SBA refreshes Equity Action Plan to serve diverse entrepreneurs

The SBA has announced an updated Equity Action Plan that it says will deliver more support to entrepreneurs from underserved communities

The SBA has announced an updated Equity Action Plan that it says will deliver more support to entrepreneurs from underserved communities.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has revealed details of its revised Equity Action Plan, a strategy for addressing systemic inequalities among entrepreneurs in terms of accessing government and investor support.

The SBA’s new Equity Action Plan plans to accomplish its primary ambitions by achieving a variety of goals, each helping to serve small business owners from underserved communities in different ways. These objectives and the tactics to complete them are as follows:

Improve loan capital access: the SBA plans to enroll lenders that can reach underserved entrepreneurs, leverage recent revisions to its own lending policies that make the application process easier to complete, and call on the government to implement a rule that would distribute more loans to “justice-involved entrepreneurs.”

Improve access to government contracts: the SBA will strive to connect small business owners from disadvantaged communities with federal contracts. Last month, the agency revitalized its 7(J) Management and Technical Assistance Program (now called Empower to Grow), which helps entrepreneurs understand and navigate the government contracting process.

Improve access to disaster assistance: the SBA will leverage technological upgrades and streamlined application processes to pair underserved small business owners with more financial support.

Improve education: the SBA plans to conform its business education and training resources to the unique needs of disadvantaged entrepreneurs.

Improve investor capital access: new SBA policies will increase the number of diverse participants in the Small Business Investment Company program, increasing the chances that investor money will be distributed to entrepreneur candidates from underserved communities.

The first phase of the Equity Action Plan was first implemented in response to one of the Biden Administration’s first executive orders, which called on government agencies to identify changes that would allow them to serve a more diverse audience. In a statement, SBA administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman noted that the President’s efforts had changed the face of American entrepreneurship, giving small business owners from disadvantaged backgrounds the same chance to succeed as their peers. “The SBA’s updated Equity Action Plan recognizes the tremendous value that diverse entrepreneurs bring to our economy in terms of job creation, innovation, and domestic and international competition,” she added. “As America continues to enjoy an unprecedented Small Business Boom, the SBA remains determined in its efforts to boost entrepreneurship among people of color, women, veterans, and those from rural communities, and this updated Equity Action Plan is a testament to that commitment.”

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