The U.S. Department of Commerce awards $4.7 million to Black and Latino business centers
The new grant goes towards diverse businesses across 34 states.
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Last week, the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) announced that it has awarded $4.72 million in federal funding in order to provide a boost to Black and Latino businesses across the country.
In addition to the funding, the Biden-Harris Administration provided $34 million to support the Business Center Program, an initiative that will provide contracting opportunities and technical assistance to business owners.
Other funding includes grants of up to $2.1 million to open six business centers in Utah, Arkansas, Oregon, South Carolina, Indiana and Wisconsin.
“What the president has done is historic. This is the most money ever that has been put into the Minority Business Development Agency,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo told The Black Wall Street Times last week.
The goal is to give diverse entrepreneurs and small business owners of color enough money to give their new business a shot to make it successful.
“This economic comeback after COVID, People of Color have done better than any other economic comeback that we’ve had,” Raimondo stated.
She also added that now is a crucial time to give funding to BIPOC businesses, especially since between February and April of 2020, Black business ownership declined more than 40%, the largest drop across any ethnic group.
Secretary Raimondo, who is a former small business owner, is determined to show individuals the significance of diversity when it comes to small businesses.
“It’s very important, it’s extremely important, right now there’s about 10 million minority-owned businesses in America that employ over eight million Americans,” said Raimondo. “If we make sure those 10 million companies access all of the contracts that are going to be out there, we can add millions of jobs to our economy. We’re making sure that everybody and every community has a comeback and so this is a big deal because minority-owned businesses represent a massive economic engine in our economy, so the more we support them, the more people they hire, the faster, the stronger the comeback is.”
In her view, the country’s greatest economic strength is its diversity.
She added that it is important to find ways to ensure that diversity is included, because otherwise, it will weaken the economy.
In addition to strengthening existing business centers, the new funding will also go toward the creation of several new centers across the country.