The Business Council of Westchester joined with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Monday in New Rochelle as she announced proposed legislation to expand a small business program that would help women and minority-owned businesses and entrepreneurs with loans and technical assistance.
Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of the Business Council of Westchester, attended the event at Modern Paint and Hardware in New Rochelle along with U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel; NYS Sen. Andrea Stewart Cousins, business and community leaders.
“Too many would-be small business owners struggle to get loans from banks to start their businesses. More often than not, the people who lose out are women and minority New Yorkers,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The bipartisan Microloan Modernization Act would help ensure that every hardworking entrepreneur who wants to start a business has a chance to do it. If we really want to fix our economy, then we need to start rewarding work and entrepreneurship again, and this bipartisan bill is a good place to start.”
According to the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, women receive less than 5 percent of conventional small business loans, even though women-owned businesses make up nearly 40 percent of all businesses in the country. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Commerce has found that among smaller minority-owned businesses, loan denial rates for minority firms were about three times higher compared to those of non-minority-owned firms.
Gordon said that she was encouraged by the legislation. “These small businesses are often denied loans by banks making it difficult to get the capital they need to start or expand,’’ she said. “With small businesses making up so much of the local economy, we need programs like this to help them succeed.’’