Investing in Illinois Means Growing Resilient Black Small Businesses

From the Desk of Regional Administrator Geri Sanchez Aglipay

National Black Business Month in August recognizes the impact of over 3.2 million Black businesses nationwide that employ over 1.1 million workers. Black owners tend to hire more Black employees, and in fact minority-owned firms tend to hire more minorities.  

Small business ownership addresses unemployment, under-employment, and income insecurity by expanding financial mobility to build generational wealth. Investing in resilient entrepreneurship is a catalyst for inclusive, economically thriving neighborhoods and wellness.

As SBA Great Lakes Regional Administrator, I’ve seen first-hand how intentional and collaborative leadership in the small business ecosystem drives equitable economic growth of three Black Bronzeville historic neighborhoods in the SBA six-state region I oversee. One of those Bronzeville’s is on Chicago’s Southside. Bronzeville was a black cultural and economic dynamo in the mid-twentieth century where Herbie Hancock and Ida B. Wells hailed. 

Like the Biden-Harris Administration’s focus on the majority middle and working classes for sustained economic strength, Bronzeville’s local economy also flourished from an inclusive foundation built from the middle out and bottom up. Bronzeville’s current revitalization invests in Black small businesses for prosperous growth while preserving its history and culture unique to Chicago and Illinois.

In August, we uplift the empowering impact of Black businesses by not only buying Black, but we also share their success stories so others may follow. Under President Biden, we’ve seen two consecutive years of a historic small business start-up boom. Capital is crucial to start, scale and even acquire a business. But despite Black-owned businesses also increasing between 2017 and 2019 over all other businesses, Black owners are denied loans at nearly twice the rate of White business owners.

Equity has been a day one priority for the Biden Harris Administration. Under Administrator Guzman the U.S. Small Business Administration is committed to meet owners where they’re at, especially those faced with historic barriers.  The SBA’s recent progress has reduced red tape toward expanding access to safe and affordable loans for working capital, especially small-dollar funding as little as $500, but also up to $5 million for property purchase. Entrepreneurs’ access to SBA-backed capital is accompanied with free and confidential counseling to manage the funds with help from the SBA staff and all SBA-designated resource partners.

For National Black Business Month, investing in Illinois’ growth means investing in resilient Black small businesses with the SBA. Contact an SBA staffer and access resources at and, respectively.

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Regional Administrator Geri Sanchez Aglipay was named by the White House to oversee the delivery of the SBA’s agency’s programs, field offices, and operations across Region V in the Great Lakes Midwest states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. The first Filipino American woman to be appointed to an SBA regional position by any presidential administration, Aglipay is the principal representative of SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman and provides interface with regional, state and local elected and appointed officials, trade organizations and small business communities across the region.  

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