Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) has introduced two pieces of legislation designed to empower entrepreneurs in underserved communities.
Cardin said the Closing the Credit Gap Act and the Unlocking Opportunities in Emerging Markets Act would enable entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams, build successful companies, create jobs and ensure the Small Business Administration (SBA) is coordinating and meeting the objectives of its diversity initiatives.
The Closing the Credit Gap Act would make the SBA’s 7(a) Community Advantage Pilot Program (CA) permanent, providing stability and certainty for existing lenders and attracting new lenders focused on underserved markets.
Officials noted the Unlocking Opportunities in Emerging Markets Act would establish an Office of Emerging Markets (OEM) within SBA’s Office of Capital Access to ensure SBA’s access to capital initiatives address the specific needs of entrepreneurs in underserved domestic emerging markets in a coordinated way.
“Capital is the lifeblood of small businesses and for too many minority, women and veteran entrepreneurs, the inability to access capital is what prevents them from pursuing their dreams and ideas,” Cardin, Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship ranking member, said. “With these two bills, we will build on the Community Advantage program’s demonstrated ability to get capital into the hands of underserved entrepreneurs, and we will empower a senior level official to oversee Community Advantage and other targeted efforts.”