WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, held a hearing today to address the lack of access to credit and venture capital for underserved communities. Businesses in economically depressed inner-city and rural areas, along with minority and women-owned enterprises are also not receiving vital technical assistance to help their firms thrive. The hearing provided further evidence of the need for important provisions within the Small Business Administration Reauthorization and Improvement Act of 2008 (S. 2920).

“The disparities facing small business owners are shocking and disappointing,” Kerry said. “Women, minorities and business owners in poor areas aren’t getting the loans, venture capital, or counseling they deserve to succeed.”

Venture capital is a driving force for our overall economy. It aides in job creation and can help small businesses thrive, but many underserved communities have trouble accessing it. Increasing access to credit and networking opportunities is also important for underserved groups.

The small business reauthorization act, which is currently before the full-Senate, encourages investments in small businesses owned by underserved members of the community, expands the Small Business Investment Companies program and New Markets Venture Capital program to capture those who need help the most and creates a program in colleges and universities to encourage students to become entrepreneurs - giving them the tools to do so successfully.

“In our country, the American Dream belongs to everyone,” Kerry said. “Talented, driven individuals are facing unnecessary challenges, making it harder for them to improve their financial well-being and robbing our economy of much-needed growth.”

Click here to see witness testimony, video and Sen. Kerry’s statement from today’s hearing.