SBA announces Community Navigator program for small businesses in underserved areas

SBA announces Community Navigator program for small businesses in underserved areas

May 26, 2021

The Small Business Association (SBA) is preparing to launch the Community Navigator Pilot Program, a $100 million grant program that will strengthen outreach to underserved businesses by partnering with organizations with deep roots in their communities.

The program, enacted through the American Rescue Plan Act, will provide counseling, networking and the assistance needed during this time of economic recovery to the nation’s smallest businesses. It will target small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, as well as women and veterans.

The SBA will engage with states, local governments, SBA resource partners, Community Financial Institutions (CFIs), and other organizations in directed outreach efforts. These partners and people in the community are key to this pilot program as they will serve as a two-way information stream, enabling enterprising business owners to receive the help needed from the SBA.

These efforts began with SBA issuing an Information Notice that offers advice and guidance on best practices for adopting the community navigator model for use by SBA district offices, state and local government partners, Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), Women’s Business Centers (WBCs), Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs), SCORE, and other resource partners.

The Biden-Harris Administration and Congressional leaders supported a $100 million investment, as part of the American Rescue Plan, to establish Community Navigator Programs for individuals with disabilities and/or in minority, immigrant, rural, and other underserved communities across the country. The Administration is committed to ensuring that the nation’s small businesses receive the support they need to access federal relief programs that can help them weather the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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