SBA Announces Landmark Collaboration with Historically Black Fraternities and Sororities to Address Wealth Gaps Through Black Entrepreneurship

First of its Kind Agreement That Will Focus on Improving Financial Literacy, Outreach, and Capital Access Opportunities Across Communities

WASHINGTON – This week, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice for America’s 32.5 million small businesses in President Biden’s Cabinet, signed a Strategic Alliance Memorandum (SAM)–an authority unique to the SBA among federal agencies–with President Reuben A. Shelton III, Esq., on behalf of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC)’s Council of Presidents, comprised of nine historically Black fraternities and sororities, sometimes referred to as the “Divine Nine.”

“This historic alliance between the SBA and the NPHC—the first of its kind for a government agency—will bring SBA’s valuable small business resources into reach for many small businesses and entrepreneurs, furthering the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to build equity and close historic wealth gaps that have held back America’s Black entrepreneurs, small business owners and their families and communities for generations,” said Administrator Guzman. “Over the past 18 months, the SBA has made incredible progress reaching more of America’s small businesses, delivering vital resources and support to entrepreneurs who have been historically underinvested in and overlooked—the same people and communities hit hardest by the COVID pandemic. Working alongside partners and allies within the Divine Nine will provide even greater reach for the SBA to better provide the highly entrepreneurial Black community access to networks, financial literacy, technical training, and capital readiness so they can successfully realize their American Dreams of business ownership, create jobs, and advance our economy.”

Announced in the leadup to Juneteenth, this new strategic alliance advances the SBA’s implementation of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to building equity throughout the federal government and across America. Under the new alliance, a unique agreement for a federal government agency, the partnership will focus on increasing financial literacy within traditionally underserved, disadvantaged communities, expanding the Agency’s outreach, and introducing Black entrepreneurs to the SBA’s suite of tools and resources to start and grow their businesses including access to capital, government contracting opportunities and counseling.

Reuben A. Shelton III, Esq., Chairman of the Council of Presidents of the National Pan-Hellenic Council and Grand Polemarch of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., added: “The National Pan Hellenic Council and its affiliate organizations are very excited about this opportunity with the U.S. Small Business Administration. This collaboration will give NPHC members critical access to information that will promote small business growth and create jobs in all sectors of our economy.”

Wanda Smith (standing, second from left) of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., is a founding member of BDPA’s Temple University Student Chapter. She joins SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman (seated left) and other Zeta Phi Beta sorors during signing ceremonies. — SBA photo.

Often represented on thousands of university campuses, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), with members in leadership roles across civic and business organizations and the faith community, the NPHC boasts over 2.5 million active members and scores of alumni members. Taken together, this group of engaged leaders is a critical ally in helping building trust within key communities and introducing small business owners to critical resources to bolster their business outcomes as we seek to close the wealth gap. The NPHC represents the following organizations:

  • Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
  • Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
  • Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
  • Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
  • Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
  • Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
  • Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
  • Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc.
     

The SBA Has Deepened its Engagement and Support of African American, Black and Historically Disadvantaged Small Business Owners.

In line with the Biden-Harris Administration’s agenda outlined in the recently released SBA Equity Action Plan, the SBA has instituted several major changes to level the playing field for all small businesses, including making impactful reforms to the Community Advantage (CA) Pilot loan program that prioritizes equitable access to capital for low-income borrowers and those from underserved communities, releasing disaggregated data across industries and sectors by race and ethnicity and helping to deliver contracting reforms to bring in new, diverse contractors, and launching the American Rescue Plan’s $100 million Community Navigators program.

In addition, the SBA has expanded the number of Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) it supports to 146 – the largest WBC network in the history of the SBA. Notably, this investment under Administrator Guzman signifies the tripling of WBCs at HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). Since March 2021, the complete listing of WBCs housed on the campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) now includes:

  • Miles College, Fairfield, Alabama
  • Savannah State University, Savannah, Georgia
  • Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Bowie State University, Bowie, Maryland
  • Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi
  • Alcorn State University, Lorman, Mississippi
  • Bennett College, Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Winston-Salem State University, Winston Salem, North Carolina
  • Benedict College, Columbia, South Carolina
  • Virginia Union University, Richmond, Virginia
     
(L-R) Norman Mays, Founder, BDPA Washington, D.C. and Carl Brown, Executive Director, DCSBDC, attend 40th anniversary award ceremonies for National BDPA’s Greater Washington, D.C. Chapter at Howard University’s Armour J. Blackburn University Center. DCSBDC’s program is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and Howard University.  BDPA-DC photo by Pat McDugall © 2018 bdpatoday

SBA remains committed to increasing capital for small businesses, including those in underserved communities. This means ensuring entrepreneurs have access to capital, standard and disaster lending programs, and PPP direct forgiveness as well as assistance in  growing their revenues by getting their products online or into global markets and accessing federal contracting opportunities, often by connecting them to one of the Agency’s newly launched Community Navigators, hundreds of Field Offices, or thousands of Resource Partners – including Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), Women’s Business Centers, SCORE chapters, and Veterans Business Ownership Centers – for mentoring, training, and assistance in navigating government resources.

Source and photos: SBA and BDPA-DC


A D V E R T I S E M E N T

AFIT HBCU DLS 22

Raymond Bell, Jr. Elected BDPA-DC President and Executive Committee Chair

WASHINGTON — Raymond Bell, Jr. has been elected to fill the vacancy of Vice President Business Management and President Elect for BDPA of Greater Washington, D.C. (BDPA-DC). Bell will assume President of BDPA-DC and Chair the Chapter’s Executive Committee on January 1, 2022.

Raymond Bell, Jr.He will succeed outgoing President and Chair, Perry Carter,

who supports Federal and DOD/IC portfolios for National BDPA.  Carter will expand his role in direct support of the Association’s Golden Anniversary Events in 2025, and National BDPA Local Chapter engagements in CONUS with JROTC Units, HBCU/MIs, and CBC (Congressional Black Caucus) Tech 2025 FED/SLED (state and local government and education) initiatives.

Bell is the founder of R. Emmanuel Bell Consulting, a training and facilitation company. Mr. Bell is a social entrepreneur, keynote speaker and facilitator. He is devoted to teaching and coaching young adults how to become I.T. professionals. Through his workshops, courses and coaching programs Bell shows young adults how to get out of  unemployment lines and onto rewarding career paths.

H.O.P.E. Project IT Summit 2019
H.O.P.E. Project IT Summit 2019

Bell’s passion is to empower young people to take ownership and control of their own destiny. In 2009 Bell founded The H.O.P.E. Project, also known as the “Harvard of the Hood”, an I.T. career training program. The H.O.P.E. Project has been called one of the best I.T. career training programs in the country by the President of the Help Desk Institute (HDI). Graduates earn an average annual salary of $62,500, working on major government contracts with prime contractors such as Lockheed Martin, World Bank, and CACI to name a few. To date, nearly forty H.O.P.E. Project graduates have accepted annual salaries at and north of $100,000.

Raymond Bell, Jr. is considered one of the leading experts in I.T. career training and workforce development in the United States. Mr. Bell has received numerous awards for his work including the a HDI Top 25 Thought Leader, BDPA-DC Member of the Year, National Black Caucus of State Legislators, and Nation Builder Award Recipient, for his outstanding work developing world class I.T. professionals.

HOPE Project DMV IT Summits and Community Info-Sessions

Bell launched hopeprojectonline in 2021 to help over 1,000 people launch new careers in Information Technology. Bell has been seen on and/or featured in Ebony, ABC, CBS, WHUR, NewOne Now, Bloomberg News, Washington Post, National Public Radio, National Journal, BET and many other media outlets. Bell will lead his new board alongside Sedley Randolph, who transitioned to the Chapter’s new Chief of Staff role. Randolph is a 2019 BDPA-DC President’s Community Technology Award recipient.

With BDPA-DC Chapter’s latest rounds of new impact funding from Microsoft and OCTO, Bell is recruiting more Veterans, professionals, students, and interns from the National Capital Region (DMV) to join and actively participate in new committees. He wants to offer more technical coaching, mentorship, training, and certification programs to meet and exceed emerging cybersecurity and “Smart City” requirements. Adjacent to BDPA-DC, National BDPA also seeks immediate growth and new members in Annapolis, MD; Baltimore, MD; Northern Virginia; Richmond, VA; and new BDPA Chapters collocated with regional HBCUs and MSIs.

Annual IT Summit
H.O.P.E. Project DC Annual IT Summit in Washington, D.C.

Nominations are now open to current or new BDPA-DC Members for the election of new officers and committee chairs for BDPA-DC’s FY22/FY23 board.  New BDPA-DC Members may apply for and join as full or student memberships through the Association’s portal at BDPA.org.  Current BDPA-DC Members may renew or update membership profiles for current NBDPA career opporiutntiies, industry news, and local events.

Annual Community Technology Awards with America’s 2019 National High School Computer Coding Competition team from Washington, D.C.

About BDPA

BDPA, formerly known as Black Data Processing Associates, was founded in Philadelphia, PA in 1975. Today, BDPA is an international organization with a remarkably diverse membership of professionals and students in the fields of information and communications technology (ICT), computer science, data science, and related S.T.E.M. fields. Local BDPA Chapters and BDPA Members are actively engaged in serving their respective communities through outreach engagements while charting the future of ICT industries.

BDPA Memphis Chapter with Bryce Ellis, Naim Hakeem, Kareem Dasilva, Judy Lane, Melaati Jayah, Jada Thorium and Mykaila Johnson.

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Association U.S., Canada, and Local Reference Links

BDPA – bdpa.org and BDPA-DC – BDPAdc.org

Youth Tech Programs and High School Coding Competitions – DCHSCC.org

Tablets For Teens – tabletsforteens.org

bdpatoday – bdpatoday.com

PTTV – populartechnology.tv

LinkedIn – linkedin.com/in/bdpatoday

Archives – pinterest.com/bdpatoday

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