Teresa Mercado-Cota Selected as 2014 Minority Small Business Champion of the Year
Teresa Mercado-Cota, Executive Board member of the National Hispanic Business Women Association, and Assistant Dean of Student Services at Santa Ana College, has been selected to receive the 2014 Minority Small Business Champion of the Year Award from the Small Business Administration, Santa Ana District Office. Mercado-Cota was nominated for the award by Elizabeth Arteaga, Associate Director of the Orange County Small Business Development Center (OCSBDC), in light of Mercado-Cota’s efforts to form a partnership with OCSBDC in order to develop and offer educational programs for small businesses.
Mercado-Cota began working with Santa Ana College in 1989 and served in a variety of capacities, including Student Service Specialist, High School and Community Outreach Specialist, Coordinator of Community Relations, Director of the PEW Civic Leadership Program, and Director of Community Relations and External Affairs. Through her leadership of the National Hispanic Business Women Association (NHBWA), women business owners have found resources and opportunity to grow their businesses. She is a founding member of the Feria Para Empresarios annual conference, an event through which Hispanic small businesses in Orange County and beyond are given access to training in a bi-lingual, bi-cultural setting.
As President of NHBWA and now as an Executive Board member, Mercado-Cota was instrumental in growing sponsorships 100%, partnerships by 200%, and membership by more than 200%. In addition, she led the development of its website, online publications and communications, including an online news brief. In partnership with business organizations such as the Orange County SBDC, Eli House, and others, she helped develop and provide business workshops and seminars on topics including business planning, starting a business, marketing, and financing, and secured funding to provide these programs at no cost for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Mercado-Cota also built relationships and partnerships to provide professional services to the minority small business community, including partnerships with the Earned Income Tax Credit program (EITC) in partnership with Orange County United Way, Legal Aid Society of Orange County, several elected officials, and business and community organizations. She was instrumental in forming a partnership between Union Bank and the Santa Ana College Foundation to support a college/university transfer program for Latino youth.
“Teresa’s career and community volunteerism have helped to bridge the gaps between business, community, and higher education. Her efforts have paved the way for minorities fulfilling their dreams of citizenship, access to education, and business ownership,” said J. Adalberto Quijada, District Director for SBA’s Santa Ana District Office.
In addition to her work with Santa Ana College and NHBWA, Mercado-Cota has served on several boards, including Chapman University Advisory Council, KinderCaminata, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Orange County, and the Santa Ana Community Leadership Institute.
Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, in order to recognize the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. As part of National Small Business Week, SBA takes the opportunity to highlight their impact, working to grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness.