INDIANAPOLIS—Last week, Senate Assistant Democratic Leader Eddie Melton (D-Gary) hosted a roundtable with the Small Business Administration (SBA) in Gary, IN to discuss efforts to connect Black-owned small businesses with essential capital.

“I want to thank the SBA Regional Administrator Geri Aglipay and her team in the Midwest for their efforts to promote growth for small businesses in our communities. I also want to thank Congressman Frank Mrvan for participating in the roundtable last week. Accessing capital has been an ongoing issue for small businesses in my community, and I reached out to the Biden Administration to discuss how we could best communicate fair lending practices to relevant stakeholders in my community. I was grateful that the SBA was just as eager to connect and discuss a partnership.

“With August being Black Business Month, I thought it was the perfect time to discuss uplifting Black-owned small businesses, especially given the engaged financial institutions we have in Northwest Indiana. Historically, communities of color have encountered discrimination and roadblocks to property and business ownership, such as redlining and lack of access to funding. Promoting financial literacy and removing long-standing economic barriers are important steps we must take to rectify that, and I believe we walked away from the roundtable with actionable next steps for leveling the playing field and building our economy.”

SBA Great Lakes Regional Administrator Geri Aglipay had the following statement:

“SBA is the only cabinet-level agency that provides no-cost assistance and affordable financing for every current and aspiring small business owner in the United States to create jobs, generate income and build community and generational wealth,” said SBA Great Lakes Regional Administrator Geri Aglipay.

“With August as Black Business Month, SBA is working with partners to foster an equitable financial literacy strategy and ecosystem that prioritizes small, traditionally disadvantaged businesses such as Black, Latino, and low-income/middle-income individuals and those historically faced with social and economic systemic barriers. SBA is honored to co-host the Lake County Capital Access Roundtable with Sen. Melton to identify actionable steps and for strengthened collaborations to create systems change that level the playing field and rebuild our economy from the bottom up and the middle out.”