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Three of the four Small Business Persons of the Year for SBA were immigrants in 2012.

I had a very enriching experience I must share with you! SBA is committing to the country’s New American Initiative, so I was asked to represent the President and SBA Administrator at a Naturalization Ceremony to let  New Americans know about opportunities in our country for entrepreneurship.

I had attended a Naturalization Ceremony years ago, but didn’t remember much except the excitement of the family.

The 84 people taking the Oath of Citizenship that day came from 35 different birth countries. Not only that, six of them held scientific research positions at some of Kansas City’s most well-known hospitals, were college instructors,  and many of them worked in IT departments of some of Kansas City’s most prominent international businesses!  There were business owners, international and local, as well as homemakers and traditional blue collar workers.  The only thing they had in common was that they all had studied the U.S. Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution and how the U.S. government functions to pass a rigorous naturalization test, leading the Judge who officiated to note that they were now more educated about our country than the native born Americans.  The other thing they had in common is that they wanted to live in our land of opportunity more than the country in which they were born.

The Sons of the American Revolution sent a Flag Corp, as they did at every ceremony, to welcome them as we all Pledged Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America.

Following the ceremony, there was a table to sign up to vote, and the Johnson County Bar Association, sponsor of the ceremony, hosted a reception for where the New Americans and their family members were served cookies and punch. Pictures were taken for more than an hour. Everyone was dressed up.  And, these New Americans were all very proud to now be an American!

The Centers for Immigration Services noted that three more groups would be naturalized in the next 6 weeks – all classes of about the same size!

The SBA has noticed that New Americans as a group are creating businesses faster than any other demographic group.  Three of the four Small Business Persons of the Year for SBA were immigrants in 2012.  Something tells me these New Americans appreciate the opportunities in the United States and can teach us a thing or two about this country.

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About Patricia Brown-Dixon

Patricia Brown‐Dixon was named Regional Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Region VII Office by SBA Administrator Karen Mills in January of 2011 as a Schedule C appointee of President Barack Obama. Previously Ms. Brown‐Dixon served in the federal government by helping small business owners as the Director of the Office of Business and…