WRITTEN AND CONTRIBUTED BY KHAMERON RILEY
What You Need to Know:
Vice President Kamala Harris returned to her roots at Howard University to announce a five-year $4.7 billion initiative to support disadvantaged communities and minority businesses. As she spoke from the stage at Cramton Auditorium, the Vice President touted the diligence of the
Greater Washington Partnership, a philanthropic institution whose members consist of Howard University as well as such businesses as Amazon, Bank of America, Capital One, Clark Construction, Exelon, Georgetown University, McKinsey & Company, Thompson Hospitality, and the Washington Commanders.
“This is an institution that, since its founding, has worked to advance, as we are doing today, inclusion, growth, and equity in our country,” the vice president said. “I believe America as a nation is driven by the ambition and aspirations of her people. Our economy is therefore driven by ambition and aspiration of our small businesses.”
Harris mentioned that Black entrepreneurs are three times more likely to report they didn’t apply for credit for fear of being turned away by a bank.
“Community lenders can often see the potential that others might overlook,” she said. “Since I took office, I have consulted with some of the most active community lenders in our nation, and I see a tremendous difference that these institutions are making. Our administration is working to expand the reach of community lenders.”
The $4.7 billion will be directed in three ways:
$2.6 billion will be allocated toward helping Black and Latino businesses become suppliers.
$1.5 billion will go to racial equity initiatives aimed at creating wealth-building opportunities in underrepresented communities, such as direct corporate investments in affordable housing and in community organizations that specialize in equity initiatives
$619 million will help minority business enterprises gain access to capital.
Why You Need to Know:
Corporate investments in underrepresented businesses can provide them insulation and resources to help them become more competitive and sustainable in the marketplace. We should always be aware of what Harris is up to as this administration is leaving her to advance the Black agenda.