SBA Forges New Alliance With US Black Chamber
by Marie Johns, SBA Deputy Administrator
Over the last three years, SBA has provided small businesses owners and entrepreneurs with the tools they need to not only survive, but thrive in tough economic times. We’ve supported more than $80 billion in loans to more than 150,000 businesses in tight credit markets and worked to bring 1,000 community banks back to SBA lending. Today, we’re seeing commercial markets improve, but we know gaps still remain, especially in underserved communities.
At the SBA, and across the Administration, we are committed to building strong communities and creating an economy built to last. I was excited to participate in the Administration’s annual African-American Women’s Forum earlier this week at the White House to underscore that commitment and highlight SBA’s efforts increase access and opportunity in our community.
We’ve stepped up our outreach to underserved communities and held eight White House Economic Forums to connect small business owners and entrepreneurs with the resources and networks they need to start, expand and create more jobs. Through that effort, we’ve had tangible results, reaching thousands of small business owners and millions more through social media. In addition, we established the Advisory Council on Underserved Communities (CUC) to get invaluable input on ways to improve our programs and services for our customers in underserved communities.
And we continue to look for new opportunities to expand our reach. That’s why today, I formalized a partnership with the U.S. Black Chamber, Inc. to build on our efforts to support underserved communities that have been hit hard by the recession. This partnership is designed to increase the participation of African American small businesses in SBA programs, including:
- Loan programs and access to capital initiatives;
- Government contracting programs like the 8(a) program and the Women-Owned Small Business Program; and
- Up-to-date information and access to SBA’s extensive resource partner network.
President Obama has fought since the beginning of his Administration to support small businesses. The success of America’s small businesses is critical to our economy, our communities, and our future. The partnership established today is yet another example of our commitment to creating an economy built to last one that is inclusive, resilient, and robust and brings more access and opportunity to more communities.