Scott, Coons Introduce Bill to Strengthen Relationships between the SBA and HBCU’s

WASHINGTON – This morning, U.S. Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced the Promoting Robust Opportunities for Minority Institutions and Strengthening Entrepreneurship (PROMISE) Act. This legislation would require the Small Business Administration to produce an annual public report detailing its relationship with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s), strengthening the relationship between the two organizations.

“Investing in our students at HBCU’s is an investment that will reap dividends for everyone,” said Senator Scott. “Having been a small business owner myself, I understand the challenges that many folks face when trying to pursue entrepreneurship. Whether it’s the business community looking to identify the high talented workforce of tomorrow, or companies looking to provide students with technical skills and training, we all have a role to play in ensuring that our students have the resources they need to make the American Dream a possibility for all. I look forward to seeing how this legislation benefits not only our educational institutions, but our workforce in the future.”

“Today, higher education is a key pathway to economic opportunity, and HBCUs play a critical role in expanding access to and the affordability of degrees. I am proud to champion this effort to ensure that the Small Business Administration actively partners with HBCUs to connect all interested students to the entrepreneurship ecosystem,” said Senator Coons.

“UNCF is proud to endorse the Promoting Robust Opportunities for Minority Institutions and Strengthening Entrepreneurship (PROMISE) Act. I strongly believe that all federal agencies should work to strengthen their relationships with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and this bill serves as a good model to how these relationships should operate. It is vital that HBCUs are made aware of the opportunities available to them, able to properly engage federal agencies in creative partnerships, and able to ultimately provide an enriching experience for the students they serve due to these types of partnerships. Equally important is increased transparency amongst federal agencies and this bill hits the mark by requiring the Small Business Administration to make their strategic plan publicly available. All in all, this is a bill that I hope will move through both Chambers of Congress swiftly and land on the President’s desk for signature”, said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, President and CEO, UNCF (United Negro College Fund, Inc.).

“On behalf of the richly diverse community of 156 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs) that are its members, the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), extends its profound appreciation to Senators Tim Scott (SC) and Chris Coons (DE) for introducing the Promoting Robust Opportunities for Minority Institutions and Strengthening Entrepreneurship Act (PROMISE Act). The Promise Act will provide the SBA with new tools to be more strategic about the manner in which it engages with HBCUs and MSIs,” said Attorney Lezli Baskerville, President, NAFEO (National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education).

“The Promise Act takes significant steps to encourage the Small Business Administration (SBA) to better engage with HBCUs,” said Harry L. Williams, President & CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF). “As TMCF has learned first-hand with our engagement with students in our Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E) Division through programs such as The Pitch and Moguls in the Making, HBCUs are a fertile ground filled with brilliant young innovators and entrepreneurs ready and eager to be tapped for their entrepreneurial skills. By better engaging with HBCUs and their students, SBA will not only help our schools and their students but also better serve the communities where these students live and ideally return to open businesses and employ their neighbors.”

To view the full bill text, CLICK HERE:
https://www.scott.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/PROMISE%20Act%20FINAL%20version[1][1].pdf

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