Washington – Senator John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) today introduced "new-market" legislation that would help jump-start the economies of low- and moderate-income communities throughout the United States. The Community Development and Venture Capital Act of 1999 builds on proposals introduced during President Clinton's recent "opportunity tour"of some of the lowest income areas across the country.

This small business legislation is designed to promote economic development, business investment, productive wealth and stable jobs in "new markets," low- and moderate-income communities where there is little to no sustainable economic activity but many overlooked business opportunities.

"President Clinton's tour highlighted the problems in these communities that are starved for available resources – this bill looks to leverage a variety of public-private partnerships to help them find the resources they need. There is no single answer to poverty in America, but this legislation is a much needed first step to harnessing private sector investment in these communities.

The Kerry bill has three components:

• create a new venture capital program that will fund at least ten venture capital companies dedicated to investing in and providing technical assistance to small businesses in low- and moderate- income communities.

• expand the number of venture capital firms devoted to new markets by authorizing $20 million over four years for a Community Development Venture Capital demonstration program.

• build on the BusinessLINC grant program, linking mentors who are established, successful businesses with entrepreneurs in impoverished communities in order to facilitate the economic vitality and competitive capacity of small businesses located in the targeted areas.