News Article

Senate Bill Would Make SBA Community Advantage Program Permanent for Underserved Entrepreneurs
November 8, 2022


By: Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead

Legislation to improve on and make permanent the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Community Advantage Pilot Program has been introduced by Senator Ben Cardin.

As Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Senator Cardin has been an advocate of the Community Advantage (CA) pilot program for a long time. He first introduced legislation to make the pilot program permanent in 2019, and again in 2020 and 2021.

The SBA’s programs include the flagship 7(a) program, which provides capital to small business owners who would not be able to access it anywhere else. The traditional 7(a) program provides entrepreneurs with up to $5 million in capital at reasonable rates, though underserved entrepreneurs have often struggled to benefit.

Senator Cardin said: “The Community Advantage Pilot Program has proven to be an effective tool in reaching traditionally underserved entrepreneurs. Minority and women-owned businesses are the fastest-growing groups of firms in the U.S, yet they are two to three times more likely to be denied loans than non-minority business owners. The CA program helps close this credit gap, and I am proud to introduce legislation to codify the program and address this inequity for hardworking entrepreneurs.”

Congresswoman Judy Chu, who introduced the companion bill, added: “The SBA’s Community Advantage program has an extensive track record of helping these underserved firms secure loans and will play a critical role in ensuring that no small business is left behind in our economic recovery. I am proud to partner with Senator Cardin on this legislation and I hope we can get it passed to help more of our small businesses thrive.”

The Community Advantage Pilot Program was originally created by the Obama Administration in 2011. Now, the Biden Administration is a big supporter of the program, and last year extended it by an additional two years from September 2022 to 2024.