Support Black-owned small businesses

February 7, 2023

Black History Month celebrates Black accomplishment in every arena. When President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, he reflected upon it as a time to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor.

And so, this Black History Month, Small Business Adminstration Delaware joins with the Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce and the SBA-funded Delaware Small Business Development Center’s Community Navigator Program to celebrate Black-owned small business success here in the First State with three panel-discussion-centered Black History Month events – one to be held in each of Delaware’s three counties. Each event will bring into sharp focus Black-owned small businesses’ resilience, fortitude and future-facing resolve, as well as the small business-building resources that can help secure success. Registration for these free-of-charge events is open to the public. Delaware small businesses, community stakeholders and all other small business supporters are invited to join to hear from the panels and participate in networking. 

Sussex County’s event will be 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., Friday, Feb. 17, at First State Community Action Agency, 308 N. Railroad Ave., Georgetown. To register, go to

Kent County’s event will be 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 28, at Delaware State University, 1200 N. Dupont Hwy., Dover. To register, go to

New Castle County’s event will be 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 22, at Canaan Baptist Church, 3011 New Castle Ave., New Castle. To register, go to

Delaware SBDC Community Navigator is just one SBA-backed resource that Black-owned small businesses in Delaware can look to for support. The SBA stands ready to help with:

• Local support: SBA-backed local resource partner organizations – Delaware SCORE, the Delaware Small Business Development Center, the Women’s Business Center at TrueAccess Capital and the Veterans Business Outreach Center – provide small business workshops and training opportunities, ongoing mentorship, answers to one-time business questions and more. Delaware SBDC works with community-tied organizations to connect business-building resources with Delaware’s underserved entrepreneurs, especially people of color, individuals with disabilities and business owners in rural and low-income communities

• Access to capital: Small business success so often starts with funding. That’s why so many small businesses use SBA-backed loans for start-up, working capital and growth-stage financing. SBA also offers grant programs for businesses in specialized fields

Contracting opportunities: Now is a tremendous time for small businesses to consider selling to the federal government as part of their growth strategy. President Biden issued a Day One Executive Order on advancing racial equity and support for underserved communities, instructing agencies to ensure that federal contracting and procurement opportunities be made more readily available to all eligible vendors and to remove barriers faced by underserved individuals and communities. And, significantly, President Biden announced a goal of increasing the share of contracts awarded to small, disadvantaged business by 50% by fiscal year 2025. SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program, for example, is geared toward small, disadvantaged businesses – a group for which the federal government aims to set aside 12% of contracting dollars spent stateside annually. Additional contracting assistance programs also help small businesses win federal contracts through mentorship and exclusive contracting opportunities

Learning platform: SBA’s online learning programs allow entrepreneurs to independently access learning tools for every business stage, from plan to launch to growth. And geared especially for female entrepreneurs is SBA’s online Ascent learning platform, providing e-learning resources on a variety of topics.

Today, small business stands at a unique time in history as we look to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. And we know COVID-19 significantly impacted Black-owned businesses. So, this Black History Month, I urge all Delawareans to support Black-owned small businesses at every opportunity, and go to for information about SBA programs and services.

Michelle Harris is the SBA Delaware District director.
  • Cape Gazette commentaries are written by readers whose occupations, education, community positions or demonstrated focus in particular areas offer an opportunity to expand our readership's understanding or awareness of issues of interest.

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