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Isabel Guzmán, SBA Administrator, meets with Black entrepreneurs.
The Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzmán signs an agreement with sororities of Black women. Photo: @SBAIsabel.

The SBA expands the offer of access to capital for diverse communities

The SBA reached an important agreement to improve financial education and expand access to capital, thus seeking to reduce the wealth gap.

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The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced the beginning of a historic collaboration with fraternities and sororities historically associated with Black women, which seeks to reduce the gap in access to wealth through entrepreneurial work.

To further this initiative, which is focused on improving access to financial education and capital in all communities, the SBA signed a Strategic Alliance Memorandum (SAM), SBA's exclusive authority among federal agencies, with President Reuben A Shelton III, Esq., on behalf of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC)’s Council of Presidents, comprised of nine historically black fraternities and sororities, often referred to as the "Divine Nine.”

“This historic alliance between the SBA and the NPHC—the first of its kind for a government agency—will bring SBA’s valuable small business resources into reach for many small businesses and entrepreneurs, furthering the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to build equity and close historic wealth gaps that have held back America’s Black entrepreneurs, small business owners and their families and communities for generations,” said Administrator Guzmán.

Guzmán also noted: “Over the past 18 months, the SBA has made incredible progress reaching more of America’s small businesses, delivering vital resources and support to entrepreneurs who have been historically underinvested in and overlooked—the same people and communities hit hardest by the COVID pandemic.”

Through this agreement, unique for a federal government agency, the partnership will focus on strengthening financial education within traditionally underserved communities, while increasing access to capital and federal contracting opportunities, thus expanding the reach of the agency and adding Black entrepreneurs to the SBA's suite of tools and resources to start and grow their businesses.

“The National Pan Hellenic Council and its affiliate organizations are very excited about this opportunity with the U.S. Small Business Administration. This collaboration will give NPHC members critical access to information that will promote small business growth and create jobs in all sectors of our economy,” added Reuben A. Shelton III, Esq., Chairman of the Council of Presidents of the National Pan-Hellenic Council and Grand Polemarch of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

The NPHC has more than 2.5 million active members and dozens of alumni. It also represents the following organizations:

  • Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
  • Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
  • Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
  • Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
  • Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
  • Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
  • Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
  • Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc.

“Working alongside partners and allies within the Divine Nine will provide even greater reach for the SBA to better provide the highly entrepreneurial Black community access to networks, financial literacy, technical training, and capital readiness so they can successfully realize their American Dreams of business ownership, create jobs, and advance our economy,” highlighted Guzmán.

More SBA Resources

The SBA has been implementing impactful reforms in the Community Advantage (CA) pilot loan program that prioritizes equitable access to capital for low-income borrowers and those from underserved communities. Similarly, the agency instituted hiring reforms to attract new and diverse contractors through the American Rescue Plan.

In addition, the SBA has expanded the number of Women's Business Centers (WBCs) to 146, the largest WBC network in SBA history. As of March 2021, the full list of WBCs housed on Historically Black College (HBCU) campuses now includes:

  • Miles College, Fairfield, Alabama
  • Savannah State University, Savannah, Ga.
  • Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD
  • Bowie State University, Bowie, MD
  • Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi
  • Alcorn State University, Lorman, Miss.
  • Bennett College, Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Winston-Salem State University, Winston Salem, North Carolina
  • Benedict College, Columbia, South Carolina
  • Virginia Union University, Richmond, Virginia

For additional information on SBA funding opportunities, click here.

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