Latino entrepreneurs should get an extra boost under a new joint program from the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

The program, announced this week, will connect Hispanic business owners and entrepreneurs with local lenders and offer business counseling. It follows a recent report that while the number of Hispanic-owned small businesses is surging--the percentage of Latinos among new entrepreneurs rose from 10.5% in 1996 to 22.9% in 2011, according to a study by the Kauffman Foundation--such companies grow more slowly than their peers.

The pilot program will launch in four states (Florida, California, Ohio and Utah) and four cities (Austin and El Paso, Texas, plus Nashville and Philadelphia).

Since 2009, the SBA says it has provided 12,000 loans worth $4.4 billion to Hispanic-owned small businesses, with nearly $1 billion in lending in 2012. Additionally, the agency has trained and counseled more than 532,000 businesses, according to SBA's website. 

"An economy built to last includes boosting entrepreneurship opportunities in Hispanic American communities," said SBA Administrator Karen Mills in the program's announcement.