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U.S. Senators Warner and Kaine Announced $350,000 in Federal Funding for George Mason University’s Research on ‘The Racial Gap in Entrepreneurship and Business Ownership’ 

U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced $350,000 in federal funding for George Mason University to conduct research on “The Racial Gap in Entrepreneurship and Business Ownership.” The funding was awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The bipartisan Chips & Science Act, which Warner and Kaine helped pass and was recently signed into law by President Biden, will provide over $81 billion for NSF over the next five years.

Here’s a quote from Warner and Kaine, if helpful for your reporting: “Virginia is home to so many great research institutions. We’re glad George Mason University is receiving federal funding to conduct research on racial differences in the rate businesses open and close as well as financial constraints that many minority business owners face. This project will be critical to better understanding how we can support minority-owned businesses and address the racial wealth gap.”

Warner and Kaine have long supported efforts to strengthen small business support and ensure Black-owned and minority-owned businesses have equal access to federal resources. After hearing that minority-owned businesses had disparate access to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) early in the pandemic, Warner and Kaine pushed for a set-aside for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), which are most likely to serve minority-owned businesses. The American Rescue Plan included funding for a Community Navigator Program, which will help better connect underserved small businesses to available federal resources.

Warner has continued to be a leader in Congress for CDFIs and MDIs. In July 2020, he teamed up with then-Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), and a bipartisan group of colleagues to introduce the Jobs and Neighborhood Investment Act. Warner has also introduced multiple pieces of legislation to support lenders that focus on underserved communities. Most recently, Warner launched the bipartisan Senate Community Development Finance Caucus to serve as a platform where policymakers can coordinate and expand on public and private-sector efforts in support of the missions of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs).

Kaine successfully pushed for permanent authorization of the Minority Business Development Administration in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, including a provision based on his Reaching America’s Rural Minority Business Act, which will establish business centers to support minority-owned businesses in rural areas. Earlier this year, Kaine met with Black-owned business owners in Northern Virginia to discuss challenges minority business owners face and steps to support more minority-owned small businesses.