SANTA FE—U.S. Senator Tom Udall, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich announced a $3 million national program, Enterprising Women of Color, to improve capacity-building and growth potential for small business owned by women of color. The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), a bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce, developed the funding opportunity in response to Udall and Heinrich’s push to expand MBDA’s funding to support economic growth and drive communities forward by giving women of color the resources they need to develop flourishing small businesses.
The MBDA program is expected to award $1.5 million in Fiscal Year 2020 to Business Centers with a specific focus on supporting women of color entrepreneurs, with an additional $1.5 million for FY2021. The grants will fund programs for Business Centers to help women of color with capacity-building, securing contracts and capital and increasing employment opportunities.
“Women-owned businesses are economic engines, providing good jobs for communities in New Mexico and across the country,” Udall said. “But women of color, despite their skills as entrepreneurs and business owners, face unique structural barriers impeding access to capital and resources to grow their businesses. I fought hard to expand this program last year because so many business owners throughout New Mexico have good ideas, but struggle to find the resources and investment opportunities that can help them scale up and employ more New Mexicans. In light of the national crisis that small business owners are facing across the country, I encourage Business Centers across New Mexico to apply to this critical funding to bolster the resiliency of women of color entrepreneurs to help them weather this crisis and come out stronger on the other side.”
“I was proud to help expand this program to ensure that women of color have a level playing field to write their own business success stories,” said Heinrich. “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the cornerstone of a thriving community - and we need to support them now more than ever. With this funding, we will increase opportunities for women of color entrepreneurs to expand their businesses and hire more New Mexicans. I encourage New Mexicans to learn more about these sources of support and to contact my office if I can help you navigate the process to apply.”
New Mexico is the first in the nation for female-owned businesses, with nearly 52 percent of New Mexico businesses owned or co-owned by women, in comparison to the national rate of 42 percent of the total number of small businesses in the United States, with women of color accounting for 50 percent of all women- owned businesses as of 2019. New Mexico also leads the nation in the number of Hispanic-owned businesses, at close to a third, or 30.7 percent, of all firms in New Mexico. However, women-owned businesses face obstacles to achieving the same level of growth, reporting one-third of the revenue compared to all firms nationally. Closing this gap would significantly increase economic growth and job growth in the United States.
The new MBDA grant program seeks to fund for-profit entities, non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, commercial organizations, state and local government entities and quasi-government entities with a particular focus on supporting minority women entrepreneurs in the United States.
The deadline to apply for the funding is 11:59 p.m. EST (9:59 p.m. MST) on Saturday, May 30, 2020.
For more information on how to apply for immediate small business relief from the recent emergency congressional coronavirus response package (CARES ACT), click here.