Chair Mary L. Landrieu, D-La.WASHINGTON – On Thursday, United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Mary Landrieu, D-La., led a Committee roundtable examining minority entrepreneurship programs and opportunities for expansion. The largest source of contracting opportunities in the world, the federal government is obligated to spend 23 percent of its contracting budget solely on small businesses. The roundtable was focused on ensuring that minority-owned businesses are included in the process and receive their fair share of contracting dollars.

The roundtable, “Minority Entrepreneurship: Evaluating Small Business Resources and Programs,” focused on the difficulties minority-owned businesses have in obtaining contracting dollars, and also highlighted programs available specifically to them.

“One of our nation’s greatest assets is our diversity. We are literally the only nation that looks and speaks like every other nation on earth,” Senator Landrieu said. “That is a strength that allows us to be the most competitive nation in the growing global marketplace. The number of businesses in our minority communities continues to grow, adding to our competitive advantage. Minority business enterprises accounted for more than 50 percent of the two million new businesses over the last 10 years.”

“Minority-owned small business participation in the Federal contracting arena is essential to the health of our economy,” said Ranking Member Snowe. “Participants at today’s roundtable provided our Committee with insight on what works and what should be improved for minority-owned and other socially disadvantaged small businesses. I remain optimistic that we can continue our longstanding tradition of working in a bipartisan fashion to pass comprehensive contracting legislation that addresses the critical issues highlighted today.”