New America Alliance, Solange Brooks

New America Alliance CEO Solange Brooks says, “Diversity is one of the elements of success”

Solange Brooks is the CEO of New America Alliance (NAA), a national nonprofit organization committed to building on American Latino success to forge a stronger America and advocate for Latinos in the industry of investment. 

In the second installment of the National Leaders for Latinx Advancement Series, Latinas in Business President and CEO, Susana G Baumann, spoke to Solange to discuss NAA’s various initiatives and how the organization is helping increase capital access for women and minority-owned firms, and accelerate diverse leadership in entrepreneurship, corporate America, and public service.

Access to capital and investing in diverse firms

New America Alliance was founded in 1999 by a small group of successful Latino leaders, including Henry Cisneros, the former US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Their mission was to advance the Latino community in four key areas: education, political awareness, economic empowerment, and philanthropy. 

Today, New America Alliance advocates for all communities of color and women, with a focus on financial services and access to capital for firms. 

“We believe strongly, that access to capital is one of the last bastions of the civil rights movement, and we have to go ahead and address it,” said Solange. 

Access to capital is a crucial first step for any project or venture and minority communities in particular often struggle the most in this area. Without capital, there is little you can do. This is something we know to be true for entrepreneurs and small business owners as well. For this reason, NAA began to expand to include other minority groups and become an even more diverse and inclusive organization. 

“We find that a lot of the things that help us, a lot of the tenets that we started this organization with, apply to too many people in the communities of color,” said Solange. 

One of New America Alliance’s biggest key initiatives is securing access to capital for diverse firms. 

“What we do is we meet with various institutional allocators to basically come and get to know us, get to know the members of NAA, get to know the opportunities they offer,” Solange said, detailing the process. 

“What happens often times is that people think ‘Oh, investing with diverse firms is like a social experiment.’ I’m here to tell you that, no, it isn’t. It’s not a social experiment at all. It’s basically money on the table that institutional investors have been leaving there because they don’t look at what we have, they have to be vetted. So we present opportunities. And we have a good conversation, we get to know the institutional investor a little bit, they get to know us a little bit. And then we circle back with them to see, which is the best way to present our opportunities. So it is not just a meeting that everybody feels good and goes their separate ways. But it’s a meeting where there’s actual engagement, and we have followed through. And this has been very, very successful. We have had people that may, they didn’t know anything about investing with communities of color, all of a sudden calling me and asking me, do you have somebody in infrastructure? Or do you have fixed income folks? And of course, there’s private equity. That’s very, very prevalent right now.” 

Diverse firms with diverse managers and partners are also more likely to bring in better revenue. This is because a diverse management structure prevents groupthink and allows for a greater pool of investment opportunities. 

“It has been proven over and over again that diversity is one of the elements of success…because everybody has different ideas, they have different worldviews,” said Solange.

“If you have everybody that came from the same place, went to the same school, had the same background, you are missing a huge portion of what you can do in investments. So yes, I know it’s right now, it’s very popular to quote diversity and inclusion. However, we, you know, NAA, has been doing that for 21 years. And there have been some institutional investors that this is all they do. And they’ve been having very good results.”

You might be interested: “We need to speak up about social justice” says Prospanica CEO Thomas Savino

NAA advocating for transparency in politics and educational initiatives 

Another key initiative for the New America Alliance is political awareness, specifically advocating for transparency. As a nonpartisan organization, NAA feels strongly about political transparency not only in corporate life but in pension plans. Through town halls and working with key legislators, NAA is pushing for greater transparency. 

“And you say,’ Why?’ Well, pension plans are the people’s money, and the workforce should know how their investments are being made. And they should know that the people in pension plans are doing their absolute best to take advantage of all the opportunities. And you do not know that unless you have a transparent system, where you can go ahead and observe what’s going on and have a dialogue about that,” Solange said. 

The third key initiative is in the area of education, passing on the torch to the next generation through mentorship opportunities. The NAA Institute Pathway Fellowship program is one of the ways NAA is working to guide young leaders. The program is an opportunity to foster and accelerate young leaders among American Latinos, women, and people of color and accelerate that leadership and entrepreneurship in corporate America and in public service. 

“So we have a program where we mentor the various individuals in the summer. And we basically have conversations with them, and they can see how somebody that looks like them is successful, and they’re in the financial services industry. And, you know, my favorite saying is like, ‘Hey, it’s not rocket science, folks. Anybody can learn it, just go to college, focus on math, focus on economics, and you’ll be fine.’ So we’re very excited about that program.”

Watch the full conversation between Susana G Baumann and Solange Brooks. 

For potential investors interested in becoming a member of New America Alliance, there are various advantages to becoming a part of the organization. NAA has a network of people, from large funds to small funds to people just starting out. 

“We help each other. Most definitely, because most of us know what it’s like to begin a business. Or know what it’s like to change strategy, and have to go ahead and discuss those opportunities,” said Solange. 

“One of the great things about investments is that there’s always somebody with a great idea. There’s always somebody new that’s bringing up their idea, and we want to nurture that.” 

Currently, the U.S. Latino population makes up about 18% of the total population and possesses about $1.5 trillion in buying power. The Latino population is also young and still growing.   

“And with all those little points, we are the future of this country. And Financial Services is only one segment where we have incredible value for institutional investors.”

Why more minority founders aren’t backed by venture capital funding

Funding for any new business venture is a critical step that will often determine its ultimate success. Many businesses sink far too early in the process when founders are unable to secure access to capital. Unfortunately, women and minority business owners are more likely to be denied venture capital funding and bank loans compared to white, male founders.  

Why aren’t more minority founders backed by venture capital funding? (Business card photo created by rawpixel.com – www.freepik.com)

According to an article by Forbes, in the past year, only 2.6% of venture dollars went to minorities and 2.2% went to women. In total, that is only $4.2 billion out of the $87.3 billion venture capital was distributed. Additionally, as of January 2021, only 93 Black and 58 Latinx women have ever raised over $1M.

This lack of VC funding for women- and minority-owned businesses is part of an ongoing cycle and diversity issue within the entire venture capital process. The fact of the matter is, diverse venture capitalists (VCs) and limited partners (LPs) will be more likely to invest in diverse founders and entrepreneurs. But so far, these roles have been saturated predominantly by white, male individuals. 

Breaking old patterns 

In an article by Fast Company, Leah Solivan discusses her experiences in securing venture capital funding for her startup and shares ideas on how the old pattern can be broken. In sharing her experience she describes how she first struggled to secure funding because she “didn’t match the pattern.” As a woman and a Latina, these modifiers made her an “other” in the eyes of traditional venture capitalists. She was not the typical founder. 

“VCs had an idea of what successful founders looked like, and they didn’t look like me,” Leah shared in her article. “It took another woman of color hearing my pitch to open up opportunities for me. And that woman, Ann Miura-Ko, was only in a position to say “yes” to me because another VC (Floodgate’s Mike Maples) took a chance on her. As a founder and CEO, I recruited a diverse team of talented individuals who brought different backgrounds and life experiences to the table. Many of these people have gone on to become founders themselves, building their own teams. Others have gone on to become venture capitalists. This is the virtuous cycle of wealth creation in action. And all it took to get it going was one VC deciding to take a chance on someone who didn’t match the pattern.”

This process that she describes is exactly how we can work to break old patterns within the venture capital process. We need diverse LPs who can then fund venture capital funds. And diverse VCs will then seek out and fund diverse founders. These founders can then give opportunities to their diverse team members and employees who can then grow to become their own founders or investors. 

Minority business owners and entrepreneurs, especially Latinos, have great potential to grow and thrive with the right backing. According to the Stanford Research 2020 State of Latino Entrepreneurship Report, Latinos are starting businesses at a faster rate than the national average across several industries, growing 34 percent over the last 10 years compared to just 1 percent for all other small businesses. Additionally, the report showed that over the past two-years, Latino-owned firms grew revenue at an average of 25 percent per year while white-owned businesses grew revenue at 19 percent.

Moreover, much of the growth in the number of new businesses among Latinos has been driven by women. Latinas represent 40% of all Latino business owners and the number of Latina-led employer firms has grown 20% within the last five-year period.

Forbes also reported that in the last year, 40% of new businesses were started by women and 47% of those businesses were started by minority women. 

You might be interested: Dr. Marlene Orozco demystifies misconceptions about Latinas through data 

We need diverse venture capitalists to support diverse founders

“Capital remains in the communities that manage it,” says Ivelisse Rodriguez Simon, Managing Partner of Avante Capital. Earlier this year, Ivelisse spoke as a panelist during Latina in Business’ virtual panel, “Latina Small Business Post-Covid: Recovery Resources and Trends. There she shared trends in investment capital and discussed why many women and minority owned businesses struggle to access capital. 

Ivelisse Rodriguez Simon, Managing Partner of Avante Capital.

There’s about $70 trillion of capital to manage in the United States and only 1% of that capital is managed by women or people of color. So even though women and people of color represent 75% of the US population, we only manage 1% of the capital. And the result of that is that our communities don’t get access to that capital.” 

To break this cycle, we need diverse venture capitalists and limited partners. Ivelisse says that this is an issue Avante has been really committed to. “Not only supporting women and people of color managing businesses but really trying to get women and people of color into this industry to manage capital so that we can go out and find entrepreneurs from our communities and help them grow. Because if there are not many people in my seat that look like us, our people are never gonna get capital,” she says

Don’t miss our Summer Speakers Series and Networking Blast Events throughout August!  Interested in learning how to access business funding for your venture? Sign up for our August 11th workshop, “Resources to Increase Your Business Revenue.” 

While pushing for more diversity throughout the various positions in the venture capital funding process, we also need to hold venture capitalists accountable. It should not only be the job of diverse and minority venture capitalists to fund diverse founders and entrepreneurs. More venture capitalists need to be willing to take risks. After all, is that not the point of “venture” capitalists. 

As Leah Solivan nicely said, “Venture capital was once a business that took big bets on outsiders—it wasn’t long ago that the college drop-out computer nerd cliché was a novel, risky opportunity. As the industry has matured, we’ve defaulted to pattern matching (which too often means young, white males that resemble those once-novel success stories) instead of seeking out founders of different backgrounds, different geographies, different skill sets, and different demographics. Our current cycle tries to play it safe. There’s nothing virtuous about that, and it also runs contrary to the ethos of venture capital—which is about taking a chance on something or someone with the potential for disruption.” 

We need diversity in all stages of the venture capital process. We need to break-down old patterns and biases about what a founder looks like. And we need to hold traditional venture capitalists accountable and push them back to their roots, to take risks on something new, and take a chance on the underdog.

SIA Scotch Whiskey, The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund,

SIA Scotch Whisky partners with Hello Alice to launch groundbreaking new entrepreneurship fund

Did you know that in the United States, multicultural entrepreneurs have reportedly received only a 2% share of venture capital annually over the last decade? SIA Scotch Whisky, an award-winning spirits brand founded by a first generation Hispanic entrepreneur, is looking to help bridge this gap by partnering with Hello Alice and celebrated activist, actor and producer Wilmer Valderrama to launch The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund by SIA Scotch. Spearheaded by SIA’s founder Carin Luna-Ostaseski and inspired by her journey of building the brand from the ground up, this initiative aims to challenge conventions and inspire others to achieve the unexpected.

SIA Scotch Whiskey, The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund,

Carin Luna-Ostaseski and group (PRNewsfoto/SIA Scotch Whisky)

This new grant program will deploy a quarter of a million dollars to multicultural small business owners in need of support, especially after the additional challenges they face because of COVID-19. It will also offer recipients access to mentorship opportunities with SIA’s founder, who is one of the first Hispanic people in history to create a Scotch Whisky, and who faced many challenges during her own entrepreneurship journey. 

SIA Scotch Whiskey, The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund,

Carin Luna-Ostaseski, Founder of SIA Scotch Whisky (PRNewsfoto/SIA Scotch Whisky)

“SIA Scotch Whisky was born out of passion, determination and perseverance – the same characteristics that drive many other entrepreneurs. As a first generation Cuban American, I experienced so many uphill battles, from securing funding to dealing with regulations and securing investors,” said Carin Luna-Ostaseski. “But, after finally getting crowdfunded on Kickstarter and seeing those first bottles on shelves, I knew my purpose was to help inspire other underrepresented entrepreneurs achieve their dreams too. I am so proud of The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund and its mission to embrace the cultural diversity that helps define our country.”

The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund by SIA Scotch launches in partnership with Hello Alice, a free online platform that guides business owners through the growth of their company and matches individuals with the resources to make their dreams a reality.

“Now, more than ever, it’s important to recognize the impact that multicultural small businesses have on their communities,” said Elizabeth Gore, President & Cofounder, Hello Alice. “In the last 10 years, multicultural entrepreneurs have represented over 50% of new businesses started and created 4.7 million new jobs, yet they are largely excluded in funding. We are thrilled to be continuing our support for this community in partnership with SIA Scotch Whisky.”

You might be interested: Say ‘Hello Alice’ to the platform that is opening doors for small businesses and new entrepreneurs

SIA Scotch Whiskey, The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund,

Wilmer Valderrama joins SIA Scotch Whisky (PRNewsfoto/SIA Scotch Whisky)

Additionally, activist, actor and producer Wilmer Valderrama joins The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund as partner, continuing his ongoing tireless mission to push for diversity and inclusion. “Supporting the progress and perseverance of multicultural entrepreneurs who are trying to achieve their dreams and disrupt the status quo is incredibly important to me. I’m so honored to partner with SIA Scotch Whisky on The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund and I believe that their work will make a big impact, especially during these difficult times,” said Wilmer Valderrama

The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund by SIA Scotch will award $10,000 grants to 25 qualifying entrepreneurs who self-identify as people of color, for a total of $250,000. To apply, visit siascotchfund.helloalice.com. To be eligible, the business owner must be a citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States, 25 years or older, and must operate in at least one of the following states where SIA is sold: California, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, New York and/or Texas. For complete eligibility criteria and important restrictions, visit the application site. Applications are open now through August 10, 2021, grant recipients will be announced by September 14, 2021 and funding will be distributed by October 8, 2021.

Last chance to pre-register for NJEDA Phase 4 of the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program 

Pre-registration for Phase 4 of the Small Business Emergency Assistance grant program will close tomorrow, June 30th, at 5:00 p.m. EDT. Small businesses and nonprofits that missed previous deadlines to apply have another chance. 

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) announced that it reopened pre-registration for Phase 4 of its Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program back in late-May. The June 30th deadline is now quickly approaching. Read on to learn how you can pre-register and take advantage of this opportunity. 

Since the initial launch of the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program back in April of 2020, the NJEDA has distributed more than $259 million in aid to some 55,000 businesses across the state.

Recently, Governor Phil Murphy announced the allocation of $200 million in additional funds to help fulfill Phase 4 grant applications. Small business owners and non-profits that have not previously applied for Phase 4 grants may pre-register as a preliminary step toward applying for grants of up to $20,000.

The $200 million in additional funds will continue to support the most adversely affected businesses in New Jersey, including: 

  • $20 million for bars and restaurants
  • $120 million for micro-businesses, $10 million for child care providers
  • $50 million for other small businesses and nonprofits with up to 50 full-time equivalent employees

“We’ve seen tens-of-thousands of small business owners in New Jersey benefit from this Grant Program offered by the NJEDA since it was initially launched in April of last year, so we’re very grateful to receive this additional funding that will help us fulfill many more requests for financial assistance,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Reopening Phase 4 will allow eligible small businesses and nonprofits in New Jersey apply for grants of up to $20,000 aimed to help them replace lost revenue during the pandemic and keep their doors open for business.”

Phase 4 funding is supporting restaurants, micro-businesses, and child care providers, as well as other small businesses. To ensure grants reach businesses in the hardest hit communities, including communities of color, the NJEDA has assigned one-third of funding to businesses with a primary business location within the 715 census tracts designated as eligible to be selected as an Opportunity Zone. 

Last chance to pre-register for Phase 4. (Image Source: @newjerseyeda)

How to pre-register and apply for Phase 4 of the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant

Interested business owners and non-profits will need to pre-register for Phase 4 here to access the application. Phase 4 Pre-registration reopened Wednesday, May 26th, 2021 and will remain open until Wednesday, June 30th, at 5:00 p.m. EDT. Don’t miss this opportunity. Register now! 

Applications will become available following the Phase 4 pre-registration period, as pre-registered applicants will be asked to return to https://programs.njeda.com/en-US/ to complete an application based on the following schedule:

  • Restaurants (Food Services and Drinking Places, NAICS begins with 722), Child Care Providers (NAICS code 624410) and Small Business (6 more Full Time Equivalent Employees): July 7, 2021, 9:00 a.m. EDT. 
  • Micro Business (5 or Less Full Time Equivalent Employees): July 8, 2021, 9:00 a.m. EDT.  

Applications will remain open through July 15, 2021, 5:00 pm EDT and will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, based upon the date and time the Authority receives a completed application submission. Applicants must complete the full application to be considered for grant funding.

Grant awards will be calculated based on the number of full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) businesses employ: Micro-businesses with five or fewer FTEs and sole proprietorships will receive up to $10,000; businesses with six to 25 FTEs will receive up to $15,000; and businesses with 26 to 50 FTEs will receive up to $20,000. A grant size estimator is available here.

Small businesses and nonprofits will need to show they have been negatively impacted during the declared state of emergency to be eligible for this grant. This includes businesses that have been temporarily shut down, have been required to reduce hours, have had at least a 20 percent drop in revenue, have been materially impacted by employees who cannot work due to the outbreak, or have a supply chain that has materially been disrupted and therefore slowed firm-level production during the pandemic.

You might be interested: NJ waives $100 certification fee for small, minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses

Need assistance with the application process? 

The NJEDA will continue to provide the online pre-registration and application in English and Spanish, offering applicants access to interpretation services to support speakers of ten additional languages –Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Gujarati, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, and Tagalog.

 

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In addition to the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program, the NJEDA administers a variety of technical assistance and low-cost financing programs for small and mid-sized businesses impacted by COVID-19. Businesses and nonprofits can use the Eligibility Wizard to identify which emergency assistance programs they may want to consider for their business’s specific needs. More information about these programs and other State support is available at https://business.nj.gov/covid or call 844-965-1125. 

To learn more about NJEDA resources for businesses call NJEDA Customer Care at 609-858-6767 or visit https://www.njeda.com and follow @NewJerseyEDA on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

capital access, lban

Don’t miss this Free Resources for Small Businesses Webinar! 

Don’t miss the next session of the Latino Business Action Network (LBAN)  virtual 6-part series supported by Bank of America, “Resources That Matter for Latinx Entrepreneurs During These Times of Uncertainty.” The 6 part series is designed for entrepreneurs and key members of their team and covers important topics such as economic market forecast, capital access, customer acquisition, resource building, and networking. 

capital access

Resources That Matter: Session 3: All about capital Part 2

The next FREE webinar will stream on Thurs, June 24 at 1pm PST / 4pm EST. This upcoming session is a continuation of last month’s conversation on capital access and financial resources. 

Register Now! Session 3: Capital Access Part 2 – June 24th 

What is the impact of not having a banker?

“‘Have a banker before you need a banker’ is one of the best pieces of advice as it relates to capital,” LBAN says. “Capital is a key component in a company’s ability to scale. Unfortunately, not having an established lender is one of the barriers to accessing capital. In addition, we know that Latino-owned businesses are less likely to get their funding needs to be met. The research findings in Ongoing Impact of COVID-19 on Latino-owned Businesses found that 17% of Latino-owned businesses reported that they lacked an established banking provider that prevented them from accessing Round 1 of PPP funding in 2020.” 

This series will help you learn first hand from lenders about how to identify quality bankers and how to continuously engage with them in a way that builds a strong relationship, ensuring the best opportunity for your capital needs. In addition, participants will learn how to structure a one-page funding request, describing their company, their capital needs, and their deployment strategy. 

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to gain crucial capital insights and knowledge to help your business grow and propel you forward in 2021 and beyond. 

You might be interested: Latina Leaders share small business post-Covid recovery resources 

Biden-Harris Administration unveils plan to build black wealth and narrow racial divide 

Earlier this month, on the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre, the Biden-Harris Administration unveiled their plan to build black wealth and narrow the racial wealth gap in the United States. 

A history of systemic racism in the United States has contributed to the large wealth gap that people of color currently face. Systemic racism, also referred to as structural or institutional racism, is defined as “a system in which public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations, and other norms work in various, often reinforcing ways to perpetuate racial group inequity,” according to the Aspen Institute. Systemic racism is not something “a few people or institutions choose to practice.” It is ingrained in our social, economic, and political systems and has adapted over time. It identifies the parts of our history and culture that have historically privileged “whiteness” while subjecting people of color to unjust disadvantages. 

Historically, systemic racism has impacted the ability of Black Americans to secure afforable housing, education, health care, and employment due to unjust biases and discrimination. A study by Citigroup found that in the past 20 years alone systemic racism has cost the U.S. a whopping $16 trillion

The Biden-Harris Administration’s new plan will take measures to address the key issues impacting Black wealth in efforts to close the racial wealth gap and build back Black wealth. 

Adam Schultz, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Biden-Harris Administration to build back black wealth 

In a detailed press release, the Biden-Harris Administration outlined key areas their plan will tackle. The plan will: 

  • Take action to address racial discrimination in the housing market, including by launching a first-of-its-kind interagency effort to address inequity in home appraisals, and conducting rulemaking to aggressively combat housing discrimination.
  • Use the federal government’s purchasing power to grow federal contracting with small disadvantaged businesses by 50 percent, translating to an additional $100 billion over five years, and helping more Americans realize their entrepreneurial dreams.

Attitudes and policies that undermine equal access are the root of the racial gaps plaguing U.S. society (Source: Citi Research).

Additionally, the Administration plans to create jobs and build wealth in communities of color through various initiatives that will help support small minority owned businesses including: 

  • A new $10 billion Community Revitalization Fund to support community-led civic infrastructure projects that create innovative shared amenities, spark new local economic activity, provide services, build community wealth, and strengthen social cohesion.
  • $31 billion in small business programs that will increase access to capital for small businesses and provide mentoring, networking, and other forms of technical assistance to socially and economically disadvantaged businesses seeking to access federal contracts and participate in federal research and development investments.
  • $15 billion for new grants and technical assistance to support the planning, removal, or retrofitting of existing transportation infrastructure that creates a barrier to community connectivity, including barriers to mobility, access, or economic development.
  • A new Neighborhood Homes Tax Credit to attract private investment in the development and rehabilitation of affordable homes for low- and moderate-income homebuyers and homeowners. 
  • $5 billion for the Unlocking Possibilities Program, an innovative new grant program that awards flexible and attractive funding to jurisdictions that take steps to reduce needless barriers to producing affordable housing and expand housing choices for people with low or moderate incomes.

You might be interested: Black History Month: Steps toward dismantling systemic racism in the U.S. 

Investing in Black-Owned Small Businesses 

Access to capital and resources are common struggles many small business owners face, but the struggle is greater for Black small business owners who must go through the extra hurdles set in place by discriminatory racial biases. 

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Through two key measures the Biden-Harris Administration will work to address these disadvantages. 

Using the Government’s purchasing power to drive an additional $100 billion to Small Disadvantaged Business Owners: The federal government is the largest consumer of goods in the world, buying everything from software to elevator services to financial and asset management, Federal procurement is one of our most powerful tools to advance equity and build wealth in underserved communities. And yet, just roughly 10 percent of federal agencies’ total eligible contracting dollars typically go to small disadvantaged businesses (SDB), a category under federal law for which Black-owned, Latino-owned, and other minority-owned businesses are presumed to qualify. Increasing federal spending with these businesses will help more Americans realize their entrepreneurial dreams and help narrow racial wealth gaps. 

At its center is a new goal: increasing the share of contracts going to small disadvantaged businesses by 50 percent by 2026—translating to an additional $100 billion to SDBs over the 5-year period. To achieve this goal, agencies will assess every available tool to lower barriers to entry and increase opportunities for small businesses and traditionally-underserved entrepreneurs to compete for federal contracts. The impact could be historic: all told, attainment of the new goal will represent the biggest increase in SDB contracting since data was first collected more than 30 years ago.

Invest $31 Billion to Scale Up Efforts to Support Minority-Owned Small Businesses: Too many small businesses owned by people of color struggle to access loans and federal programs that can help them grow and succeed.  President Biden has proposed a historic effort to tackle these persistent challenges and empower small business creation and expansion in communities of color. Specifically, the President’s American Jobs Plan will invest $30 billion in new Small Business Administration (SBA) initiatives that will reduce barriers to small business ownership and success.  These initiatives will increase access to capital by establishing a new direct loan program for the smallest businesses, developing new loan products to support small manufacturers and businesses that invest in clean energy, and launching a new Small Business Investment Corporation that will make early stage equity investments in small businesses with priority for those owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. The American Jobs Plan will also invest billions of dollars in SBA technical assistance programs that incubate and offer mentoring and technical assistance to 8(a) firms, reinforce the American subcontracting network to create pathways to prime contracting, encourage Fortune 500 firms to diversify their procurements, and bring more socially and economically disadvantaged businesses into federal research and development programs.  These investments will also include an innovative new $1 billion grant program through the Minority Business Development Agency that will help minority-owned manufacturers access private capital.

Through these efforts, Black-owned small businesses will have greater opportunities to realize their dream and goals. There is still much work to do before the longstanding effects of systemic racism are fully eradicated, but the plan unveiled by the Biden-Harris Administration is a first step in the right direction toward building back black wealth and narrowing the racial wealth gap and achieving equality in the United States. 

Latino Business Action Network

LBAN presents: “Resources That Matter: All about capital”

Don’t miss the next session of the Latino Business Action Network (LBAN)  virtual 6-part series supported by Bank of America, “Resources that Matter.” The series covers important topics such as economic market forecast, capital access, customer acquisition, resource building, and networking. 

Latino Business Action Network

Next virtual session May 27, from 1 PM – 2:30 PM PST. (Graphic courtesy LBAN).

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Latino-owned businesses used resilience, creativity, and innovation to survive. Today, the US economy is rebounding and experts are projecting an 8% growth in GDP.  What does that mean for small businesses? It means that small businesses can and should grow in 2021!

Access to capital is a critical component for growth.  We know there are existing barriers to accessing capital. The 2020 Ongoing Impact of COVID-19 on Latino-owned Business report identified a lack of banking relationship, and a lack of required application materials accounted for 39% of the barriers to accessing PPP.

Latino Business Action Network is committed to breaking down those barriers. Join two free webinars to learn the capital resources that will position you for future growth.  In these webinars you will understand the capital landscape, the types of products applicable for your company, how to leverage technology to ensure proper financial documentation, how to build a relationship with a lender, and how to create a one-pager for your company.  In addition, you will have the opportunity to network with growth-minded business owners from across the country.

You might be interested: Latina Leaders share small business post-Covid recovery resources 

The 6-part series is designed for entrepreneurs and key members of their team. From this series, you will hear from industry leaders, learn about essential resources, capital education, network with other growth-minded entrepreneurs, and you will inherit a growth perspective that will propel you in 2021 and beyond. 

Mark your calendar for May 27th at 1 pm PST and June 8th at 1 pm PST to gain the capital tools and resources so that you are best prepared for accessing capital and positioned for growth.  

Latino Business Action Network

Register today for the next virtual session!

Latino Business Action Network (LBAN)

The Latino Business Action Network (LBAN) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the United States by empowering Latino business leaders to grow substantial firms that create jobs. Our goal to double the number of $10+ million, $100+ million, $1+ billion Latino-owned businesses in the U.S.by 2025. LBAN collaborates with Stanford University to champion the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative (SLEI).

Ivelisse Rodriguez Simon

Ivelisse Rodriguez Simon discusses trends in investment capital for minority women asset managers

Currently, there’s about $70 trillion of capital to manage in the United States, yet only 1% of that capital is managed by women, or people of color despite these groups representing 75% of the US population. This is one of many barriers that prevent and limit access to capital for minority-owned small businesses.

During Latina in Business’ virtual panel, “Latina Small Business Post-Covid: Recovery Resources and Trends,” panelists discussed how the pandemic has shifted our relationship with technology. Now more than ever, businesses are relying on digital tools to connect with customers, grow, and thrive. 

We heard from Grow with Google Program Manager, Lucy Pinto, who shared resources and insights on how businesses are using digital resources to expand, grow, and connect. Later, tech entrepreneur, Rosario B. Casas discussed the rapid advancements in tech-fueled by the pandemic and identified some key tech trends for business owners and entrepreneurs to tap into. Finally, Ivelisse Rodriguez Simon, Managing Partner of Avante Capital, shared trends and insights in regards to access to capital for small, minority-owned businesses. 

Trends in capital for minority small business owners and entrepreneurs

Ivelisse Rodriguez Simon, Managing Partner of Avante Capital. (Photo courtesy Ivelisse Rodriguez Simon)

As Managing Partner at Avante, Ivelisse is responsible for identifying, executing, and managing investment opportunities. Over the last 11 years as managing director, Ivelisse has raised $800 million and has deployed $650 million already to 40 companies. Additionally, Ivelisse is a longtime advocate and champion for women, minorities, and the underserved and underrepresented. She holds leadership roles in several local and national non-profit organizations and even launched a philanthropic organization called We Will with her two sisters, to support and empower underserved women and minorities in the areas of healthcare, education, and financial literacy. 

During the virtual panel, Ivelisse spoke with Latinas in Business Executive Board Member, Pilar Avila, and discussed some of the ways she and Avante Capital are supporting the growth of women’s businesses and what trends she is seeing. 

Ivelisse Rodriguez Simon  17:19  

It’s so nice to be here. I wanted to start first by saying that while $800 million, does sound like a lot of capital, actually, in the grand scheme of things, it’s a drop in the bucket. So just as context, there’s about $70 trillion of capital to manage in the United States, $70 trillion. And only 1% of that capital is managed by women or people of color. Right. So even though women and people of color represent 75% of the US population, we only manage 1% of the capital. And the result of that is a lot of what we’re talking about today, which is that our communities don’t get access to that capital. 

No, the capital remains in the communities that manage it. And so it’s, it’s a very big issue that’s really obstructed a lot of businesses from growing, right. I’m encouraged because I feel like in the last year, a lot of our challenges in the country, a lot of our social and racial challenges have created a lot of awareness around it. And there’s a lot more intention and focus around investing in our communities. So there are a lot more options than there used to be. There are a lot more banks, a lot more creative finance companies that are evolving to serve our communities. 

That said, our businesses are still really small. You know, they’re really, really small. And while it’s one, it’s a wonderful place to start, for us to really create wealth and to create change and growth in our communities, we have to build them bigger, right, they have to get bigger…Because there’s no difference between us and companies that are larger. I mean, I look at these companies all the time and I think: We can manage these businesses. We can be the CEO, we can be the CFO. 

Pilar Avila  19:28  

We are the capital, right? We hired the talent. We know we have talent, too.

Ivelisse Rodriguez Simon  19:33  

We have talent too, exactly. So I think that that’s what we’ve been really committed to at Avante, which is not only supporting women and people of color managing businesses but really trying to get women and people of color into this industry to manage capital so that we can go out and find entrepreneurs from our communities and help them grow. Because if there are not many people in my seat that look like us, our people are never gonna get capital. 

Ivelisse Rodriguez Simon

Avante Capital Team in Los Angeles (Courtesy Ivelisse Rodriguez Simon)

Pilar Avila  20:16  

Have you seen particular trends in the extraordinary growth in certain industries or certain types of products or services that we should be aware of whether we have a company in that sector? Or maybe our companies can move into those services?

Ivelisse Rodriguez Simon  20:41  

It’s a great question, Pilar, because, you know, when you go to look to see, where are many of the companies owned by women, people of color, they tend to be in a lot of service industries. Right. And I think that there are so many opportunities in other industries that have larger scale opportunities, healthcare, for instance, technology, Business Services, engineering,  we’re just as capable. But for some reason, we haven’t really moved into those industries and not in a larger way. And so I think, people who are doctors or nurses or engineers or computer engineers, starting businesses in those fields, you can gain a lot of scale, you could really grow quickly and be large.

Pilar Avila  21:28  

Continue to place a lot of emphasis on STEM, right, at every level of education. And once you have the education, and maybe get some experience under your belt, the large companies come out and start the businesses. 

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Taking advantage of resources and opportunities to grow 

Pilar Avila  27:21  

So what would you recommend to our small businesses, micro businesses between you know, 250,000, half a million to 5 million, to do to really apply best practices for the organization, finances, to be prepared to present themselves in the best light to obtain loans, investments, strategic partners and really grow into multimillion dollar enterprises. What do we need to do? How do we need to present ourselves and prepare?

Ivelisse Rodriguez Simon  28:03  

I think that the best thing to do is to find mentors and people that have done it before, that can really help you walk through the process. Because it is complicated. There are a lot of different things that banks want to see. And we had panels earlier that also had access to resources. There’s a lot of resources out there, right, and we should utilize them. But the key is to understand that there’s a lot of capital now available. You know, where I wouldn’t have said this 10 years ago, I think that there’s a lot of capital, if you’ve got a good idea, if you got a good business, if you’re a growth brand, you can get access to capital at this point in our country’s history. And you can grow and you should do it.

How American Rescue Plan Act will help minority-owned small businesses recover post-COVID

The American Rescue Plan Act will help small businesses recover post-COVID by providing critical assistance to businesses across the country and delivering $50 billion in aid and relief. 

Minority-owned businesses have struggled to get small-business relief loans 

The COVID-19 pandemic brought on great financial difficulties for businesses across the nation. Small businesses were greatly affected, with women- and minority-owned small businesses hit the hardest. 

Photo by Gene Gallin on Unsplash

Since last April, workers of color have faced the highest rates of pandemic-related unemployment. Data shows that Black and Latino people are now facing greater rates of unemployment than during the 2008 Great Recession. Minority-owned small businesses have also faced greater difficulties accessing capital and relief loans. 

The Paycheck Protection Program, which launched in March 2020, has now become the largest small-business support program in U.S. history, sending $734 billion in forgivable loans to struggling companies. It has helped nearly 7 million businesses stay afloat, but it has also been plagued by complex, ever-changing rules that have hindered many businesses from getting much needed relief loans. 

Many of the businesses affected by the changing rules and confusion have been minority-owned businesses. From language barriers to unfair biases, minority business owners have struggled to gain access to capital and bank loans from major banks. Many have since turned to their communities and smaller, local banks to find relief, but new changes to the program under President Biden are now pushing to funnel more money toward women- and minority-led businesses. 

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Changes to PPP and SBA loans under the American Rescue Plan 

New Funding and Changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The bill includes $7.25 billion in additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and changes eligibility for the PPP, including:

  • Expanding eligibility for 501(c) nonprofits. It also makes local offices of larger nonprofits eligible for PPP assistance as long as those locations are not larger than 500 employees for first PPP loans or 300 employees for second PPP loans, expanding access to vital relief for nonprofit organizations that are critical to local services and the economy.
  • 1st PPP Draw loan deadline: on or before 31 May 2021 (businesses must have been in business from 15 Feb 2020)

PPP loans have:

  • A fixed interest rate of 1% that is non-compounding and non-adjustable
  • No requirement for collateral or personal guarantees
  • No fees or prepayment penalties
  • A 5 year maturity

New Programs per the American Rescue Plan Act

Supplemental Targeted EIDL Advance Payment: 

  • A $5 Billion fund for $5k payments to those hardest hit

Restaurant Revitalization Fund & Grants – Coming soon

  • A $28.6 billion fund for grants to eligible entities in this hard-hit industry
  • Max $5 million grant/location and aggregate max $10mil grant

lack of access to capital

How to Apply 

If you have a small business and would like to apply for any of these SBA programs, visit www.sba.gov to learn more about COVID-19 Small Business Guidance and Loan Resources. Under SBA’s Coronavirus Relief Options page, you can learn about how to apply for a variety of programs including: 

  1. Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) 
  2. Economic Interruption Disaster Loan (EIDL) 
  3. SBA Express Bridge Loans 
  4. SBA Debt Relief for 7(a), 504, & Microloans 
  5. Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program

Steps to finding a lender:

Need more help? Check out our other PPP resources