April 04, 2019

Duckworth Announces Legislation to Help Small Businesses Get Financing They Need to Succeed

Bill would expand SBA Microloan Program to help small businesses grow & create jobs


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) announced the introduction of new legislation to help small business owners secure the financing they need to grow their businesses and create good-paying jobs in their communities. Speaking at a Senate Small Business Committee hearing, Duckworth touted The Microloan Program Expansion Act of 2019, which would improve the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Microloan Program to help more small businesses – particularly women, Veterans, low-income and minority entrepreneurs – that may have been overlooked by traditional commercial lenders. Duckworth’s legislation was praised by the President & CEO of Association for Enterprise Opportunity, Connie Evans, who is an Illinoisan and testified before the committee.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy, yet many of them struggle to access the capital they need to start or grow,” said Duckworth. “My legislation would improve the bipartisan microloan program to help more small business owners and entrepreneurs in both rural and urban communities get the financing they need to succeed.”

Most small business owners seek small loans to grow their companies, with 55% of all small businesses seeking loans under $100,000. However, a Harvard white paper found the largest gaps in financing are for loans under $50,000. Since 1992, the SBA Microloan Program has helped fill that gap by providing small businesses owners with access to loans of less than $50,000. Duckworth’s legislation would expand the program to get more capital in the hands of small business entrepreneurs by increasing the total amount of loans that lenders may keep on their books, eliminating an outdated rule that prevents SBA from distributing more than 1/55th of its funding in any given state during the first half of the year – limiting the program’s effectiveness – and it would require SBA to report to Congress and the public on the success of the microloan program and how the loans help small businesses remain in business.

The legislation has been endorsed by Accion Serving Illinois and Indiana, Friends of the SBA Microloan Program, Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), Justine PETERSEN, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives Micro Finance Group (CNIMFG), Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity (CAMEO), Small Business Majority, US Black Chambers and the Association of Women’s Business Centers (AWBC).

“Trudy Daly in Murphysboro, Illinois, is an excellent example of how the SBA Microloan program can turn a dream into a reality. Through the Microloan program, Justine PETERSEN provided both the capital and technical assistance Trudy needed to rehab and open Officer’s Residence Bed and Breakfast Inn. Located in an original boarding house built at the turn of 20th century, she now greets travelers just off the Shawnee Wine Trail with comfort food and lodging,” said Sheri Flanigan-Vazquez, Chief Operating Officer of Justine PETERSEN. “We appreciate Senator Duckworth introducing the Microloan Program Enhancement Act of 2019, which would significantly improve the program, providing more resources and removing barriers microlenders currently face in serving harder to reach communities and borrowers most in need of the resources to start their own dream business like Trudy.”

As a member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Duckworth is working in the Senate to expand economic opportunity, cut unnecessary red tape and revitalize economies in communities around the state that have been ignored by many for too long. Her first piece of legislation in the Senate, a bipartisan bill supporting Illinois jobs and protecting infrastructure projects from needless bureaucratic delays, passed just 63 days after she was first sworn in as a Senator. She has previously introduced legislation to make it easier for small businesses to borrow capital from community banks and help female entrepreneurs grow their companies. She has also filed amendments to provide small businesses with consulting, training, loans and export assistance.