Dilawar Syed is the New Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Syed was ceremonially sworn in as Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in Washington, D.C. The bipartisan Senate confirmation vote of 54-42 marked the beginning of Syed’s tenure at the SBA. His appointment signals a renewed commitment to small businesses and innovative startups, an imperative aspect of the Biden-Harris administration’s broader economic agenda.
SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman expressed confidence in Syed’s ability to elevate the organization’s mission, stating, “Deputy Administrator Syed’s demonstrated passion and experience will be a value-add to the SBA as we continue to build upon the small business boom achieved during the Biden-Harris Administration.” Guzman’s sentiments underscore the administration’s commitment to grow the economy from the middle out and bottom up as part of President Biden’s historic ‘Investing in America’ agenda.
For small business owners, the implications of Syed’s appointment are wide-reaching. Guzman explained that Syed will be instrumental in enabling small businesses and innovative startups to access capital, grow revenues, and receive mentorship to navigate marketplace challenges and seize opportunities.
In response to his appointment, Deputy Administrator Syed said, “I am honored to serve as Deputy Administrator supporting millions of small businesses across America.” Syed drew parallels between his personal experiences as an entrepreneur and the Biden-Harris administration’s mission of creating a strong, competitive, and equitable American economy. He stated, “I couldn’t be more ready to work alongside Administrator Guzman as we expand access to capital, networks, and resources that entrepreneurs need to realize their American Dream.”
Syed brings a wealth of experience to his new role. Prior to joining the SBA, he served as Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs at the State Department. In that role, he advocated for U.S. companies’ competitiveness in global markets and mobilized the private sector to support Ukraine following Russia’s invasion. He also advocated for major commercial deals in strategic sectors, including aviation and defense, energy, critical minerals, and technology.
Syed’s private sector experience is equally impressive. Before joining the Biden administration, he was CEO of Lumiata, an AI healthcare company focused on improving patient outcomes and reducing healthcare costs. As President of Freshworks, he founded the enterprise software company’s North America business, overseeing its sales, marketing, customer success, and partnerships. He also held significant roles at Yahoo! and SAP, further cementing his understanding of the dynamic business landscape.
In addition, Syed held positions of significant public trust, including serving as the founding Chair of the California Entrepreneurship Task Force and chairing the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) Economic Growth Committee under the Obama administration.
Small Business Deals
A graduate of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and The University of Texas at Austin, Syed’s appointment brings an infusion of experience and expertise to the SBA. His journey from successful entrepreneur to public servant mirrors the American Dream he seeks to facilitate for other small business owners, making him a uniquely suited figure to drive the SBA’s mission forward. Small business owners can anticipate the potential of expanded access to resources, mentorship, and capital under Syed’s leadership.
Image: Dilawar Syed