Biden Nominates Pakistani-American to Top SBA Position

Dilawar Syed has been nominated to serve as the deputy administrator of the Small Business Admini­stration if confirmed by Senate.

By Staff Report
US President Joe Biden and Lumiata CEO Dilawar Syed. — Photo courtesy India-West

President Joe Biden has inducted a third Pakistani-American into his team, the White House has announced.

Dilawar Syed has been nominated to serve as the deputy administrator of the Small Business Admini­stration (SBA), if confirmed by the US Senate. Congressional sources say his nomination has been received in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Syed currently serves as the president and chief executive officer of the California-based Lumiata, an Artificial Intelligence company purpose-built for the healthcare industry. He was previously the president at Freshworks, a cloud software company.

Syed took to Twitter to confirm his nomination. “I am deeply humbled & honored by President Biden’s nomination of me to help lead @SBAgov as the Deputy Administrator” and will “put my heart and soul into helping small businesses everywhere” as the “grit of small businesses” made America strong.


Syed holds an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and earned a BA in Economics and Computer Science from The University of Texas at Austin. He immigrated to the US from Pakistan as a freshman student to attend The College of Wooster in Ohio, the White House statement said.

The White House statement noted that Syed had a history of furthering civic efforts “at the federal, state, and local level focusing on economic growth and entrepreneurship”.

He also served on Pre­sident Obama’s White House Commission on Asian Amer­icans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) and chaired the White House Initiative on AAPIs’ Economic Growth Committee.

In that role, Syed led the administration’s engagement with small businesses across the U.S. after the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  Syed also served as a liaison with the Small Business Administration and the Department of Commerce on federal initiatives such as the President’s Export Council.

President Biden has already taken two Pakistani Americans, Salman Ahmed and Ali Zaidi into his team. Ahmed is a national security and foreign policy adviser who is now the director of policy planning in the Biden administration. Zaidi is a lawyer and political adviser who joined the administration as the first deputy White House National Climate Adviser.

Before joining the Biden administration, Ahmed was chief of staff of the US Mission to the United Nations and senior policy adviser to the US Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

Zaidi, who played a key role in drafting and implementing the Obama administration’s climate action plan, works directly under former Secretary of State John Kerry who is now Mr Biden’s special envoy for the climate. He also helped negotiate the Paris Climate Agreement.

President Biden has also inducted two women from the Indian-occupied Kashmir into his team.

Sameera Fazili is the deputy director of the National Economic Council (NEC) and Aisha Shah is a partnership manager at the White House Digital Strategy team.

Uzra Zeya, another Ind­ian Muslim, has been appointed Undersecretary of State for arms control, democracy and human rights.

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