House Dems Plan HBCU Hearing
House Democrats are planning a hearing in the next few weeks on how much federal entrepreneurship programs at the Small Business Administration help HBCUs. A GAO report released by Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC) on Monday found the agency hadn’t specifically targeted HBCUs in its outreach to foster entrepreneurship, despite executive orders calling for greater collaboration between federal agencies and the schools. “I commissioned this report over a year ago, and I am very disturbed by its findings,” said Adams, Co-Chair of the HBCU Caucus. “HBCUs are critical to providing a pipeline of diverse talent for our workforce, and it is vital HBCUs have access to the resources they need to cultivate successful small business owners and entrepreneurs.” The report showed that only 18 out of 101 HBCUs are in the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) Network, which provides technical assistance to existing small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs. And 16 HBCUs serve as service centers. One example is Howard University, which has hosted the lead SBDC for DC since 1979. It offers workshops and counseling on marketing, business financing, social media, and other topics. Twenty-four HBCUs have strategic alliance memorandums with SBA to facilitate working relationships. But according to SBA officials, the memorandums are largely symbolic in nature because they do not authorize or fund events or activities. Other preliminary findings in the report revealed that the SBA does not have any plans or infrastructure in place to execute the Executive Order on White House Initiative to Promote Excellent and Innovation at HBCUs -- you know, the thing Omarosa was overseeing. “We need to ensure that HBCUs receive the same robust federal resources and outreach as their peer institutions,” Adams said. See the full GAO report here.