Although minority-owned businesses are growing at a faster rate than other small businesses in the U.S., they receive access to capital at much lower levels. A recent hearing sponsored by Cong. Al Lawson U.S. Rep Al Lawson examined the challenges minorities and women-owned businesses face when seeking funding from the Small Business Administration, traditional banks, private investment capital and additional financing mechanisms.
“One of the most pressing issues minorities and women have in starting a small business is access to capital,” said Rep. Lawson. “Small business owners who have worked hard to set up their companies should be given a fair opportunity to apply for and be awarded for their businesses. We must take a closer look at these inequities and our nation’s lending policies if we wish to see a stronger economy.”
This hearing provided local businesses owners an opportunity to share with policy makers the funding challenges they faced when starting or expanding their businesses, and to examine ways to overcome these. The hearing was co-chaired by U.S. Rep. James Comer (KY-01), who also serves on the U.S. Small Business Committee. Following the hearing, which was hosted at the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce, attendees met with local small business representatives to discuss funding opportunities.
“While our company has seen success in accessing the much-needed capital investment, there are many stories of companies that have stalled or closed due to a lack of investment,” said Dane Grey, president and CEO of Elite Parking Services of America. “While the government at times can focus on assisting large businesses, which is important, ensuring that foundations are laid so smaller business can succeed are also equally as important.”
Small Business has been one of the key focuses of Rep. Lawson’s work during his first term in Congress. In 2017, he co-introduced the Women’s Business Centers Improvements Act of 2017 (HR 1680). This bill would help centers, such as the Jacksonville Women’s Business Center (JWBC), prepare women entrepreneurs to start, grow and compete in global markets. Shown are panel members Dane Grey, president and CEO of Elite Parking Services of America and Vice President of the Hester Group Roslyn Phillips.