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Vice President Harris Announces Tens of Millions of Dollars for Historically Underserved Entrepreneurs in North Carolina as part of Administration’s Strategy to Invest in American Small Businesses

The White House

Mar 1, 2024

Vice President to announce American Rescue Plan-funded awards to ten firms in Durham’s Historic Black Wall Street to help historically underserved entrepreneurs launch and scale their businesses

To close out the Biden-Harris Administration’s fourth Investing in America tour, Vice President Harris and Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo will join Governor Roy Cooper to announce $32 million awarded through the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) to women- and minority-led venture capital funds to support historically underserved small businesses and entrepreneurs. The investment will catalyze an additional $60 million in private investment, totaling more than $90 million to primarily support and scale women- and minority-owned businesses in the state. This is part of an Administration effort to ensure that not just loans, but also equity capital investments are available across all of America to entrepreneurs – including Black-, Hispanic-, veteran- and women-led businesses, as well as those in rural areas – that have typically been shut out of these opportunities. Under President Biden and Vice President Harris’ leadership, we have seen the three strongest years in history for new small business applications, and Black business ownership has grown at the fastest pace in 30 years.

Today’s announcement is part of American Rescue Plan funding that is leveraging over $30 billion in equity-based financing for small businesses. Forty-six states and territories are committing nearly $3 billion from the Treasury Department’s SSBCI to equity-based financing programs, including over $1.4 billion through partnerships with private venture capital funds – the single largest infusion of federal funding for equity participation in early-stage small businesses in history. These investments are expected to catalyze over $30 billion in additional private investment and follow-on funding over the decade that will help underserved entrepreneurs tap into a critical source of capital for business development and wealth creation that has traditionally suffered from some of the most restrictive barriers to access.

Today, Vice President Harris is announcing awards to ten minority and women-led venture capital firms in North Carolina that will direct more than $90 million to early-stage small businesses in the state. Today’s awardees have committed to raising and investing at least an additional $60 million alongside the $32 million from the American Rescue Plan, for a total of more than $90 million directed to promising early-stage small businesses in the state. North Carolina has selected ten women- and minority led venture capital firms with a focus on supporting underserved founders including:

  • Nex Cubed, which has a Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Founders Fund that helps to launch and scale entrepreneurial endeavors led by alumni, students, and faculty from HBCUs. Nex Cubed makes an initial investment of $120,000 in each selected start-up and provides dedicated executive-level support from a paid advisor.

  • RevTech Labs, a majority female and Latina owned entrepreneurship center, accelerator, and venture fund that prioritizes supporting and elevating traditionally underrepresented founders in financial, health, and insurance technologies. RevTech will invest in over 200 early-stage companies and provides support as an accelerator, with 350 mentors and subject matter experts available to support success.

  • LaVert Ventures, a woman-owned AgTech fund that focuses on investing in precision agriculture, crop protection, and indoor agriculture, ensuring that venture capital supports strong and equitable growth in rural America. These technologies will help to address the food production demands and environmental pressures that are set to increase in the coming decades.

  • Latimer Ventures is an early-stage venture capital fund that seeks to help Enterprise Founders build great companies and Fortune 1000 Companies make diverse acquisitions. Latimer is focused on deploying its investment model to build the next generation of Black and Hispanic enterprise software companies.

Venture funding has been concentrated in just a few parts of the country, with 70% of venture capital investment over the past decade going to just three states – California, New York, and Massachusetts. Venture investors have also struggled to reach a diverse set of entrepreneurs. Black-founded companies have typically received less than 1% of venture capital funding annually, while women-only-founded businesses receive just about 2%. The investments announced today support those historically excluded from these types of capital and reflect President Biden and Vice President Harris’ commitment to invest in all of America by helping underserved entrepreneurs launch and scale businesses in the communities in which they live.

Today’s announcement is just one more way the Biden-Harris Administration is delivering for small businesses as part of the President and Vice President’s historic nearly $10 billion SSBCI, which alone could leverage up to $100 billion in private financing for 100,000 small businesses over the next decade. Through an expansion that Vice President Harris fought for as a Senator, the Biden-Harris Administration delivered another $12 billion in funding to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Deposit Institutions to expand access to capital to small businesses and consumers including through the Emergency Capital Investment Program (ECIP), the CDFI Rapid Response Program, and the CDFI Equitable Recovery Program.

Thanks to the historically strong and equitable recovery and investing in America strategy that the President and Vice President have led, we’ve seen a record 16 million new business applications in just three years thanks to this historic recovery and support through the American Rescue Plan. Small business growth has been particularly strong among Black and Hispanic entrepreneurs, with Black business ownership doubling and Hispanic business ownership up 40% since 2019. Black and Hispanic families real median wealth have risen to all-time highs during the Biden-Harris Administration. The President and Vice President have made historic investments in access to capital a lynchpin of their Investing in America strategy and have taken critical action to ensure small businesses in traditionally underserved communities can access the resources they need to scale and grow their businesses, including quickly reversing policies under the previous administration that locked less-well-connected small businesses out of needed pandemic supports.

Today’s actions also build on historic investment steps the Biden-Harris Administration has already taken to support small businesses, particularly those who are seeking equity and financing investments:

  • Reversing the previous Administration’s policies and made small business supports more equitable. When the last Administration gave out pandemic aid to small businesses, they designed it to favor the well-off and the well-connected who had concierge service with big banks, while underserved entrepreneurs like women-, veteran-, and minority-owned small businesses were put at the back of the line or even out the door. Just one month into office, the Biden-Harris Administration changed that, instituting a 14-day period during which only businesses with fewer than 20 employees could apply for relief.   Research shows these reforms helped increase loans to small businesses in low to moderate income communities by 62 percent and expanded lending to the smallest businesses by 35 percent. About two-thirds of Restaurant Revitalization Funds went to restaurants and bars owned by women, veterans, and other traditionally underserved individuals.

  • Delivering historic support to minority-supporting community financial institutions to improve access to capital for historically underserved small businesses: Stemming from funding Vice President Harris secured during her time in the Senate,  Treasury has awarded over $1.7 billion in grants to more than 600 CDFIs across the country through the competitive CDFI Equitable Recovery Program, approximately $1.25 billion in grants through the CDFI Rapid Response Program and another $9 billion in low-cost investments to CDFIs and Minority Deposit Institutions through the Emergency Capital Investment Program (ECIP). This includes over $730 million in ECIP investments in six CDFIs and MDIs headquartered in North Carolina. Based on preliminary analysis, Treasury projects that investments across the entire ECIP portfolio may increase lending in Hispanic communities by nearly $58 billion and in Black communities by up to $80 billion over the next decade.

  • Vice President Harris has led Administration efforts to help drive greater levels of private and philanthropic investments in underserved communities, financial institutions, and businesses, including increasing their role in domestic supply chains: Vice President Harris helped to launch the Economic Opportunity Coalition (EOC), a coalition of private sector companies and foundations working to make historic investments in underserved communities, that has already surpassed over $1 billion in increased member company deposits into underserved community finance institutions. The Vice President has also called on companies in Investing in America sectors—semiconductor manufacturing, clean energy manufacturing, transportation, heavy industry, and biomanufacturing—to strengthen and diversify domestic supply chains by committing at least 15% of their U.S.-based contract spending on outside goods and services from small and underserved businesses by 2025.

  • Small Business Administration-backed investment funds are providing equity investment to thousands of businesses. The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program licenses privately managed investment funds to make debt and equity investments in small businesses using SBA-guaranteed funds. In just the last year alone, SBICs have created or sustained more than 130,000 net new jobs and delivered over $8 billion in financing to small businesses, building on major investments the Biden-Harris Administration has made to support small businesses, spur record job growth and create high quality jobs in critical industries of the future. This past year, financing to women-owned, minority-owned, and veteran-owned small businesses from the SBIC program totaled nearly $670 million, over a 25% increase from the year prior. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, the number of jobs supported by underserved small businesses financed by SBICs increased by 75% to 35,0000 between FY2020 and FY2023.

  • SBA set records in increased lending to underserved small businesses. SBA made critical reforms to its loan programs in 2023 that supported significant progress in addressing barriers to capital facing small business owners. In FY 2023, SBA made record gains in lending to Black, Latino, Native, AAPI, women, and veteran entrepreneurs – including $1.5 billion in loans to Black-owned and $3 billion to Latino-owned businesses. Total loans and total loan dollars to Black-owned businesses more than doubled under the Biden-Harris Administration, and total loans to Latino-owned businesses doubled with total loan dollars increasing by over 80%.

  • Investing in programs to help innovative startups take on equity investment – providing capital, technical assistance, and connections for small businesses to make them equity-ready:

    • The Minority Business Development Agency’s (MBDA) Capital Readiness Program is investing in small business incubators and accelerators. Last year, Vice President Harris announced that the MBDA’s Capital Readiness Program awarded $125 million to 43 non-profit community-based organizations to help underserved entrepreneurs launch and scale their small businesses, including by preparing them to seek equity capital and connect to venture capital opportunities. This American Rescue Plan-funded program is the largest-ever direct federal investment in small business incubators and accelerators of its kind.

    • Investing federal research and development funds in innovative small businesses. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs fund small businesses to develop and commercialize innovations that meet federal research and development (R&D) needs. In FY2022, the 11 federal agencies that participate in these programs obligated $4.7 billion to small businesses and innovative startups, a 17% increase from FY2020. In FY 2022, SBIR/STTR contract and grant awards provided nearly 34 percent of its awards to women-owned, minority-owned, veteran-owned, and rural small businesses.

    • Preparing small businesses for SBIR and STTR opportunities. The Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program is designed to provide critical and direct assistance to underserved innovation-based entrepreneurs, with the goal of increasing their success in obtaining SBIR and STTR funding. Today, SBA has FAST resource partners in 43 states and 1 territory. In FY2023, the SBA counseled over 16,900 innovative startups through the FAST program, a 19% increase from FY2020.

    • Expanding Regional Innovation Clusters. Regional Innovation Clusters (RICs) are geographically concentrated groups of interconnected businesses, suppliers, service providers, and associated institutions in a particular industry or field across the United States that deliver support directly to technology and high-growth small businesses. In October 2023, the Biden Administration announced the awards of new RICs contracts, expanding the program’s reach to 9 of the 10 SBA regions.

    • Injecting funding into accelerators and incubators. The Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC) stimulates innovation and entrepreneurship by infusing accelerators and incubators with $50,000 to $200,000 in prize awards across two stages. The competition seeks strengthen the nation’s innovation ecosystem and build local partnerships among accelerators, incubators, co-working communities, makerspaces, and other organizations that provide support, mentorship, and commercialization assistance to STEM/R&D entrepreneurs. In FY2022, the Biden Administration announced that SBA expanded the number of small businesses in GAFC Cohorts to 6,400, a 17% increase over FY2020.

  • SBA expanded its lending program focused on underserved communities for the first time in 40 years. Last fall, the SBA issued new licenses to lenders in the Small Business Lending Company (SBLC) program for the first time in 40 years. The lenders in this program have a track record of strong lending to traditionally underserved communities, as do the three new licenses lenders brought into the program last year. Arkansas Capital Corporation is a community development financial institution (CDFI) serving Arkansas and the bordering states, and since 2019 has delivered more than half of their lending to counties with at least a 20% poverty rate for over 30 years. Alaska Growth Capital is a certified Native CDFI with more than 60% of activities dedicated to serving Alaska Native, Native American, and Native Hawaiian businesses and communities. Funding Circle is an online lending platform that has seen 33% of current loans going to small businesses in low-to-moderate income neighborhoods and 40% going to small businesses in rural areas.

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