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The U.S. SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman and Associate Administrator Mark Madrid, Office of Entrepreneurial Development, announced today the partnership between the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC), and other Latino business groups as one of the national awardees of the SBA’s Community Navigator Pilot Program.

All recipient organizations will participate in the $100 Million program, an American Rescue Plan initiative designed to reduce barriers that underrepresented and underserved entrepreneurs continue to face accessing the programs they need to recover, grow, or start their businesses.

Under Administrator Guzman’s direction to place equity at the heart of all SBA programs, the American Rescue Plan-funded Community Navigator Pilot Program will serve as a critical initiative to fulfill the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to ensuring the nation’s small businesses receive support and gain access to federal relief programs to help them Build Back Better and thrive beyond the pandemic.

The Navigator pilot program will distribute funds to grantee organizations (“Hubs”) to ensure their collaboration with local community entities (“Spokes”) tasked with improving access to, and knowledge of SBA and government resources for America’s small business owners. USHCC will serve as a “Hub” and IHCC will deploy grant funds to assist underserved, unrepresented Latino and minority-owned businesses in Illinois. 

Jaime di Paulo, President & CEO of the IHCC, thanked the leadership of the SBA, including OED Associate Administrator Mark Madrid during a meeting in Washington DC, for their vision and commitment to Latino businesses.

“Latino small businesses are the backbone of our community and play a key role in our state’s economy, creating jobs and establishing a positive presence in so many Illinois communities. IHCC’s goal is to ensure that Latino small businesses have access to bilingual, culturally-sensitive guidance and assistance”, Di Paulo said. “The SBA Navigator Program represents an important step in this direction and IHCC will continue its work to generate the resources needed to meet the needs of Latino businesses.”

“The Biden-Harris Administration has prioritized building our small business ecosystems back better so that all of our entrepreneurs have a fair shot at achieving the American dream of business ownership,” said Administrator Guzman. “We need to meet businesses where they are with resources to start, grow and be resilient, and the Community Navigator Pilot Program will power a trusted network of community partners to connect America’s entrepreneurs with the SBA. The program’s Community Navigators will develop strong relationships with deeply trusted community-based organizations that will tap into one-on-one, targeted support from programs designed to help them create jobs and drive innovation.” 

“The unprecedented hyperlocal and national coalition-building approach of the Community Navigator Pilot Program will catalyze small businesses,” said Mark Madrid “These distinguished grantees will help supercharge our U.S. small business recovery.  Simultaneously, they will help close historic and current resource gaps and advance equity, which remains one of our top priorities.”

About the Community Navigator Pilot  Program:  

Utilizing a “hub and spoke” model from public health care federal programming, the SBA’s Community Navigator Pilot Program will help level the playing field for America’s entrepreneurs, especially our underserved women, people of color, veterans, and rural and low-income communities. 

Grantee “hubs” will serve as centralized, lead organizations, and will incorporate “spokes” to leverage partnerships with deeply trusted community-based organizations to help small businesses navigate government resources and tap into critical resources. 

The SBA conducted a competitive review process to ensure compliance, objectivity, and integrity that allowed every applicant an opportunity to demonstrate the impact the SBA’s support of their organization could have on their communities.  

Organizations selected to receive funding will be ramping up their operations in the coming weeks to support local business owners. 

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