The U.S. Small Business Administration announced on June 22 that it is reconvening the Council on Underserved Communities (CUC) under the authority of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). In conjunction with the Biden-Harris Administration’s agenda, the restoration of the Council will help support the SBA’s prioritization of equity across its programs and initiatives. The Council will consist of 20 diverse stakeholders from every region of the country tasked with advising the SBA on strengthening and improving its strategies to help underserved communities.
“Our focus on reaching our underserved businesses is aligned with the Biden-Harris Administration’s dedication to equity. We know that all of our small businesses must be supported and given opportunities to succeed to rebuild our nation’s economy and strengthen our global competitiveness,” said SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman. “With support and insights from the Council on Underserved Communities, we can better build and implement programs to equitably serve all of our small business and innovative startups.”
The Council on Underserved Communities was established to focus on communities and populations that have traditionally faced barriers in accessing credit, capital other resources necessary to start and grow businesses. The CUC’s mission is to collectively provide SBA with input, advice, and recommendations on strategies to improve and strengthen equity among women-, veteran-, and minority-owned businesses and/or businesses from low-to-moderate income or rural communities.
With this announcement, the SBA is soliciting nominations from members from the public with a deadline of Tuesday, July 20, 2021. The requirements for nominations include:
• Must be representative of the interests of urban or rural underserved communities;
• Former or current small business owner;
• Community leader;
• Official from a small business trade association or academic institution.
Nominees should send a letter of self-nomination or a letter of nomination from a peer, professional organization, society, or member of Congress. The letter must indicate which underserved community – rural or urban – the nominee will represent and highlight accomplishments and experience working with small businesses in the previously mentioned communities. Along with the Nominee Information Form and résumé, nominees should include the following: Full name of nominee; occupation; physical address; telephone number; Email address.
“I applaud Administrator Guzman for reconvening the Council on Underserved Communities to advise SBA on policies that will better meet the needs of underserved entrepreneurs,” said Senator Cardin, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. “The months and years ahead are an opportunity to reshape our nation’s economy and make it fairer and more equitable. SBA must play a key role by ensuring that minorities, women, veterans, people with disabilities, and entrepreneurs in rural communities have access to the tools they need to start and grow successful businesses.”
The success SBA and the small business community have seen from prioritizing equity in programs such as the Restaurant Revitalization Fund and the third round of the Paycheck Protection Program exemplify the need to continue this progress. The Shuttered Venues Operators Grant, the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loans (including Targeted Advance grants), and Community Navigator programs push SBA even further in the right direction.
Initially established in 2010, the Council on Underserved Communities provides advice, ideas, and opinions on SBA programs, services, and issues of interest to small businesses in underserved communities.
The U.S. Small Business Administration delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.