By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
During President Biden’s visit to the Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce today, he showcased the unprecedented growth of Black small business ownership under his administration. In a press call, top White House officials attributed the surge in Black entrepreneurship, the fastest in 30 years, to Bidenomics, which the president pledged would receive further support through new investments targeting underserved communities.
Hero Plumbing, a Black-owned business in Milwaukee dedicated to removing lead pipes, is at the forefront of this success story. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s historic $15 billion funding allocation will help the company fulfill President Biden’s promise to do away with all lead service lines by the end of the decade.
While highlighting his administration’s significant investments in small businesses, particularly those owned by Black entrepreneurs, President Biden still faces opposition from some Republicans in Congress. However, administration officials said, despite GOP resistance, the American Rescue Plan played a vital role in sustaining small businesses during the pandemic.
Biden’s commitment to fostering opportunities for working families and small business owners is contrasted with Republicans in Congress advocating a return to failed trickle-down economics. Officials said Biden remains steadfast in his belief that diversity is crucial for economic security, making unprecedented investments in Black communities to safeguard the American dream.
Investing in Black Entrepreneurship and Opportunity
Administration officials noted that Biden’s “Investing in America” agenda has catalyzed historic gains in small business creation and entrepreneurship. They reported that a record 15 million applications to start new businesses had been filed since he took office, with Black business ownership growing faster than in three decades.
The administration’s investment in Black entrepreneurs has yielded positive results, including:
- A new record of nearly $70 billion in federal contracts awarded to small, disadvantaged businesses in FY 2022.
- $12 billion allocated to community lenders to expand access to capital, resulting in an estimated $50 billion increase in lending to Latino communities and a nearly $80 billion increase in lending to Black communities over the next decade.
- $10 billion in support for states, tribes, and territories, with $79 million dedicated to Wisconsin for capital access programs benefiting around 100,000 small businesses.
New Investments and Local Community Growth
Officials also said Biden continues to prioritize local, community-led economic development and small businesses. In Milwaukee, a city experiencing economic revitalization under his administration, the Grow Milwaukee Coalition is a finalist for the Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration Recompete Program. The CHIPS and Science Act funds this program to foster small business development, high-quality job creation, and economic opportunity in underdeveloped areas.
The Grow Milwaukee Coalition’s proposal aims to revitalize the historic 30th Street Industrial Corridor and connect the historically segregated Black community to economic opportunities across the city. This initiative aligns with President Biden’s commitment to building the economy from the middle out and the bottom up.
Historic Progress and Investments in Black-Owned Businesses
Further, the White House said Biden’s American Rescue Plan (ARP) has been pivotal in supporting small businesses, including Black-owned enterprises, in Wisconsin and nationwide. Key investments include:
- A $10 billion fund, including $79 million for Wisconsin, to help small businesses access capital.
- The Small Business Community Navigators Pilot Program provides $100 million to organizations supporting small businesses, significantly impacting Black-owned businesses.
- The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Capital Readiness Program is awarding $125 million to 43 non-profit organizations, including $3 million for Wisconsin.
Continued Support and Future Prospects
Biden’s Small Business Administration delivered $50 billion to small businesses in Fiscal Year 2023, with a focus on supporting underserved businesses, officials stated on the call. Federal contract spending on small, disadvantaged businesses reached a record-breaking $163 billion in 2022, exceeding the Administration’s goals.
“The president’s commitment to supporting small and minority-owned businesses extends to the clean energy sector, with investments in initiatives to grow disadvantaged clean energy businesses in underserved communities,” a senior official stated.
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