The U.S. Small Business Administration has announced a landmark collaboration with historically Black fraternities and sororities with the aim of addressing the wealth gap through Black entrepreneurship.
It is the first collaboration of its kind and will focus on improving financial literacy, outreach and capital access opportunities across historically underserved communities. The announcement was made ahead of Juneteenth, the federal holiday on June 19th that commemorates the Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Lincoln to free enslaved African Americans in secessionist states in 1863.
Opportunities for Black Entrepreneurs
The strategic alliance will help the SBA’s implementation of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to improving equity throughout the federal government and across the whole of America.
The partnership should provide opportunities for Black entrepreneurs as it will focus on expanding the SBA’s outreach while introducing Black entrepreneurs to the SBA’s suite of tools and resources to start and grow their businesses. This includes access to capital, government contracting opportunities and counseling.
Vital Resources and Support for Black Entrepreneurs
The head of the SBA, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, spoke about the collaboration, saying: “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.
“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. 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.”
The Divine Nine refers to the Council of Presidents of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), which is comprised of nine historically Black fraternities and sororities. The Divine Nine’s chairman, Reuben A. Shelton III, Esq., added: “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.”
NPHC Leading the Way
The NPHC is often represented on thousands of university campuses, including historically Black colleges and universities that were established before the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The NHPC has members in leadership roles across civic and business organizations and the faith community, and has over 2.5 million active members as well as many alumni members.
The NPHC have been a critical ally in helping to build trust within key communities as well as introducing small business owners to vital resources to grow their businesses and close the wealth gap. Their great work should now be bolstered by the collaboration with the SBA.
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