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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sawyer named SBA Hawaii director

Advertiser Staff

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Jane A.Sawyer

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The U.S. Small Business Administration has named agency veteran Jane A. Sawyer as the new director of its Hawai'i district office.

Sawyer, who has served for 16 years in the SBA's Hawai'i office, succeeds Andrew K. Poepoe, who retired in January 2009. Karen Sakihama, normally the deputy district director, has served as acting district director the past 11 months.

Sawyer will lead a team of 13 managers and business specialists at the Hawai'i district and Guam branch offices. The district territory includes Hawai'i as well as American Sāmoa, Guam and other affiliated Pacific Islands.

She will oversee all activities of the local office, from loans and lending relations with financial institutions, to small-business training and counseling assistance through SBA resource partners such as the Small Business Development Centers, SCORE and Women's Business Centers.

In fiscal year 2009, the Hawai'i district office guaranteed 420 loans with a value of $55.5 million.

Through a range of consultations, workshops and seminars, the office assisted more than 10,300 small-business owners and entrepreneurs, directly and with their funded resource partners.

"Jane Sawyer will continue the strong tradition of the SBA Hawai'i district office assisting existing and aspiring entrepreneurs through loan programs, training and counseling, and assistance with government contracts,"Alberto G. Alvarado, SBA's acting administrator for the western region, said in in a news release.

"With Jane's experience and background, her transition to the top SBA position in Hawai'i will be a smooth one."

Sawyer joined the SBA in 1993 as the assistant district director for business development to manage the delivery of programs providing training, counseling and technical assistance to small businesses.

During her tenure, the Hawai'i district office provided new opportunities for small-business owners by expanding outreach, developing innovative resources such as the Business Information and Counseling Centers, establishing two additional Small Business Development Centers in Guam and American Sāmoa, and two Women's Business Centers in Hawai'i and American Sāmoa.

She has been responsible for public communications, marketing and media relations, as well as the annual SBA Small Business Awards program.