SEATTLE — Sen. Maria Cantwell and U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo held a roundtable discussion earlier this month with Asian American and other minority-owned small business leaders and entrepreneurs from across Washington, who shared their experiences with the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA).
Cantwell highlighted the need to increase federal support to help grow minority-owned businesses and create new jobs.
“Seventy-five percent of job growth in America comes from small businesses. So if you don’t have women or minorities growing businesses, you’re leaving out a huge part of the population,” said Cantwell. “So it’s imperative that the MBDA become a permanent program. It was created in the Nixon administration, but because it was never really authorized, every year, people debated how much money it would get or not get.”
Minority-owned businesses were among the hardest hit during the pandemic.
According to a National Bureau of Economic Research analysis, from February to April 2020, an estimated 26% of Asian-owned businesses, 41% of Black-owned businesses, and 32% of Latino-owned businesses closed, while 17% of white-owned businesses closed. On average, minority-owned businesses are more likely to be denied loans, earn less income, and are half as likely to have employees.