Small Business Administration Calls for Ideas to Reach Underserved Entrepreneurs

The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) regional office is calling for ideas on how they might better serve entrepreneurs in underserved communities, and is asking credit unions to contribute.

SBA Regional Administrator Calvin Goings has made it a goal this year to increase the SBA’s support for underserved entrepreneurs and small businesses, especially women-owned, minority-owned, and LGBT-owned businesses.

“Calvin recognizes that for the SBA to be completely successful, that success needs to include the underserved,” said Connie Marshall, the SBA’s regional communications director. “He wants the SBA’s work to include all the diverse faces in this region.”

As part of that effort, the SBA is calling on credit unions to share their best ideas about the needs of underserved entrepreneurs and how the SBA might collaborate to help meet them. Interested credit unions can click here to send a message to Marshall.

Over the past several months, regional SBA staff has met and sought input from small business owners, prospective entrepreneurs, consumer advocates, government partners, civic leaders, nonprofit executives, progressive thought leaders, and community activists. They say that the sustained focus and effort has led to some important progress, including:

  • The number of smaller dollar loans made to African-American owned businesses is up 30%.
  • For the first time in eight years, over 23% of all federal procurements went to small businesses.
  • Over 2,000 women entrepreneurs were counseled and two new Women’s Business Centers were opened.
  • Washington CASH is providing targeted business training to minority and low-income entrepreneurs.
  • SBA’s “Many Faces, One Dream” initiative is providing outreach to the LGBT business community.
  • Counselors have held 20 business trainings at local military installations for prospective entrepreneurs.

Marshall said that this effort is being developed and piloted in the Seattle area, but best practices can be scaled across the four states in the SBA’s Region X — Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska.

“It’s a great opportunity to help develop programs and practices to make a regional impact,” said Marshall.

Click here to send your ideas to Marshall, or to request more information. The SBA also hosts many events to help entrepreneurs and small businesses that may be of interest to credit union members. Find a listing of those events at the SBA website.

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790, jpearson@nwcua.org.

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