Bipartisan Senate proposal would grant $50 million to minority businesses

A bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill Wednesday to grant minority entrepreneurs $50 million to establish and grow their businesses.

The bill, introduced by Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), would channel funds for the grants through the Small Business Administration to projects managed by Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).

MSIs include colleges and universities that serve a majority or a plurality of Black, Hispanic, Asian or Native American communities.

A report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that minority-owned small businesses were especially hard-hit by the economic effects of the pandemic, as were entrepreneurs over the age of 45 who lost their businesses in 2020.

This included 19 percent of Asian-owned businesses, 16 percent of Black-owned businesses and 11 percent of Hispanic-owned businesses.

“Small businesses are critical to the success of our communities in North Carolina and across the nation, and we must continue to develop the minority entrepreneurs and innovators of tomorrow to sustain economic growth and job creation,” said Tillis in a statement.

Minority-owned businesses have historically had trouble accessing credit and other business services that can help expand or maintain ownership during hard times.

“In my state of Nevada, small businesses are the economic engine of our communities, and COVID-19 has posed significant challenges for minority entrepreneurs and small business owners in particular,” said Rosen.

The Rosen-Tillis bill would focus its funding on training, technical assistance, access to capital, opening incubators and business development.

Under the bill, participating MSIs would receive grants of no less than $250,000 to administer among local businesses in need of technical assistance.

The proposed bill received support from a variety of minority institutions in Nevada, including MSIs and business associations.

“Senator Rosen’s [Minority Entrepreneurship Grant Program Act] will harness the educational content of our higher education institutions to set up aspiring entrepreneurs of color for success,” said Sonny Vinuya, president of the Las Vegas Asian Chamber of Commerce.

“This bill will benefit small businesses in both urban and rural communities, and we are proud to wholeheartedly support the Senator’s efforts to provide meaningful resources for our minority small business community.”

Updated 12:12 p.m.

Tags Jacky Rosen minority owned businesses Small Business Administration Thom Tillis

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