Despite an ongoing pandemic, the opportunity for federal funding to support economic growth in states and localities has never been greater. Start Us Up has compiled the current landscape of federal resources and programs to increase awareness for entrepreneurs and policymakers alike in communities across the country.
National League of Cities CIE Program
The first resource is for mayors, city staff, and other elected or appointed officials. The National League of Cities CIE program helps cities commit to and implement programs, policies, and practices that support local entrepreneurs. This program, now in its third year, includes 175 cities and over $100 million in committed resources. This is a yearlong technical assistance program in partnership with NLC staff, program experts, national data partners, and local entrepreneurs.
- Action for Mayors: If you are interested in participating, click here.
- Action for Coalition Members: If you want your mayor to participate, share this link with them and offer your support of their commitment.
State Small Business Credit Initiative
Another opportunity on the immediate horizon is the Treasury Department’s State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). This program provides public dollars to leverage with private equity and debt. Each state must submit a proposed plan by February 11, 2022, to receive the first tranche of the proportional allotment.
The SSBCI program requires private capital leverage ratios, incentivizes investment in socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals (SEDI), and transactional level reporting. In short, the state receives the money, but it will take local networks to distribute the funds effectively.
The first SSBCI program, which was put out under the Obama Administration, provided state-by-state reporting. Many of the agencies and organizations from the first SSBCI program are also running the states’ responses to this version of SSBCI.
- Take Action: Reach out to the agencies and organizations listed under your state to assure your local entrepreneurs are represented in the plan submitted to the Treasury. If your state and respective agencies are not listed, reach out to your mayors or state representative to learn which agency is running the SSBCI application.
- Learn More: For good ideas as to how best deliver the SSBCI funding, read this piece by policy expert Bruce Katz.
Good Jobs Challenge
For those interested in workforce development and job-preparedness, the Economic Development Agency in the Commerce Department is currently running the Good Jobs Challenge. This RFP seeks to “allocate $500 million dollars to collaborative skills training systems and programs.”
- Take Action: Apply by Feb. 10, 2022.
Municipal Action Guide
Finally, the National League of Cities recently published a Municipal Action Guide on developing inclusive entrepreneurship. Many of the recommendations could be funded by the above resources or even undertaken on their own. Regardless, this report is a great starting point for any strategic discussion around recovery and rebuilding local economies.
- Take Action: Review the Action Guide.