Beto for America
Saturday, June 15, 2019


New proposal would create 200,000 new small businesses by the end of Beto’s second term and leverage the full force of the federal government to expand access to capital and root out institutional racism, sexism and bias in the small business lending market
CHARLESTON, SC  —  Beto O’Rourke unveiled a robust plan today to support women and communities of color in creating 200,000 new small businesses across the country and ensure business owners have the resources, support and capital they need to grow and create jobs. As someone who started and owned a small business, Beto recognizes the challenges facing small businesses across the country every day -- and that these challenges are only amplified for women business owners and people of color. Drawing on the conversations he’s had with entrepreneurs across the country and from his own experiences, Beto’s plan would inject capital and demand into America’s small businesses, root out institutional racism and sexism and increase federal investment in minority and women owned businesses.

Beto announced the plan at the Black Economic Alliance Presidential Forum in Charleston, which comes during his third visit to South Carolina since announcing his candidacy for President of the United States. The full plan—available here in PDF form—is built around a three-part framework:
  1. Root out racism and sexism in the small business lending market to translate investment into new small businesses and jobs, spurring and sustaining over 200,000 new women and minority owned small businesses by the end of Beto’s second term. Beto’s plan would reinvigorate the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to confront discrimination against women entrepreneurs and communities of color, make access to credit fairer and more equitable through the creation of a public credit reporting agency, triple the investment in the Minority Business Development Agency to provide more resources and mentorship to minority small business owners, and simplify the tax code to make it easier for small businesses across the country to start and grow.
  2. Leverage targeted government contracting and other catalytic investments to unlock over a half a trillion dollars of economic opportunity for women and minority owned businesses. Beto’s plan would double the reach of the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFIs), a proven mechanism to increase access to capital in the places that need it most, and create a $10 billion  small business credit initiative to catalyze small business growth in economically distressed areas across the country.
  3. Shift $100 billion in government contracts away from large corporations to small business, with half of that opportunity going to women and minority entrepreneurs. Beto would increase small business procurement by the federal government by $100 billion with over 50% designated for minority and women owned businesses and would triple funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a public-private partnership that helps small- and medium-sized manufacturers develop products and a customer base.
"We have an economy that works too well for too few and not at all for too many, and it is only further broken as this country continues to block capital for entrepreneurs that have been effectively shut out of the business community," said Beto O’Rourke. “We must leverage the full force of our government to confront this inequity, invest in resources to root out racism and sexism in our lending markets, and ensure entrepreneurs have the opportunity to do what they do best: grow their businesses, create jobs, and further contribute to our communities.”

Spending time in communities throughout South Carolina and across the nation, and from his own experience as a small business owner, Beto has seen firsthand how crucial small businesses are to powering our national economy. Ninety-nine percent of America’s businesses are small businesses, and the fastest-growing businesses over the past two decades are those run by women and people of color. Yet too many of these entrepreneurs are locked out of the exact resources their businesses need to support their communities and the broader American economy. Minority and women owned businesses are less likely to get approved for loans, and a racial wealth gap rooted in this country’s legacy of racism presents an especially steep challenge to people of color.

Beto’s small business plan is rooted in his long-standing belief that we must directly confront these injustices and leverage the full force of our government to support the businesses we depend on to power our economy. Beto started his own small business in El Paso in 1999, which brought dozens of high-wage, high-skilled jobs to the border community. In Congress, Beto voted for legislation to ensure minority and women owned businesses had a seat at the table in the federal government when it came to cracking down on discrimination and bias within the small business lending market. He also worked to expand broadband access for rural small businesses, voted to make it easier for small business owners and entrepreneurs to access capital and navigate the tax code, and led efforts to expand support for returning service members seeking employment opportunities.

Additional details about this plan can be found at: www.betoorourke.com/small-business