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Houlahan Pushes For Diversity In Small Business Leadership

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), along with Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez and 28 members, launched an effort to prioritize the recruitment and retention of diverse talent in our small business ecosystem, especially within the Small Business Investment Companies (SBICs). In a letter to SBA Administrator Carranza, Houlahan wrote to inquire about the current status of the Small Business Administration’s Open Network for Board Diversity (ONBOARD) initiative and other efforts to ensure diversity in decision-making roles. Study after study has shown inequities in access to capital for minority- and women-owned businesses. The letter cited as an exemplar former SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet’s partnership with LinkedIn and other professional organizations to help small businesses, especially those receiving SBIC funds, have diverse representation on their Board of Directors.

“As we seek to build a more equitable nation, it is crucial for our small business community to reflect the diversity of this country,” said Houlahan. “It’s critical that people from all backgrounds are represented at the highest levels of small business leadership and among those who make investment decisions. It’s crucial that the Small Business Administration support the ONBOARD initiative and other similar programs aimed at ensuring diversity in decision-making roles. Our economy and country will be stronger and better for it.”

“Our small business community is best able to innovate and power the economy when diverse voices have a seat at the table,” said Chairwoman Velázquez. “Unfortunately, representation is still lacking when it comes to leadership roles at many small businesses. By supporting the ONBOARD initiative and other efforts like it, the SBA can increase diversity in decision making roles and help small businesses unlock their full potential.”

“Diversity in small business leadership is vital, especially as these businesses that are the backbone of our neighborhoods are trying to recover from the pandemic’s effects,” said Congressman Dwight Evans (D-PA), vice chair of the House Small Business Committee. “Diversity helps both these businesses and the communities they serve. In her first term, Congresswoman Houlahan has shown leadership in this and numerous other areas -- I’m proud she’s part of Pennsylvania’s delegation in Washington.”

Full text of the letter can be found here.