Initiative Boosts Los Angeles and Baltimore Small Businesses


The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Milken Institute are partnering to help increase minority lending in Baltimore and Los Angeles. The Partnership for Lending in Underserved Markets (PLUM) Initiative is a pioneering project that will “develop and test initiatives designed to more effectively provide capital to minority-owned businesses throughout the United States.”

“Increasing access to capital in underserved communities continues to be one of my highest priorities,” stated SBA Administrator, Maria Contreras-Sweet. “Solving this longstanding and persistent challenge would open the door for new ideas, new visionary voices, and revolutionary business innovations from historically unexpected places. This new partnership with the Milken Institute brings together some of the brightest minds in this field with the local and national leaders and resources needed to create opportunity and transform the small business marketplace for the better.”

Small businesses, particularly those within underserved markets, face the pervasive problem of having limited access to capital. The SBA reports that conventional small business credit is only at 85 percent of its pre-recession level and that these financial roadblocks especially affect areas with a greater number of minority-owned businesses.

The PLUM Initiative will unite leaders and policy experts from the SBA and Milken Institute to advance policies, recommendations and actionable findings to raise lending and access to capital in minority and other underserved communities.

The SBA articulates the Initiative’s goal as increasing “the capacity of lenders to better serve historically underdeveloped sectors of the small business community.” Los Angeles and Baltimore were selected because their economies significantly affect surrounding communities and can help stimulate larger regional economies.

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