Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman is the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice for America’s 32.5 million small businesses in President Biden’s Cabinet. Recently, she signed a Strategic Alliance Memorandum (SAM)—an authority unique to the SBA among federal agencies—with President Reuben A. Shelton III, Esq., on behalf of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC)’s Council of Presidents. The council comprises nine historically Black fraternities and sororities sometimes referred to as the “Divine Nine.”
Announced in the leadup to Juneteenth, this alliance advances the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to building equity. Under the new alliance, the partnership focuses on increasing financial literacy within traditionally underserved, disadvantaged communities. It will introduce Black entrepreneurs to the SBA’s suite of resources including access to capital, government contracting opportunities and counseling.
Words from leaders about the Strategic Alliance Memorandum
“This historic Strategic Alliance Memorandum between the SBA and the NPHC is the first of its kind for a government agency. It will bring SBA’s valuable small business resources into reach for many small businesses and entrepreneurs. This work furthers the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to build equity and close historic wealth gaps that have held back America’s Black entrepreneurs, small business owners and their families and communities for generations,” said Administrator Guzman. “Over the past 18 months, the SBA has made incredible progress reaching more of America’s small businesses, delivering vital resources and support to entrepreneurs who have been historically underinvested in and overlooked. These are the same people and communities hit hardest by the COVID pandemic. They can successfully realize their American Dreams of business ownership, create jobs and advance our economy.”
Reuben A. Shelton III, Esq., Chairman of the Council of Presidents of the National Pan-Hellenic Council and Grand Polemarch of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., added: “The National Pan Hellenic Council and its affiliate organizations are very excited about this opportunity with the U.S. Small Business Administration. This collaboration will give NPHC members critical access to information that will promote small business growth and create jobs in all sectors of our economy.”
Represented on thousands of university campuses including HBCUs, the NPHC boasts over 2.5 million active members and many alumni. This group of engaged leaders is a critical ally in building trust within key communities. They can introduce small business owners to critical resources, bolstering their business outcomes and closing the wealth gap.
The NPHC represents the following organizations:
- Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
- Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
- Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
- Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
- Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
- Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
- Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
- Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
- Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc.
SBA deepens support of historically disadvantaged small business owners
In line with the Biden-Harris Administration’s agenda outlined in the recently released SBA Equity Action Plan, the SBA instituted several major changes to level the playing field for all small businesses, including making impactful reforms to the Community Advantage (CA) Pilot loan program that prioritizes equitable access to capital for low-income borrowers and those from underserved communities, releasing disaggregated data across industries and sectors by race and ethnicity and helping to deliver contracting reforms to bring in new, diverse contractors and launching the American Rescue Plan’s $100 million Community Navigators program.
In addition, the SBA expanded the number of Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) it supports to 146—the largest WBC network in the history of the SBA. Notably, this investment under Administrator Guzman signifies the tripling of WBCs at HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).
WBCs housed on the campuses of HBCUs now includes:
- Miles College, Fairfield, Alabama
- Savannah State University, Savannah, Georgia
- Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland
- Bowie State University, Bowie, Maryland
- Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi
- Alcorn State University, Lorman, Mississippi
- Bennett College, Greensboro, North Carolina
- Winston-Salem State University, Winston Salem, North Carolina
- Benedict College, Columbia, South Carolina
- Virginia Union University, Richmond, Virginia
SBA remains committed to increasing capital for small businesses, including those in underserved communities. This means ensuring entrepreneurs have access to capital, standard and disaster lending programs and PPP direct forgiveness as well as assistance in growing their revenues by getting their products online or into global markets and accessing federal contracting opportunities, often by connecting them to one of the Agency’s newly launched Community Navigators, hundreds of Field Offices, or thousands of Resource Partners—including Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, SCORE chapters and Veterans Business Ownership Centers—for mentoring, training and assistance in navigating government resources.
For additional information on SBA funding opportunities, please visit www.sba.gov/funding-programs.
About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.
About the National Pan-Hellenic Council
The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) was founded on May 10, 1930, at Howard University in Washington, DC. The purpose is to foster cooperative actions of its members in dealing with matters of mutual concern. To this end, the NPHC promotes the well-being of its affiliate fraternities and sororities, facilitates the establishment and development of local councils of the NPHC and provides leadership training for its constituents.
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