Promoting trade between the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico and the state of Florida, via the FSBDC Network;
- Completing a Trade mission to Brazil to speak with business school leaders about possible collaborative programs;
- Implementing an Export Certificate Program in Guatemala under the Trade Capacity Building Section under Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).
Rodriguez graduated from the University of South Florida with a master’s in business administration and geology.
About the Small Business Development Center:
As the State Designated Principal Provider of Small Business Assistance [§ 288.001, Fla. Stat.], the Florida SBDC Network serves the diverse needs of entrepreneurs and businesses through no-cost consulting and value-added business training. Since its inception, FSBDCs have served more than 1.1 million entrepreneurs and small business owners and is the only statewide organization capable of providing business assistance through all stages of their business growth. The SBDC at USF is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide service network funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the SBA. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.