WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., and Ranking Member Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, along with Senator Richard Durbin, D-Ill., introduced legislation that would help alleviate the financial burdens causing small business counseling centers to close.

S.3165, the Small Business Community Partner Relief Act of 2010, enables the Small Business Administration (SBA) to temporarily waive the matching non-federal funding requirement Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) and Microloan intermediaries face to receive funding from the SBA. WBCs and Microloan intermediaries would benefit enormously from this change because funding from local governments, universities and private entities is rapidly depleting due to budget cuts and current economic conditions. In the last year, at least nine WBCs have closed or requested reduced funding and many Microloan intermediaries are struggling to keep their doors open at a time when they are seeing record demand for their services.

“Because these centers and intermediaries specialize in helping underserved populations, those hurt the most are now receiving the least help,” Sen. Landrieu said. “By giving the SBA the authority to temporarily waive the matching requirement, struggling centers and Microloan intermediaries will receive the full amount of federal support available. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to make this necessary change a reality for the hundreds of centers and Microloan intermediaries throughout the country, and the millions of small businesses that rely on these programs to help them survive, grow and create jobs.”

“Women’s Business Centers and Microloan intermediaries play a critical role in counseling America’s entrepreneurs and ensuring they have the resources necessary to expand operations and create jobs,” said Senator Snowe. “Our legislation will provide these centers with critical relief so that they can focus their efforts on supporting our nation’s small business owners at a time when non-federal funding is so difficult to obtain. I urge my colleagues to pass this legislation without delay to provide our nation’s small firms with some certainty as they seek to lead a sustained economic recovery.”

To read Senator Landrieu’s statement, please click here.