Bipartisan Senate Bill Looks to Create 10 HBCU Minority Business Development Centers

Members of the United States Senate’s Democratic and Republican caucuses have proposed a bill to create minority business development centers at historically Black institutions throughout the United States.

The ‘Reaching America’s Rural Minority Businesses Act of 2020” would allow federal funds to create the centers at 10 HBCUs, a significant expansion of the 34 currently authorized Minority Business Development Agencies (MBDA) nationwide managed by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The bill, developed by U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Tim Kaine, D-Va. Tim Scott, R-S.C., Chris Coons, D-Del, and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., would award $10 million to create the centers, which would not have to be based at rural Black colleges but would have to demonstrate support for expanding supply chain and broadband Internet access, manufacturing and export capacity, and entrepreneurial training.

“As a former business owner, I find it crucial that we deploy resources to our young people – especially in minority communities – to ensure that they have access to opportunity,” said Scott. “I am proud to help draft and cosponsor the Reaching America’s Rural Minority Businesses Act, and I look forward to seeing more minority-owned businesses across the nation.”