WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chair of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, today issued a statement following the Biden-Harris Administration’s announcement of grants to non-profit and community-based organizations. The awards from the $125 million American Rescue Plan-funded Capital Readiness Program will help underserved entrepreneurs launch and scale their small businesses.

The Capital Readiness Program is administered by the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), which was made permanent and expanded thanks to Chair Cardin’s legislation and the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The Capital Readiness Program is also the largest initiative in the over 50-year history of the MBDA. In Maryland, the awards will go to the Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council in Silver Spring, the Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center in Easton, and the Asian/Pacific Islander Chamber of Commerce servicing the entire state.

“The federal government plays a critical role in not only helping underserved small businesses keep their doors open, but also thrive. That’s why, I made it priority to make MBDA permanent. It has helped level the playing field by giving a fair shot to underserved small business owners. MBDA continues to lead the way, and I applaud the Biden-Harris Administration for their investments in underserved small businesses,” said Chair Cardin. “In my home state of Maryland, awardees will provide entrepreneurs with critical resources for them to thrive. This funding will help continue the momentum of the small business boom under the Biden-Harris Administration.”

The MBDA was originally established by Executive Order as the Office of Minority Business Enterprises by President Richard Nixon on March 5, 1969. For nearly 50 years, Congress has appropriated funding for the MBDA on a bipartisan basis although the agency was never written in statute. The MBDA is the only federal agency solely dedicated to supporting the development and expansion of minority business enterprises (MBEs).