May 14, 2018

Gillibrand Announces Bipartisan Legislation To Expand Small Business Administration’s Microloan Program, Help Minority- And Women-Owned Businesses Succeed

Legislation Would Make It Easier for Entrepreneurs to Access Capital and Grow Their Small Businesses; Microloan Program Provides Loans and Technical Assistance to Women and Minority Business Owners Who Face Challenges Accessing Capital from Banks; Legislation Recently Passed Out of Key Committee with Unanimous Support, Now Heads to Senate Floor

Utica, NY U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today stood with local business owners and community leaders at the Utica Women’s Business Center to announce bipartisan legislation, the Microloan Modernization Act, to expand the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Microloan Program that provides loans and technical assistance to minority and women business owners, among other entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs face challenges accessing the capital needed to start and expand small businesses because they are often denied loans by banks.

The legislation Gillibrand announced would strengthen the SBA Microloan Program by raising the total limit on outstanding loans to intermediary lending organizations, which would allow for more loans to be made to minority, women, and other business owners. The Microloan Modernization Act also expands opportunities for more hands-on training assistance to help small business owners succeed. This bipartisan legislation was passed with unanimous support by the Senate Small Business Committee in March this year, and has passed in the House of Representatives. The bill is sponsored by Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) and cosponsored by Senators Tim Scott (R-SC), Chris Coons (D-DE), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), and Gary Peters (D-MI).

“Too many would-be small business owners struggle to get loans from banks to start their businesses. More often than not, the people who lose out are women and minority New Yorkers,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The bipartisan Microloan Modernization Act would help ensure that every hardworking entrepreneur who wants to start a business has a chance to do it. If we really want to fix our economy, then we need to start rewarding work and entrepreneurship again, and this bipartisan bill is a good place to start.”

“Providing capital and technical assistance to small businesses and entrepreneurs is the best investment we can make.  In Utica, minority and women-owned businesses have and will continue to play an integral role in our City’s revitalization. This bi-partisan legislation will go to great lengths in helping local businesses expand and grow.  I commend Senator Gillibrand for her proactive leadership and support for our small business community,” said Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri.

“Small businesses are truly the engine of the Mohawk Valley’s economy.  The Microloan Modernization Act will provide women and minority entrepreneurs with the tools they need to become successful business owners. I want to thank Senator Gillibrand for her support for this program, which will expand opportunity for small business owners, and also help with the continuing revitalization of the Mohawk Valley region,” said Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi.

“I would like to thank Senator Gillibrand for her work on the Microloan Modernization Act. The micro loan program is one of the many important tools in our toolbox here at the Women's Business Center of New York State,” said Patricia Laino, Executive Director of the Women's Business Center of New York State

According to the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, women receive less than 5 percent of conventional small business loans, even though women-owned businesses make up nearly 40 percent of all businesses in the country. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Commerce has found that among smaller minority-owned businesses, loan denial rates for minority firms were about three times higher compared to those of non-minority-owned firms. A report from the Long Island Association also says that small businesses account for close to 90 percent of all businesses on Long Island, showing their importance to the region’s economy.

Since its inception, the SBA Microloan Program has delivered more than $722 million in loans to small businesses across America that have created or retained 212,000 jobs. In Fiscal Year 2017 alone, the program loaned over $8.4 million to 821 New York entrepreneurs and business owners. The SBA Microloan Program makes direct loans and grants to intermediary, non-profit organizations, which in turn provide microloans of up to $50,000, business-based training, and technical assistance to start-up and growing small businesses. The average loan size is $13,000.