“I recognize that our small and local businesses are the foundation of our growing city and play a crucial part in providing jobs for our residents. We cannot afford to have our government fail our citizens and local businesses.
Connecting small and local businesses, particularly our Certified Business Enterprises (CBEs), to access to capital is one of my top priorities. While today’s article in the Washington Business Journal is deeply troubling, I remain committed to working with the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB) to increase access to capital for our businesses.
As Chair of the Committee on Business and Economic Development, I have focused on identifying inefficiencies and other barriers that prevent loans from reaching those who need them most. During DISB’s budget oversight hearing, I sought accountability by asking the tough questions such as ‘what is the total dollar amount of loans disbursed to District based-small businesses under the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI)? How many District-based small businesses have applied for loan products under the SSBCI? and what is the financial breakdown of each of the three programs under D.C. BizCAP since 2016?’
I have also encouraged DISB to identify ways to engage District-based businesses to participate in its SSBCI. This includes enhancing its approach to reducing barriers and to expanding its outreach efforts to small businesses. Furthermore, I recommended that the agency actively work with local Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to adequately track the number of applicants applying to their various small business loan products and the percentage of businesses actually connected to loans.
We must do more to ensure our local businesses are aware of funds and programs available to help their businesses grow. Inadequate capital has been consistently identified as one of the top barriers to business creation and development. I will continue to provide oversight so that we can improve awareness and provide access to capital for our small and local businesses in the District of Columbia.”