Reaching out to underserved communities is a key mission of the Small Business Administration and the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. SBA has programs that can transform neighborhoods and change lives; but, too often the people who could take advantage of these programs aren’t aware of them. I have been reaching out to faith-based and community organizations to support them in informing their congregants, members and neighbors about how they can use SBA programs to help start businesses and create jobs. In addition, I have been working to identify Microloan Intermediary prospects in these communities that could provide local lending options to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business and who might otherwise not be able to access capital.
As part of this outreach initiative, I traveled to Little Rock in October to meet with Dr. Fitz Hill at Arkansas Baptist College. I came away from that first visit impressed and inspired by the extraordinary work being done by Dr. Hill and his team. They were transforming their college and their neighborhood; and, they were doing it in large measure through a commitment to entrepreneurship.
After that first visit I had the sense that what I had witnessed was just the beginning and that under Dr. Hill’s leadership, the sky truly was the limit. And in the months that followed, this was confirmed.
I returned to Arkansas Baptist College on Monday evening to attend a reception celebrating the launch of the Scott Ford Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Development. I congratulated Mr. Ford and thanked Arkansas Baptist College for its decision to begin making loans to small businesses. Arkansas Baptist College is launching this program in order to acquire the loan making experience needed to apply to become an SBA Microloan Intermediary.
Quoting Dr. Hill "Micro-lending will be a core program we offer through the Scott Ford Center.” Arkansas Baptist College’s goal is to support entrepreneurs who are dedicated to building solid businesses in underserved communities. Dr Hill and his team took on some major challenges and through their vision, hard work and yes - commitment to entrepreneurship - everyday, they’re transforming their neighborhood and changing lives in Little Rock.
I am delighted that the SBA and its Microloan program have been embraced by the folks atArkansas Baptist College as they support their community's entrepreneurs.
Learn more about the SBA Miroloan Program.
Send us your comments and questions to partnerships (at) sba.gov.
Jerry Flavin serves as Director to the SBA Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.