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REVISED: READOUT: SBA Administrator Guzman Convenes Roundtable with Black Leaders to Commemorate Anniversary of the Freedman’s Bank Founding and Discuss Black Entrepreneurship

Washington D.C., March 01, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Yesterday, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice for America's 33 million small businesses in President Biden's Cabinet led a roundtable discussion alongside Deputy Secretary of the Treasury (Treasury) Wally Adeyemo, and White House Senior Advisor for Public Engagement Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms with prominent Black community leaders focused on ways to support advancing Black entrepreneurship in the United States.

“Yesterday's convening brought top economic leaders from the Biden-Harris Administration together with some of America’s most important Black voices and civil society organizations to listen, strategize and advance solutions to close racial inequities that have limited our economy for centuries,” said Administrator Guzman. “This Administration is working tirelessly to deliver a long-promised economic transformation for Black Americans that dates back at least 150 years to the founding of Freedman’s Savings Bank by Congress. We must aspire to the ideals of that historic act and ensure pathways to prosperity through business ownership and capital access are open to all.”

During the event, the historic investments made by the Biden-Harris Administration to bolster all small businesses, but especially those from historically underserved communities, were highlighted including transformational legislation such as the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Since President Biden took office, over 10.5 million people have applied to start a business - the most in any two-year period in recorded history.

“Freedman’s Bank was founded with the idea that our nation can, and will, live up to its promise of equality – which includes an economy that works for all Americans,” said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo. “From day one of the Biden-Harris Administration, our economic plan has centered this same vision of equity and ensured that we invest in the people and places that have too often been left behind. I was glad to be a part of yesterday’s discussion and thank SBA Administrator Guzman for her partnership in our work to expand access to capital for underserved communities.”

As part of the SBA’s celebration of Black History Month, the roundtable also recognized the anniversary of the founding of the Freedman’s Bank by President Abraham Lincoln on March 3, 1865, commissioned to help the formerly enslaved participate in the free enterprise system.  Throughout the discussion, participants also underscored the need for continued partnership between the federal government, private organizations, and community leadership to improve economic outcomes for the Black community, including increasing generational wealth and expanding the pathways for success for Black entrepreneurs. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, the SBA and Treasury have made strides to level the playing field for all entrepreneurs, including strengthening relationships with community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and other financial institutions and reforming products and services to better meet the needs of small business owners from underserved communities.

Administrator Guzman also noted that while significant progress has been made to bring down inflation, economic challenges persist for many Americans, with the impacts being exacerbated for the most disadvantaged communities. SBA and Treasury officials reinforced the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to addressing these economic challenges through the implementation of President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the CHIPS and Science Act.

Additional roundtable participants included:

  • Kendall Corley, Deputy Chief of Staff, U.S. Small Business Administration
  • John Hope Bryant, Chairman, Founder and CEO, Operation HOPE
  • Donna Jones Anderson, President, National Executive Board of Directors (NEBD) of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC)
  • Lenwood V. Long, Sr., President & CEO, African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs
  • Ron Busby, President & CEO, U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce
  • Stephanie E. DeVane, Vice President, Entrepreneurship & Business Development, National Urban League


About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit

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