New SBA council to study needs of youth and women entrepreneurs in underserved communities

SBA's new council will study and report on the needs of the rising number of underserved families, youth and women opting to start business in the face of limited job opportunities

WASHINGTON, DC - May 17, 2011 -This week kicks off the Small Business Administration’s  National Small Business Week celebrating the role and importance of small businesses to our nation’s economy.  A weeklong series of events are being planned.

While nationwide, unemployment is getting better,  still many Americans are still looking for work during this economic recovery.  Some have opted to abandon the job search and start a business.  Some of those new businesses will eventually join the 6 million small businesses  that account for 49.6% of U.S. private-sector jobs.  Launching a business is a viable solution that many people, including families with children, have opted to do.  Some groups more than others have been forced to turn to the entrepreneurial route. The African American population, for example, is having a tougher time improving economically during the downturn and many within it has been forced to get creative with their options.

“Challenging economic times can serve as a motivational boost to individuals who have been laid-off to become their own employers and future job creators, “said Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation.

A fairly recent survey by Kauffman’s organization showed that despite the recession, United States Entrepreneurial activity rose in 2009 to the highest rate in 14 years.  African American and older Americans experienced the greatest increase in business creation from 2008 to 2009.

Findings like these apply to women as well, many of whom have found they have to bring in income after their spouse loses his job.  So many others are returning to college so they can get credentials, according to White House reports writes Business Insider.  They are thinking outside the box and not necessarily waiting for a job to come to them.

Women Enterpreneurs Talk Over Ideas

It’s within that spirit of nurturing entrepreneurship that the US Small Business Administration formed the Council on Underserved Communities (CUC).   According to a release announcing the committee members which can be found on the SBA website, the CUC will provide input, advice and recommendations on strategies to help strengthen competitiveness and sustainability for small businesses in underserved communities.

 “One of SBA’s core missions is to support small businesses in traditionally underserved communities, including minorities, women, veterans, people with disabilities and in rural areas,” Johns said. “The Council on Underserved Communities will provide valuable insight and advice into how we can ensure that small businesses in these communities throughout the country have access to the tools they need to grow, create jobs and win the future.”

Catherine Hughes, founder and chairperson of Radio One and TV One, will chair the currently 15-person group that will eventually be comprised of 20 members from a diverse range of backgrounds and geographic areas. 

During a meeting with reporters last Monday, Hughes shared her experience as an SBA lender when she first started her now-multi-million dollar media company. She told a group of reporters at the White House Monday that it was not a hard sell at all to get her to chair the committee, stating she wanted to support efforts to get those wanting to start business information they need to run them.

Citing a study that her company did recently, Hugest noted that “The Hip Hop generation believes in education, but not to get a job; they want a good education in order to work for themselves and start their own businesses.

“I am really happy about the listening sessions that we are going to have in 10 regions because it will give everyone an opportunity to come forth and there will be a member of the council present at each of these town hall meeting and they will bring back what learned to the committees first meeting in July,” Hughes said. “We will study these opinions, concerns and desires, take a look at the present practices and policies available and match with the communities with serve and make [the SBA} a more effective agency.”

Read more Politics of Raising Children in The Communities at the Washington Times. Follow Jeneba Ghatt at @JenebaSpeaks. Her work can also be read at JenebaSpeaks  and Politic365.  She also co-hosts a Blog Talk Radio show called Right of Black which tackles current events and politics from a perspective not often seen in the mainstream media.

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Jeneba Ghatt
Jeneba Jalloh Ghatt is a former journalist turned lawyer turned citizen journalist. Currently, she manages her boutique communications law firm, where she has represented small businesses and nationally-recognized civil and consumer rights organizations before the United States Supreme Court, federal courts and the FCC. She also covers the White House and US Congress for the online news site while authoring her own influential blog which is frequently accessed by top policy makers and think tanks, and the investment community. focuses on the intersection of politics and technology and reports on policies and rules in the communications and tech sector.
Before opening her law firm, The Ghatt Law Group, which was the first communications firm owned by women and minorities, Jeneba regulated Comcast and Starpower as the Assistant General Counsel for the District of Columbia's Office of Cable Television and Telecommunications, and at one point was the only communications regulatory attorney in the entire city. She is founding member and policy chair for a new trade association, the National Association of Multicultural Digital Entrepreneurs and provides advice and counsel to new businesses in the tech industry, particularly small businesses owned by women and minorities.

Born in Sierra Leone, West Africa, but raised in the United States by her Catholic mom and Muslim dad, she started her college career creating web content for one of the earliest websites in history while working part time for the University of Maryland's Office of Technology. Following her graduation from the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, she founded and co-wrote one of the earliest blogs and since then has gone on to found and author six different widely read and influential blogs. She was one of only 22 writers and bloggers to attend the first White House summit for African American media.
She holds a Certificate in Communications Law Studies from Catholic; a Juris Doctor from there as well, and a Master of Law in advocacy degree from the Georgetown University Law Center where she first taught and lectured as a Staff Attorney and Graduate fellow at that law school's Institute for Public Representation. She later went on to teach Media Law at the University of Maryland at College Park and guest lecture at Yale Law School and Penn State University, College of Telecommunications. She is well skilled and versed with social media and manages several Twitter, Facebook, Linked In accounts and groups.
She sits on the board of several non profits and trade associations.

Contact Jeneba Ghatt


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