Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Engaging Faith-Based and Neighborhood Leaders Around the Mission of SBA

This past Friday, Deputy Administrator for the Small Business Administration (SBA) Marie Johns and the White House held a conference call to talk about how SBA can work with neighborhood leaders, both faith-based and secular. I was surprised and excited by the interest in the call, which was well over capacity.  

Deputy Administration Johns and Joshua DuBois from the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships emphasized a few key points on the call.

  • Particularly in underserved markets, individuals are not aware of the benefit of SBA programs for themselves, their community or their neighbors, from low-interest small business loans to support for entrepreneurs.
  • SBA can work with local leaders to build awareness of SBA programs and resources among congregants, members and neighbors in their community.
  • Beyond awareness, microloans and a specific type of loan called 504 loans have to be made through nonprofit organizations, both faith-based and secular. Microloans are a particularly effective product  as they make capital available to entrepreneurs based more on character and commitment than on collateral and credit scores and provide a “local” financing option.

I'm excited about our next steps from this call. With SBA’s renewed focus on underserved markets, there are a number of opportunities to connect and engage with leaders and communities.  But this is more than just connection; through partnership, we need to be sure that individuals who are seeking to translate their ideas into businesses have the SBA resources and opportunities at hand to support their role in strengthening our economy. 

If you would like more information about the conference call or SBA, email partnerships@sba.gov.

Jerry Flavin is the Director for the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the Small Business Administration

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