March 7, 2023
SBA Hot Topic Tuesday – Legislation was Introduced to Support Justice Impacted Individuals Entrepreneurship
“Entrepreneurship can be a critical lifeline for justice impacted individuals, and it can provide inherent benefits for their families and their communities. These entrepreneurs are less likely to recidivate and more likely to employ other justice impacted individuals, creating a positive multiplier effect,” says Chair Cardin. “The NEW START Act will help organizations that are on the ground administering entrepreneurial development programs and training to this community. The time has come to identify additional areas where we can come to a bipartisan consensus on how to produce meaningful change for the more than 70 million Americans with a criminal history.”
The Chair of the Senate Small Business Committee, Senator Ben Cardin, reintroduced the NEW START Act. This legislation would create a reentry program within the SBA, awarding grants for business counseling and entrepreneurial development training to justice impacted individuals.
The bill would establish a five-year pilot program that provides award grants of $100,000 to $500,000 to organizations annually over the five-year period. Participating organizations would execute the entrepreneurial development training for formerly incarcerated individuals. Organizations that seek grants would partner with lenders in the SBA Microloan program and Community Advantage program so qualifying program participants could obtain a loan and build their business.
“Second chances are part of the American dream. Providing returning citizens the tools to turn their lives around through entrepreneurship is both a win for our national economy and our local economies. As the Progressive Policy Institute’s Metro Federalism Caucus report outlines, entrepreneurship is key in breaking the cycle of recidivism for returning citizens, and — with supports from federal and local policymakers — can be a method in overcoming major barriers to economic security. PPI applauds Chairman Cardin for leading this important legislation and thanks the Senator for his tireless work in supporting small business owners in Maryland and across the country,” says Will Marshall, President of the Progressive Policy Institute.