Aug. 4 (UPI) — Vice President Kamala Harris is scheduled to visit a minority-owned retail village in Washington on Friday to announce the winners of a federal program to provide $125 million in grants to support small businesses across the nation.
In her stop at Sycamore & Oak and other retail outlets, Harris will name 43 winners of the Capital Readiness Program awards, funded through the American Rescue Plan.
“President Biden and I firmly believe that for America’s economy to be strong, America’s small businesses must be strong,” Harris said in a statement, noting the federal funds would be used to cultivate a national network of new small businesses.
“President Biden and I are fighting to ensure that every entrepreneur in America — no matter who they are or where they live — can access the capital to start or grow a business, create jobs and thrive.”
The grant winners represent a mix of non-profits, community-based organizations and private institutions that will work with universities and various industries to assist, train and finance struggling entrepreneurs.
The program will provide critical tools and resources to new business owners, with a particular focus on those in high-growth industries such as healthcare, climate technology, asset management and transportation and infrastructure, the White House said.
The funds are the largest-ever single federal investment in the American small business sector, the White House said, and will be administered by the Minority Business Development Agency.
Recipients include the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which is getting $3 million to help underserved entrepreneurs in Arizona, Nevada and California.
Bridgeway Capital in Pittsburgh is set to receive $2 million to assist 340 minority-owned companies and rural businesses throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
The Northern Great Lakes Initiative in Michigan, the Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council in Maryland and the Urban League of Greater Atlanta will get $3 million apiece to streamline entrepreneurial programs, promote high-growth industries and improve access for business owners from historically Black colleges and universities.
As part of the day’s events, the administration was also expected to announce another $58 million in awards to a dozen states as part of the State Small Business Credit Initiative Technical Assistance Grant Program.
The program has provided roughly $200 million to states, territories and tribal governments to help small businesses access federal support for small businesses.
Earlier this year, the administration invested more than $300 million through the Small Business Administration’s Community Navigator Program and the Treasury Department’s State Small Business Credit Initiative as part of a broader push to support small businesses that lack traditional capital resources that mostly benefit the big brands.
The U.S. Small Business Administration was also working to modernize the lending criteria for business loan programs and seeking to cut red tape for small business lenders, which would expand affordable loans to credit-worthy business owners, the White House said.
About 12.6 million new business applications have been filed in the United States since Biden took office, while government data showed the upward trend was continuing this year.