Published 2:30 pm Thursday, February 23, 2023
- Janita R Stewart
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- Janita R Stewart
By Janita R Stewart
SBA Mississippi District Office
Since 1976, the month of February has been recognized as Black History Month, a month set aside for us to take time and make a special effort to recognize, reflect on, and celebrate the noteworthy achievements of the countless number of African Americans that have made and continue to make important contributions to this country – many of which, unfortunately, tend to go unrecognized. The SBA Mississippi District Office continues its commitment to do the very best to help, assist and support entrepreneurs and small businesses with their plans to start, grow, expand and recover through SBA programs and services here in the Magnolia state.
SBA has recognized some of our highly successful Black-Owned businesses that gained distinction, in part, due to their participation in some of SBA’s programs and services, for example, the highly sought-after 8(a) Business Development Program, SBA’s Surety Bond Guarantee Program, Emerging Leaders, SBA Loan Programs, to name a few. Some of these businesses we’ve recognized include IMS Engineers; SOL Engineering, LLC; Innovative Performance Construction Company, LLC, among others who have a long-standing proven track record of success and still going. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recently released Annual Business Survey based on 2020 data, the number of Black-Owned employer businesses in the U.S. was 134,567, up just slightly from the previous survey. With a Black population of about 47 million, and with 33+million small businesses in America, the number of Black-Owned businesses obviously remains miniscule and with so much room and opportunity for growth, this statistic remains something that could be and should be increased.
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SBA was front and center over the past couple of years in terms of COVID relief for small businesses and eligible non-profits rolling out 5.2 million loans for $525 billion through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and the agency’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program added another 3.6 million loans valued at $191 billion, as well as an additional 5.7 million EIDL Advances worth $20 billion and much more under additional programs such as the EIDL Targeted Advance and EIDL Supplemental Targeted Advance grants as well as the sorely needed Restaurant Revitalization Fund. More support for small businesses also was delivered through SBA’s regular business programs including the 7(a) Guaranty, 504 and Microloan Programs, SBIC, Surety Bond Guarantee, federal government contracts from SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program and more.
During Black History Month, as we pay tribute to the many African Americans that have and continue to make great contributions to this country, perhaps as part of that tribute, we can all do what we can to support Black-Owned businesses in our respective communities. That support could serve to go a long way for these businesses. By the way, these businesses need that support not just during the month of February, but throughout the entire year.
Be well, stay safe, and all the very best to you in 2023!