New plan aims to help small businesses in rural, minority communities

Small businesses in low-income neighborhoods and rural communities received some big help on Thursday, as the Small Business Administration (SBA) announced a $10 billion plan to directly help these businesses get up and running once again.

"We have a mission, [and] that mission is to make sure the forgotten communities are not forgotten," said White House Entrepreneurial Policy Advisor Ashley Bell.

As soon as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) went on line, the money got nabbed up, and that left a lot of small businesses. With the $10 million plan also comes a lifeline of sorts.

"This is for that CEO that's also the secretary, the janitor and every other hat that they wear. This is for the folks who need a little help, who wear so many hats to provide the goods and services in your community," said Bell.

Bell says the money is being set aside for forgivable loans, specifically for businesses in rural, minority or other underserved communities.

"It's important because the women and minority businesses that haven’t been able to take advantage of PPP, many of those challenges are around not having banking relationships, technical assistance to know how to access these funds," said Bell.

The money will be lent exclusively to community development financial institutions (CDFI).

"In every community, you’re going to have CDFIs. They’re mission-based, which means they were solely created to deal with the underserved populations in your community," said Bell.

The forgivable loans are meant to be used to pay employees, rent and insurance, so as they open up, they are ready to go. Bell says the President asked for money to be set aside for these businesses in opportunity zones.

"These are areas where we know if they get access to capital, they can thrive, and so by protecting this money and keeping it in a separate pot from the big banks and companies, we are able to make sure this gets to those who need it and they don’t have to fight with the big businesses to get it," said Bell.

Small Business Administration