Press Release

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

Jan 8, 2018

Rochester, NY U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today stood by Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, local business owners, and economic development leaders at Instant Monogramming 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 women and minority business owners, among other entrepreneurs who face challenges accessing the capital needed to start and expand small businesses because they are often denied loans by banks. Instant Monogramming is a Rochester-based small business run by a mother-daughter duo that provides wholesale, corporate, and retail embroidery services.

The legislation Gillibrand is announcing legislation 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 women, minority, 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 sponsored by Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) and has passed in the House of Representatives. The bill is also cosponsored by Senators Tim Scott (R-SC), Chris Coons (D-DE), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Gary Peters (D-MI).

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 they make up nearly 40 percent of all small 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.

“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.”

“In Rochester, thousands of jobs are created by entrepreneurs, many of whom — particularly women and minorities — don’t have access to start-up funding through traditional lending institutions,” said Mayor Lovely Warren. “Thanks to Senator Gillibrand, we are fighting for even more women and minority-owned small businesses to access SBA microloans and, by doing so, helping us create more jobs.”

“PathStone Enterprise Center has utilized the SBA’s microloan program to provide loans and technical assistance to over 200 small businesses since we began lending in the 1990s,” said Stuart Mitchell, President and CEO of PathStone Corporation, “and we appreciate Senator Gillibrand’s efforts to improve this excellent program.”

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 that in turn provide microloans of up to $50,000 and business-based training and technical assistance to start up and growing small businesses. The average loan size is $13,000.