President Joe Biden’s administration has installed Dilawar Syed, a notable Pakistani-American businessman, in the office of deputy administrator for the US Small Business Administration (SBA), despite strong opposition from Republicans.
Syed was named for this position by President Biden in January and was confirmed by a 54-42 Senate vote on Thursday. Five Republicans also voted to confirm him. Currently, he is the highest-ranking Muslim official in the US government.
The development was announced by the chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Ben Cardin, according to the Senate’s website.
Commenting on Syed’s prowess for the position, Cardin issued the following statement: “Small businesses across the country will benefit from Mr Syed’s confirmation. The vacancy caused harm to small business owners throughout our nation who depend on SBA to be fully staffed in order to access capital, contracting opportunities, and entrepreneurial development training.”
He added that throughout the confirmation process, Syed displayed remarkable patience and perseverance despite unwarranted delays, baseless accusations, and unrelated controversies.
“I am confident that America’s small businesses and the communities they support will benefit from him in this role. We look forward to working with Deputy Administrator Syed to build on the small business boom seen under the Biden-Harris Administration,” he added.
American Senator Chuck Schumer, taking to Twitter, also lauded Syed’s appointment for the position.
“There’s no better person to serve the interests of small business than someone who was a successful business owner himself,” he tweeted, highlighting that Syed is the “highest-ranking Muslim-American official in the executive branch.”
Syed, himself also thanked Biden for showing confidence in him.
“Deeply honored by the call to serve America’s small businesses. Grateful to @POTUS for his confidence in me. Energised to help build on President Biden’s record of resurgent small businesses,” he wrote in his tweet.
Syed’s nomination garnered widespread support from the small business community, as evidenced by endorsements from prominent organisations including the US Chamber of Commerce, US Black Chambers, National Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship, Small Business Roundtable, Small Business Majority, and over 150 civic, government, education, and business leaders.
After a long wait of over two years since US President Joe Biden’s initial nomination, the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship recently advanced Syed’s nomination.
This nomination, the Senate’s website mentioned, comes as a crucial step in filling a position that has remained vacant for nearly five years, causing significant detriment to small business owners across the country who rely on a fully staffed SBA for access to capital, contracting opportunities, and entrepreneurial development training.
Who is Dilawar Syed?
With an entrepreneurial journey spanning over 20 years, Syed brings a wealth of experience to business start-ups and advocates for inclusive entrepreneurship at various levels.
Currently serving as the Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs at the US Department of State, he plays a pivotal role in promoting trade, commercial, and economic policies through commercial advocacy.
Before his State Department position, Syed held leadership roles at various technology companies contributing to scaling their software products for small and medium-sized businesses.
In addition to his business expertise, the Pakistani-American businessman has held significant civic positions. During the Obama administration, he chaired the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Economic Growth.
In California, he led the California Entrepreneurship Task Force under Governor Gavin Newsom’s Office of Business and Economic Development.