Saturday, June 15, 2019

Elizabeth Warren proposes $7 billion in grants for minority businesses -

Elizabeth Warren proposes $7 billion in grants for minority businesses -

Elizabeth Warren proposes $7 billion in grants for minority businesses -

Posted: 15 Jun 2019 02:41 PM PDT

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren released a new plan on Friday to "level the playing field for entrepreneurs of color" by providing business grants to minorities in order to close the startup capital gap — the difference in capital available to white entrepreneurs versus entrepreneurs of color.

Warren argues that "every American should have a fair shot at starting a small business," but says the playing field is currently drastically uneven, with entrepreneurs of color starting businesses with far less money than their white counterparts. Warren writes that disparity severely affects minority-owned businesses' ability to attract investors, apply for credit, and their bottom lines.

"Disparity in startup capital is the single biggest reason that promising Black-owned businesses on average are less profitable and bring on fewer employees than white-owned businesses," Warren said.

In order to level the playing field for entrepreneurs, Warren has a plan to distribute $7 billion to minority businesspeople.

How the plan will work

Warren proposes distributing $7 billion in grants through a new "Small Business Equity Fund." She stresses the money will be in the form of grants, "not loans or loan guarantees," in order to ensure entrepreneurs can focus on growing their businesses rather than on repaying debt.

The fund would be managed by Warren's comprehensive new Department of Economic Development, which Matthew Yglesias explained in a piece on Warren's "economic patriotism:"

One specific bullet point on Warren's policy agenda is to create a unified Department of Economic Development that would combine the functions of the Commerce Department with the Small Business Administration, the Patent and Trademark Office, various job training and R&D programs scattered around the bureaucracy, and the export and trade agencies including the Office of the US Trade Representative.

The bureaucratic reorganization, however, is basically just to set the stage for a mission statement: "the new Department will have a single goal: creating and defending good American jobs."

Although the Small Business Equity Fund would be overseen at the federal level, Warren sees state and local stakeholders as being key to distributing funds; she says her program will be modeled on the State Small Business Credit Initiative, a federal program that gave states a great degree of largess in how they chose to distribute $1.5 billion. This freedom was given as officials felt local leaders have a better grasp of the needs of entrepreneurs in their states than federal officials would. Under Warren's plan, local governments would be required to work with minority investment managers to decide how the funds would be spent.

The federal government would also create guidelines for who would be eligible for the grants: they would be limited to entrepreneurs who are eligible for the Small Business Administration's existing 8(a) program. To be eligible for that program, a business must be at least 51 percent owned and controlled by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual who has less than $100,000 in household wealth. This figure encompass a large percentage of minority families; according to the Federal Reserve, the median net worth of a black family is $17,600, while the median net worth of a Latinx family is $20,700.

Warren would also work at the federal level to increase the Minority Business Development Agency's budget — she pledges to triple its funding in her presidential budget.

As with many of her other plans, the cost of this proposal would be entirely covered by Warren's wealth tax, a 2 percent tax on every dollar of wealth an American owns above $50 million, and a 3 percent tax on every dollar of wealth above $1 billion. According to the candidate, the $7 billion investment would help create 100,000 new minority-owned businesses and as a result, provide 1.1 million jobs.

The startup capital gap, and why it matters

Warren's proposal states the startup capital gap is the single biggest reason minority-owned businesses are less profitable on average than white-owned businesses. And that capital gap is vast.

The typical black entrepreneur, the candidate notes, starts a business with one third of the startup capital of the typical white entrepreneur. Part of this is due to difficulties receiving loans; another part of it is that minority families often have less wealth to invest in a family member's startup than white families do. As a Stanford Business School report found, "Latino business owners tend to depend on personal savings and seed funding from friends and family to start their businesses," and are "much more likely [than white entrepreneurs] to use personal guarantees than business assets to secure financing."

Having less money at the beginning of a business makes it more difficult to attract money later on, as it limits the amount an entrepreneur can invest in things like prototyping, real estate, inventory, and marketing, all things that, when done successfully, attract new investors and credit.

While the wealth threshold to quality for Warren's program may seem relatively low, $100,000 is far more than most minority families have on hand, according to Warren, who cites research that found $100,000 is roughly five times the median net worth of Latinx and Black families and more than ten times the median net worth of Native American families.

Warren's plan invokes the language of reparations, something she has vocally endorsed on the campaign trail, particularly when it suggests that the government has an obligation to address the racial wealth gap, "because the government helped create that wealth gap with decades of sanctioned discrimination." It is important to note, however, this policy is for all minorities rather than just for black Americans.

How Warren's plan compares to other candidates' plans

Warren released her plan ahead of the Black Economic Alliance's presidential forum in South Carolina, which she will be attending alongside a number of other Democratic presidential candidates, including Cory Booker, Beto O'Rourke, and Pete Buttigieg.

Beto O'Rourke released his own small business plan on Saturday, focusing on women, communities of color, as well as small businesses more generally. His plan hopes to create 200,000 new small businesses to Warren's 100,000, and pledges a $10 billion small business credit initiative for "economically distressed areas," to Warren's $7 billion Small Business Equity Fund. Notably, O'Rouke's plan doesn't give funding directly to small business owners in the form of grants. Instead it funds a range of programs designed to increase loan accessibility and reduce discrimination. Like Warren, he has pledged to triple investment in the Minority Business Development Agency in order to provide resources and mentorship to minority small business owners.

Booker is attending several South Carolina events around this weekend's forum, and is expected to use his stops to discuss the racial wealth gap and growing small businesses owned by African Americans, although he has not released a specific policy proposal.

Others Democrats have proposed more small business-friendly policies. Both Beto O'Rourke and Tulsi Gabbard have suggested cutting or offering deductions on small business taxes, but proposals such as these fail to account for the wealth gap that prevents entrepreneurs of color from opening a business in the first place.

This plan fits in well with Warren's myriad other plans

Warren has the most plans of any 2020 candidate, but almost all of her plans have the same overarching purpose: erasing the wealth gap. Warren's overall platform is focused on what she calls "economic patriotism," and this new plans fits right into that larger vision.

As Vox's Ezra Klein explained:

Warren's tagline is "I have a plan for that." And on one level, it's true: She has a lot of plans. But a clearer way of understanding her pitch is she's got one plan that she applies over and over again.

As Warren sees it, there's been a massive hoarding of wealth — and thus of power and opportunity — in this country. She wants to tax the wealth and redistribute both the money and the opportunity. She wants to break up concentrations of economic power by putting workers on corporate boards and unleashing antitrust regulators on Amazon and Facebook and ending Washington's revolving door. These are different policies, yes, but they all say the same thing: The wealthy have too much money and power, and Warren wants to change that.

Her newest proposal is grounded in these same themes: It disparages an "uneven playing field" and Warren argues that it will "move us closer to an America where everyone has a fair shot to succeed."

Economic issues remain a top concern for Democratic voters, and by adding her entrepreneurial investment plan to her portfolio of "economic patriotism" initiatives, Warren continues to suggest that addressing that concern is one of her top priorities.

Full platter of Juneteenth celebrations planned Saturday - Waco Tribune-Herald

Posted: 13 Jun 2019 04:23 PM PDT

Community groups are joining forces Saturday for a full day of Juneteenth events, starting with a parade and continuing with a free lunch and an expo for small businesses and artists.

The Saturday celebrations come four days ahead of the actual Juneteenth holiday, which commemorates the freeing of Texas slaves on June 19, 1865.

Festivities will begin at 10 a.m. with the traditional parade down Elm Avenue sponsored by the Cen-Tex African American Chamber of Commerce, but with an altered route. The procession will begin at Quinn Campus, 1020 Elm Ave., and proceed down Elm to Douglas C. Brown Street, where it will turn left, then take another left at Taylor Street and left on Garrison Street to return to the campus.

The route is meant to avoid having to cross traffic on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, said Rachel Pate, the chamber's vice president for economic development.

"It's just a security concern about taking it across the river," she said.

Pate said the chamber is partnering with other organizations this year to promote the parade along with two other Juneteenth events in East Waco. The Waco chapter of the NAACP and the Project VIER Coalition will host a free cookout immediately after the parade at Wilbert Austin Sr. Park, 401 Hood St. It will include a live DJ, talent show for young people, carnival, horseback rides, kickball, basketball, dominoes, and spades and bid whist card games.

From noon to 4 p.m., partners including Grassroots Community Development will sponsor a small business and artist showcase at the Multipurpose Center at Quinn Campus. The event will include shopping and live performances of poetry, spoken word and music. Visitors will see artists' work and displays on African American history.

Pate said organizers of Juneteenth efforts decided to collaborate this year to "create an atmosphere of celebration" and educate the next generation about the history of the day.

"I think everyone wants to share the excitement and exuberance of Juneteenth," she said.

Millville Matters: Main Street - SNJTODAY

Posted: 14 Jun 2019 01:00 AM PDT

By: Marianne Lods, Executive Director

With a reinvigorated program, there's a need for volunteers to join the committees that put the planning into action.

Millville's Glasstown Arts District is also a Main Street New Jersey community and a part of National Main Street organization via the National Trust in Washington, DC. Since our beginning in 2000, the organization began following the 4-Point Approach to revitalization offered by Main Street NJ. In 2004 we became a certified Main Street town after a rigorous application process and town meetings. 

There were many benefits for our town and about 25 others in New Jersey. Some of the projects we offered or completed from 2004 to 2016 included:

• Complete fa├žade makeovers with preservation architects provided by Main Street.

• Some of our businesses received services to create or change their branding with logos, websites, signage, etc.

• Totally redesigned website for the Arts District.

• Many speakers provided on the ins and outs of retail business.

• Crosswalks painted with unique arts district feel.

Being able to network with peers in other New Jersey towns was also invaluable to us.  

Early in May this year, we received notification that Governor Murphy is reinstating the Main Street program in the Department of Community Affairs. We supplied the necessary paperwork and have a letter of agreement with the City of Millville that it will work cooperatively with us to take advantage of new programs that will benefit our downtown.

One of the new offerings from the state has given our organization the opportunity to apply for Creative Placemaking grant funds that will benefit all the stakeholders in downtown. It will appeal to the residents and visitors who enjoy the art galleries, college courses, Levoy Theatre, small  shops and many excellent restaurants that line High Street. We will be announcing these creative projects in the near future when we are notified of the grant approval.  

With the reinvigorated Main Street program, we will soon be asking for volunteers to join the committees that put the planning into action. They are:

• Organization Committee – plans fundraising events and communications programs

• Design Committee – looks at fa├žade grant applications and recommends to the board of directors; will oversee public art proposals and recommendations; work to enhance appearance in downtown.

• Economic Development – works with other agencies in government and non-profit organizations to retain existing businesses and recruit new entrepreneurs and investors.

• Promotions Committee – works with stakeholders on traditional special events and plan new events.

Working on these committees, you will be joining board members and the executive director. A lot of the early planning will take place in July and August. A regular schedule of meetings and events will be launched in the fall. Much of the event planning for 2020 will revolve around the upcoming 20th anniversary of Millville Development Corporation, the Glasstown Arts District and Main Street Millville. 

To whet your appetite for the remainder of 2019, we have partnered with the Millville Recreation Department to host a city-wide Scavenger Hunt in August and the Ghost Tour in October. Also, we will be promoting the national "Small Business Saturday" event in November followed by Holiday Extravaganza.

If you have interest in getting involved or would like more information of what to expect and the amount of time you may be able to give, e-mail me: or phone me at 856-293-0556.  

To keep informed about the programs and events that we host, visit our website and check the Events tab regularly. Our Facebook and Twitter pages are always active with postings and sharing specials and information from the businesses. Like us @ Millville Glasstown Arts District.

SNJ Today is a Southern New Jersey news and information source that is dedicated to providing current stories related specifically to South Jersey.

Do you have community news or events? Email us at

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