New bipartisan legislation to support rural minority-owned businesses


WASHINGTON (WAVY) — U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) have introduced the Reaching America’s Rural Minority Businesses Act, a legislation that would help small minority-owned businesses in rural areas.

The Reaching America’s Rural Minority Businesses Act would authorize the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) within the Department of Commerce to establish up to 10 business centers at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to serve rural and underserved communities.

The legislation would authorize $10 million a year for the creation of up to 10 rural business centers at HBCUs. Eligible institutions would not have to be located in a rural area but would need to demonstrate how they would serve a rural or underserved minority population.

HBCUs would also be able to form a network with other HBCUs or institutions of higher learning, which would strengthen the capacity of an established center and broaden its outreach.

The rural business centers would provide education, training, and technical assistance to rural minority businesses. Specifically, the centers would assist with:

  • Implementing broadband internet service, digital literacy, and e-commerce.
  • Promoting manufacturing in the United States.
  • Meeting gaps in the supply chain of critical supplies and essential goods and services.
  • Improving transportation and logistics.
  • Promoting trade and export opportunities.
  • Facilitating entrepreneurship in rural areas.

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