WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneuship Committee, met earlier this week with dozens of minority business owners and entrepreneurs for a conversation on what tools they needs to increase opportunities and capacity, along with improving their chances for success. Senator Cardin outlined recent developments in Washington, including resources in the recently passed omnibus spending bill for the Small Business Administration and programs and grants aimed at the small business community, particularly minority, women and veteran-owned small businesses. The event was hosted by Stanley Tucker, President and CEO of Meridian Management Group, The President’s Roundtable and The Harbor Bank of Maryland.
“I wanted to have this discussion with minority entrepreneurs in Baltimore City to hear firsthand what’s working and what needs to change,” said Senator Cardin. “Small businesses have challenges that big companies simply don’t face. But they also create jobs at a greater rate and are responsible for more innovation than big businesses. The federal government should be a partner and not an obstacle to growth. We know there is no single program that works for every scenario and every company. As the lead Democrat on the Senate Small Business Committee, I’m working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to strengthen multiple programs to ensure that minority businesses are not left behind.
“One of the things that is clear to me is that the way we solve our social issues is through economics. When a person has a job, they are probably not going to have issues that get in the way of their success. One way to make that happen is a partnership between the government and the business community. Having Senator Cardin come out to meet with the minority business community, to think about ideas, thoughts and strategies on how we can really make that work is very important,” said Bob Wallace, Chair of The President’s Roundtable. “Senator Cardin has been a committed and intentional political leader for many years. What we need to do is continue that conversation in a more detailed and more intentional way because the key to reforming Baltimore and advancing our city and our economics is going to be entrepreneurship through the minority community, women’s community, and small business community. We need that collaboration between entrepreneurs and our political leaders. I think senator Cardin has been a leader in that area and we hope we can continue that process.”
“Our conversation with Senator Cardin was very uplifting — recognizing that minority businesses are not the same as they were years ago and there will never be a cookie cutter approach. Our conversations touched on establishing why we need to shift our paradigm relative to supporting minority businesses. It’s why this conversation was really exhilarating,” shared Sharon R. Pinder, President & CEO, Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council.
“I think Senator Cardin really addressed critical issues, especially as it related to minority business ownership and all the challenges we face in the City of Baltimore,” said Kyle O’Connor, Founder and Managing Partner of The Startup Nest. “I’m looking forward to continuing this conversation and definitely want to invite the senator to our facility.”
“Team Maryland is about trying to do everything we can together to help our business community – especially the minority business community. We are working to make sure funds intended for minority small businesses make it to the minority community despite a President of the United States that seems openly hostile to the minority community,” Senator Cardin added.