Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice for America’s 33 million small businesses in President Biden’s Cabinet, joined John Hope Bryant, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Operation HOPE Inc., the nation’s largest non-profit dedicated to financial empowerment for underserved communities, in Los Angeles to highlight the implementation of a recently signed Strategic Alliance Memorandum (SAM) geared toward promoting the development of entrepreneurial potential within the Black community.
“Partnering with Operation HOPE is an important step as our SBA team works to reach and lift up more entrepreneurs in communities all across America,” said Administrator Guzman. “Our work together will help advance President Biden’s vision for an economy that works for all Americans and is built from the bottom up and the middle out. Delivering on that means ensuring all of our nation’s entrepreneurs have access to the SBA programs that can help them start, grow and build resilient businesses, and I couldn’t ask for a better ally in this effort than John and the Operation HOPE team.”
To underscore the significance of the new alliance, the two organizations and local allies participated in a Los Angeles event, hosted by Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation (VSEDC), an organization that facilitates community development to revitalize the physical, economic, and social life of residents of South LA and beyond. As with the agreement itself, the event aimed to help raise awareness of Small Business Administration resources and Operation HOPE programs that aspiring and existing Black entrepreneurs in various communities stand to benefit from so they can establish themselves, grow, and scale.
“Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. It takes grit, determination, a clear understanding of how money works, and most importantly how to access critical resources,” said CEO Bryant. “Through this groundbreaking partnership with the SBA, we are on a mission to teach diverse communities how to succeed in business and build sustainable wealth for their families and their communities. Thanks to the leadership of Administrator Guzman, our collective effort will reaffirm that the American Dream is within reach.”
About the Small Business Administration and Operation HOPE Alliance
Announced on the heels of Black Business Month, this new strategic alliance will help introduce small business owners from historically underserved, under-resourced communities to counseling and learnings aimed at lowering barriers to accessing critical capital, developing relationships up and down the supply chain, and generating new revenue streams to scale for success.
Through the joint effort, Black small business owners will receive access to a series of workshops, conferences, seminars, and other activities to discuss SBA financing, government contracting opportunities, and other relevant topics.
- Focusing on community-based outreach and education, by supporting Operation HOPE’s free coaching services, credit counseling, small business, and homeownership education programs, among others.
- Nationally amplifying Operation HOPE’s signature financial literacy campaigns to small business owners, such as the 1 million Black Businesses (1MBB) Initiative and Financial Literacy for All (FL4A), adopted by more than 50 Fortune 500 companies and global institutions.
- Extending access to SBA’s resources and strategic advantages, including leveraging the Agency’s newly launched Community Navigators, hundreds of Field Offices, or thousands of Resource Partners – including Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), Women’s Business Centers (WBCs), SCORE chapters, and Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs) – for mentoring, training, and assistance in navigating government resources.
In execution of the agreement, the SBA’s Office of Field Operations, in particular, will lend muscular outreach support to small business owners throughout key cities. Some of the targeted cities include but are not limited to: Atlanta, Georgia; Columbia, South Carolina; Detroit, Michigan; Los Angeles, California; Memphis, Tennessee; Miami, Florida; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Murfreesboro, Tennessee; New York City, New York; Pensacola, Florida; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Raleigh, North Carolina; Tampa, Florida; Washington, D.C.
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, PPP direct forgiveness, and assistance in growing their revenues by getting their products online or into global markets and accessing federal contracting opportunities.
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 Operation HOPE, Inc.
Since 1992, Operation HOPE has been moving America from civil rights to “silver rights” with the mission of making free enterprise and capitalism work for the underserved—disrupting poverty for millions of low and moderate-income youth and adults across the nation. Through its community uplift model, HOPE Inside, which received the 2016 Innovator of the Year recognition by American Banker magazine, Operation HOPE has served more than 4 million individuals and directed more than $3.2 billion in economic activity into disenfranchised communities—turning check-cashing customers into banking customers, renters into homeowners, small business dreamers into small business owners, minimum wage workers into living wage consumers, and uncertain disaster victims into financially empowered disaster survivors.
Project 5117 is HOPE’s unique approach to combating economic inequality that aims to improve financial literacy, increase business role models and business internships for youth in underserved communities, and stabilize the American dream by boosting FICO scores. Operation HOPE recently received its eighth consecutive 4-star charity rating for fiscal management and commitment to transparency and accountability by the prestigious non-profit evaluator, Charity Navigator. For more information: OperationHOPE.org. Join the conversation on social media at @operationhope.
To help empower and provide resources for your own business, read Inclusivity at Work: Reflections from the Playground.