WASHINGTON — The White House has proclaimed Sept. 18-22 "Minority Enterprise Development Week," an effort to "acknowledge and celebrate the achievements and contributions of minority business owners and enterprises and commit to promote systemic economic equality."
According to the White House, there are 9.2 million minority-owned businesses in the U.S. generating $1.8 trillion in revenue to the U.S. gross domestic product while providing income to millions of workers.
"During Minority Enterprise Development Week, we celebrate the ingenuity and dedication of America's minority entrepreneurs, and we recommit to helping all Americans access the resources they need to build thriving businesses and a fairer, more prosperous nation," President Joseph Biden said in a declaration.
While minority business enterprises are a core part of the U.S. economy, many of these businesses suffer from the "vestiges of historical discrimination," Biden said, noting obstacles such as lack of access to capital, barriers to entering new markets and limited access to government contracts.
Minority business owners are still more likely to be turned down for loans, earn less revenue, and employ fewer workers than their non-minority counterparts, he said.
Today, firms owned by Black Americans, Latinos, native Americans, Asian Americans, native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders make up approximately 18% percent of employer businesses, the White House said, yet receive just over 10% of federal procurement spending.
"These disparities contribute to America's racial wealth gap," Biden said, noting that estimates suggest that differences in business ownership account for 20 percent of the wealth gap between the average white household and the average Black household.
To attempt to counter some of these disparities, the White House has:
- established the $10 billion State Small Business Credit Initiative at the Department of the Treasury, which will provide funding to states, territories, and tribal governments to establish lending and investment programs for main-street small businesses and early-stage companies in disadvantaged areas.
- supported the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which permanent the Minority Business Development Agency, the only federal agency dedicated to linking minority-owned businesses to private lenders, exporters, and public- and private-sector buyers;
- directed the Department of Transportation to prioritize contracts to small disadvantaged businesses.
In addition, the Biden administration has pledged to boost the share of federal contracting dollars awarded to small disadvantaged businesses by 50% by 2025, which is projected to bring minority-owned businesses as much as $100 billion in new revenue over this time period.
At the same time, Biden said his administration is calling on Congress to strengthen funding for the Small Business Administration and the Minority Business Development Agency to support women, people of color, people with disabilities, veterans, and other underserved business owners, and to expand the Treasury Department's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, which will help local lenders deliver more credit, capital, and financial support to historically overlooked business owners and communities.
"Since this nation's founding, owning and operating a business has been an important path to achieving the American dream," Biden said, stressing that his Administration will work "to ensure that minority entrepreneurs have the resources to start and grow their own businesses, enriching their communities and the nation.
"Together," he said, "we will grow the economy from the bottom up and the middle out, making sure it works for everyone.