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by Sharon Garcia April 29, 2022

By Clarinda Landeros, NALCAB Director of Public Policy
April 29, 2022

As we celebrate National Small Business Week this year (May 1-7, 2022), we honor the ingenuity and perseverance of Latino entrepreneurs – key drivers of economic growth in this country.  Latinos are twice as likely to start a business as the rest of the population and over the past ten years, the number of Latino-owned businesses (LOBs) has grown 35%. From LMS Computer Repair in Fresno, CA to Fresh and Shine Cleaning Services in Washington, DC, not only are these small businesses fueling local economies, but they are also contributing to the cultural fabric of communities. We are proud to support their success and ensure Latino entrepreneurs can continue to propel business growth and create jobs.

Since February, we have been engaged in a series of one-on-one meetings with the US Small Business Administration (SBA) regarding efforts to better reach underserved small businesses. We have discussed key issues such as the SBA’s loan products and their accessibility to Latino entrepreneurs.  As a result of these meetings, NALCAB President and CEO Marla Bilonick joined Vice President Kamala Harris and SBA Director Isabel Guzman last month in unveiling proposed changes to the Community Advantage (CA) program that will help even more of our nation’s innovators start a business, grow and create new jobs.

Access to capital is one of the greatest challenges to success for minority entrepreneurs and those aspiring to start a small businesses. The CA Program expands access to capital for small businesses located in underserved communities through Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) & other mission-driven lenders. The Administration recognizes that mission-based lenders can connect with the needs of Latino entrepreneurs and are best equipped to provide the resources to help them succeed. CA is one of the SBA’s most successful lending programs for Latino small businesses, reaching “significantly more women and minorities than the traditional 7(a) loan program.”

These changes to the CA program will strengthen a lending tool targeted to underserved entrepreneurs and go a long way in leveling the playing field to ensure Latinos can access the tools needed to run successful businesses. For our country to truly build back better through entrepreneurship, our policies must be intentional and explicit in supporting their success. We applaud the SBA for working with us to make the American dream of entrepreneurship achievable for all who aspire to it.

SBA issued a notice in the Federal Register regarding changes to the CA program and the public comment period. Click here to read the notice.

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