July 02, 2020

Cortez Masto Introduces Legislation to Invest in Minority-Owned Businesses

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) today introduced the Minority Business Resiliency Act. The bill would make the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), which was created by Executive Order in 1969, permanent and expand the reach of the agency by creating regional MBDA offices, strengthening its grant making capacity, and increasing its coordination with other federal agencies.

“In Nevada, our minority-owned businesses serve the needs of our incredibly diverse communities, but the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on minority entrepreneurs. In this time of crisis, it’s more important than ever that we do everything we can to support minority-owned businesses, and that includes putting in place these permanent programs to foster entrepreneurship and build wealth in Nevada’s communities of color.”

BACKGROUND:

Ensuring Nevada’s minority-owned and small businesses have the resources, information, and tools they need to thrive, especially in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, is a top priority of Senator Cortez Masto. She introduced legislation to help more small businesses access flexible Small Business Administration (SBA) funding to cover their operational costs and stay open. Last week, the Senator questioned the Honorable Kimberly A. Reed, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Export-Import Bank of the United States, about the Bank’s efforts to ensure minority-owned, veteran-owned and small businesses have access to the bank’s resources. Senator Cortez Masto has also called on the SBA and Treasury to ensure that minority-owned businesses are not shut out of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and that unbanked and minority-owned businesses are receiving the relief funding they need to weather this pandemic.

The Minority Business Resiliency Act would:

  • Address the disparate impact COVID-19 has had on minority businesses by increasing MBDA’s fiscal year 2020 budget to support MBEs through this crisis;
  • Provide certainty by placing the MBDA in statute and formally establishing processes for its largest program, the Minority Business Development Center (MBDC) Program;
  • Make the MBDA more effective by putting into law the mission and goals of the agency and giving it the proper tools to carry them out successfully;
  • Build a diverse pipeline of entrepreneurial talent by creating a new program to spur entrepreneurship at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and minority serving institutions (MSIs), and ensuring regional coverage of the MBDC Program; and
  • Expand the geographic reach of the MBDA by authorizing the creation of regional/district MBDA offices, building on the Economic Development Administration’s model.

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