Vice president praises community banks at small-business event

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Vice President Kamala Harris visits Panadería Artesanal, a Latina-owned bakery in Raleigh, N.C., as she touted small businesses on Monday. Photo by Cornell Watson/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 30 (UPI) — Vice President Kamala Harris heralded the work the Biden-Harris administration has done to support small businesses and boost the economy during an appearance in Raleigh, N.C., on Monday.

Harris urged that now is the time to start a small business because of Small Business Administration programs and the White House’s investment in community banks.

The vice president said the Biden-Harris administration has put $12 billion in government funding into community banks, which she said “do some things better” than larger banks.

The event was held at Fletcher Auditorium at Duke Energy Center.

“The work that we’ve been doing the last couple years is to maximize the capacity of that additional funding to increase access to capital,” Harris said.

Harris said many of the small business owners she has met across the country have been told they are “unbankable” by a nationwide bank at some point. It was not until they went to a community bank that they were guided to loan options and educated on what is available to them, she said.

She continued, saying community banks are more attuned to the wants and needs of the communities they serve.

More small businesses have been started in the United States in the last two years than during any two-year period in U.S. history, Harris said.

About half of all employees are employed with a small business, Forbes reports. Eight-percent of small-business owners also are the only employees in their businesses.

About 75% of U.S. manufacturing is done by small businesses with 20 employees or less.

The heavy influx of infrastructure work that will be done with funding from Biden’s infrastructure blueprint, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will result in a wealth of opportunities for small businesses, Harris said, including electricians, engineers, and construction workers.

Harris said the administration will increase federal contracts by 50% for minority-owned businesses in the next four years and will remain focused on who is receiving federal contracts, which are lucrative opportunities for contractors and subcontractors.

“That’s a lot of dough that goes into those contracts,” she said.

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