VP Kamala Harris Unveils $125 Million Program to Support Underserved Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

Vice President Kamala Harris announced her support for historically underserved entrepreneurs during a visit to the new minority-owned Washington, D.C. retail village, Sycamore and Oak. The announcement includes $125 million in federal funding for over 40 organizations dedicated to helping underserved small businesses.

The investment is a key part of “Bidenomics,” the administration’s economic agenda aimed at growing the economy from the middle out and bottom up. The funding is allocated under the $125 million Capital Readiness Program, which was authorized in the American Rescue Plan signed by President Joe Biden in 2021.

Harris emphasized the importance of a strong business accelerator as a one-stop shop for small businesses to succeed, particularly for those without a background in business or finance. The chosen organizations have a track record of supporting entrepreneurs in underserved communities, offering services such as mentorship, management courses, and assistance with taxes.

The program received 1,000 applications, and the selected organizations, including nonprofits, private sector entities, and higher education institutions, will form partnerships to provide resources, tools, training, and technical assistance to underserved entrepreneurs. The focus will be on high-growth industries such as healthcare, climate-resilient technology, asset management, and infrastructure.

The Capital Readiness Program is administered by the Minority Business Development Agency, part of the Department of Commerce, which was made permanent under President Biden through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act.

In her speech, Harris expressed the administration’s commitment to finding innovative ways to support entrepreneurs and small business owners, expanding access to capital, and fostering partnerships between community banks and businesses.

The Sycamore and Oak retail village features 13 local businesses, and plans are underway for further expansion to include a hotel, affordable housing units, retail, restaurants, and convening spaces as part of a larger mixed-use real estate development in Congress Heights.

The Capital Readiness Program is a crucial step in supporting minority businesses’ pathway to the American dream, representing the largest technical assistance program of its kind in the history of the Commerce Department.

The Biden administration has been working vigorously to promote the president’s economic agenda, although some polls have shown mixed public perceptions of economic conditions.

Overall, the program aims to boost historically underserved entrepreneurs’ access to capital and help them break into new areas, such as the clean energy economy, providing opportunities for growth and success.