On June 14, SBA’s Isabella Casillas Guzman has crafted and signed the Strategic Alliance Memorandum – an agreement stipulating the goal of developing a working relationship between the SBA and a partnering organization – with the National Pan-Hellenic Council (the governing organization of Black Greek-lettered fraternities and sororities), more commonly known as the Divine Nine.
The plan is to focus on– improving financial literacy, outreach and capital access opportunities – teaching entrepreneurship.
Guzman said about the new collaboration, “This historic alliance between the SBA and the NPHC — the first of its kind for a government agency — will bring SBA’s valuable small business resources into reach for many small businesses and entrepreneurs, furthering the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to build equity and close historic wealth gaps that have held back America’s Black entrepreneurs, small business owners and their families and communities for generations,”
She continued to explain, “Over the past 18 months, the SBA has made incredible progress reaching more of America’s small businesses, delivering vital resources and support to entrepreneurs who have been historically underinvested in and overlooked — the same people and communities hit hardest by the COVID pandemic.
Working alongside partners and allies within the Divine Nine will provide even greater reach for the SBA to better provide the highly entrepreneurial Black community access to networks, financial literacy, technical training, and capital readiness so they can successfully realize their American Dreams of business ownership, create jobs, and advance our economy.”
The announcement was released just shy of Juneteenth – the June 19 federal holiday commemorating the Emancipation Proclamation to free enslaved African Americans in secessionist states during the late 1800s.
While the SBA has always been working towards uplifting small businesses, its new partnership with the Divine Nine offers another avenue to reach more people.
The National Pan Hellenic Council has a massive presence on most college campuses, many of which exist within urban cities.
Reuben A. Shelton III, Rsq., the chairman of the Divine Nine, stated, “The National Pan Hellenic Council and its affiliate organizations are very excited about this opportunity with the U.S. Small Business Administration. This collaboration will give NPHC members critical access to information that will promote small business growth and create jobs in all sectors of our economy.”