Legislation would invest $ 250 million to support economic development in low-income, rural and minority communities
U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., A senior member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and U.S. Senator Alex Padilla, D-Calif., Introduced the Revitalizing Small and Local Businesses Act. This bipartisan legislation would create a new competitive grant program through the Economic Development Administration (EDA) for nonprofits, business districts and main street organizations that provide tailor-made assistance and on the ground to small businesses in urban and rural communities.
“The coronavirus pandemic has hit small businesses in local communities across the country,” Senator Wicker said. “This legislation would support the economic development of main streets in small towns in America and Mississippi. It would also empower rural, low-income and minority-owned businesses through direct funding and technical assistance. ”
“The holiday shopping season is a reminder of how important small businesses are to our communities and our local economies,” said Senator Padilla. “Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on many small businesses, especially those in low-income, rural and minority communities. As we work to rebuild better, we cannot leave Main Street behind. The Revitalizing Small and Local Businesses Act would provide funding to organizations that support our small businesses, leveraging their expertise and knowledge of local neighborhoods to help entrepreneurs thrive.
State and national business leaders commended Wicker and Padilla for their efforts to provide this much needed funding.
“The Small Business and Local Business Revitalization Act will give organizations like ours the ability to expand their reach and provide more help to entrepreneurs,” said Brantley Snipes, executive director of Main Street Greenwood. “Our small businesses are the lifeblood of the Greenwood community, and this legislation will help us fill the gaps in the support they need.”
“We sincerely thank Senator Wicker for his support in introducing the Revitalizing Small and Local Businesses Act and appreciate bipartisan efforts to invest in local initiatives that drive inclusive economic growth,” said David L. Jackson, Executive Director of Delta Housing Development Corporation. “We believe the legislation will help streamline access to EDA resources and expand support for small businesses and business districts in Mississippi. Our small rural communities will benefit greatly from these investments.
“Latino entrepreneurs are the main agents of our nation’s economy, creating about one in four businesses in the United States. Their success is key to our economic recovery from the pandemic,” said Marla Bilonick, president and chief executive officer. the leadership of the National Association of Latino Community Builders. “Government assistance, while rapid, can expand in terms of connecting and meeting their unique needs. By leveraging the expertise of national nonprofits that have already successfully served Latin American entrepreneurs and other underserved entrepreneurs, the Small Business and Local Business Revitalization Act will level the playing field. and provide the specialist assistance small businesses need to drive innovation, create jobs and strengthen streets across the country.
The grant program created by the Revitalizing Small and Local Businesses Act recognizes that every business has unique challenges and opportunities and creates additional support tailored to their needs. The bill would authorize $ 250 million for this program over the next five years to fund community initiatives to help small businesses identify resources and develop skills to retain and create jobs. National nonprofits applying for grants under the program would be required to work with local nonprofit or public economic and community development partners.
Small businesses are the economic lifeblood of states across the country. According to the US Small Business Administration, in 2017, small businesses in Mississippi employed 437,200 people, or 46.5% of the private workforce. California small businesses employed 7.2 million people, or 48.5% of the private workforce.