April 20, 2023

Cortez Masto Pushes Bipartisan Legislation to Promote Professional Development for Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) is reintroducing two pieces of bipartisan legislation to promote professional development in entrepreneurship for underserved students and to support new business development and growth in Nevada and across the country.

“I’m working to ensure that the next generation of Nevada’s innovators can get a strong start on their brightest ideas and to make it easier to start new businesses,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “My bipartisan bills will connect our young entrepreneurs with seasoned professionals to learn how to get their ideas off the ground and will cut red tape that can keep new business owners from growing to their full potential.”

The bipartisan 21st Century Entrepreneurship Act, which is cosponsored by U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), would connect students enrolled in 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) with mentors from the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) to help them develop professional skills in entrepreneurship. CCLC is a federal program that supports local afterschool and summer learning programs for students with high potential at under-resourced schools. SCORE provides business counseling to entrepreneurs via more than 11,000 volunteer counselors who are working or retired business owners. Research has shown that exposure to entrepreneurship during childhood greatly increases the likelihood of becoming an entrepreneur as an adult. 

“Lending a helping hand is what the volunteer spirit is all about,” said Senator Blackburn. “A strong mentor can make a life-changing impact on a young adult’s future. The 21st Century Entrepreneurship Act ensures that Tennessee’s entrepreneurs of tomorrow have someone to guide them today. I’m glad to once again join Senator Cortez Masto in introducing this bipartisan legislation.”

Specifically, this bipartisan bill would require the Small Business Administration (SBA) to develop an entrepreneurship curriculum for 21st CCLC and encourage SCORE volunteers to partner with local chapters to provide training and mentorship. It would also amend the Small Business Act and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to ensure these partnerships fall within the mission of each agency.

Cortez Masto is also spearheading the bipartisan Supporting NEW BUSINESSES Act, which is cosponsored by U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), to require the SBA to provide annual awards that would encourage states and localities to reduce red tape and streamline the process for starting a new business. Under this bipartisan legislation, the SBA would recognize communities across the country that are making it easier for small businesses to get off the ground. These federal awards would allow communities to market themselves as award winning, business friendly areas and help them attract additional capital and business opportunities.

“Every business counts – to the community and to the state,” said Senator Moran. “Celebrating cities and states that implement innovative solutions to cut red tape, reduce bureaucracy and make it easier for entrepreneurs to build successful businesses will encourage communities to enact policies that promote economic growth.”

You can view the bill text of the 21st Century Entrepreneurship Act HERE and the bill text of the Supporting NEW BUSINESSES Act HERE

Senator Cortez Masto has been a strong advocate for small businesses. She has introduced legislation to protect small businesses from expensive data breaches and cyber-attacks, create a voucher program to encourage small business partnerships with higher education institutions for research and development, and to help small businesses whose operations are harmed by wildfire smoke. Last year, the administration answered her call to extend the deferment period for small businesses to repay loans to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, and she has led legislation to streamline the EIDL program and combat fraud.