The Minority Enterprise Business Development Awards held Oct. 21 recognized entrepreneurs and lenders who are fostering the growth of minority-owned businesses. David Hinson, national director of the Minority Business Development Agency with the U.S. Department of Commerce, introduced U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., the keynote speaker for the event. Hinson touted the potential of President Barack Obamaâ¿¿s American Jobs Act to create 1.5 million jobs and the administrationâ¿¿s record in creating jobs. He credited the administration with creating 2.4 million jobs in the private sector, while acknowledging that the economy is still struggling, asking for a show of hands of those who have friends or family who are unemployed. A majority of attendees raised their hands. Hinson said the administration has taken steps to fast-track the patent and trademark process. It has also moved to pay government vendors in 15 days rather than 30, Hinson said. Minority-owned businesses are well-positioned to move into exporting, an area the administration has emphasized, because owners often have language skills and cultural knowledge that give them an edge, he added. Hinson said his office is available to help small businesses and advocates, and gave his direct phone number and e-mail address to attendees. Lujan applauded the news that combat troops will leave Iraq by the end of the year and said the country needs to be ready to put veterans to work and support them in their entrepreneurial endeavors. Obamaâ¿¿s Jobs Act has a component supporting veterans, he noted. The U.S. Small Business Administrationâ¿¿s New Mexico office gave two awards at the event. Wells Fargo Bank took the award for Top 7(a) Lender, which it has won 12 times in the past 13 years, said John Woosley, SBA district director. The bank originated 36 loans in New Mexico totaling nearly $16 million.