Governor Hochul today announced that New York will participate in the federal Initiative for Inclusive Entrepreneurship, a national effort led by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to expand access to capital for socially and economically disadvantaged individual owned small businesses. Announced in October 2022 by Vice President Kamala Harris, the Initiative for Inclusive Entrepreneurship aims to help small businesses owned by people from historically disadvantaged populations and ensure equitable implementation of the U.S. Treasury’s $10 billion State Small Business Credit Initiative – of which New York received more than $500 million. The initiative, which seeks to help MWBEs secure growth capital and move into larger contracts, complements Governor Hochul’s commitment to supporting MWBEs across New York State.

“New York’s business landscape must reflect the rich diversity of our state,” Governor Hochul said. “My administration is committed to helping break down the systemic barriers that minority- and women-owned businesses face, and with the Biden administration’s partnership, we can ensure that all businesses have the opportunity to thrive in New York State.”

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “The federal SSBCI program is an important tool to ensure that all of New York’s small businesses have the tools they need to succeed. Access to capital and training gives businesses the ability to grow and thrive and we are proud to be one of only eight states chosen to participate in the Initiative for Inclusive Entrepreneurship, and partner with Founders First to expand the reach of SEDI-owned businesses in New York State.”

Founders First Capital Partners, CEO, Chair and Founder Kim Folsom said, “As a co-lead for the Initiative for Inclusive Entrepreneurship, Founders First Capital Partners launched the Supplier Innovative Finance Program in support of the State Small Business Credit Initiative. The mission of this program is to guide small, certified suppliers through an experience that will enhance their capacity, increase their awareness of innovative finance and capital access. This opportunity with Empire State Development supports the growth of the collaborative partner ecosystem which is crucial for small suppliers to efficiently secure growth capital.”

Empire State Development has partnered with Founders First Capital Partners, who will leverage a series of on-demand video modules through their Passport for Funding education program, designed to help SEDI owned companies understand and overcome common obstacles to funding readiness. Additionally, a comprehensive assessment will be conducted of the participating MWBE, and depending on the firm’s needs, they will be matched with a participating CDFI to better access the State’s SSBCI lending programs. These on-demand educational modules will prepare these businesses to grow and raise funding by making them aware of potential pitfalls that prevent the ability to be funded. For more information, visit

Under Governor Hochul’s leadership, New York State leads the nation with a 32.3 percent utilization rate in MWBE utilization on its state contracts.  Nearly $3 billion in State contracts were awarded to MWBE firms during the 2023 Fiscal Year, and nearly $29 billion in State contracts have been awarded to MWBEs since 2011. Additionally, the resources provided by Governor Hochul in the FY2023 State Budget, allowed ESD to eliminate the long-standing certification backlog, which previously could have taken as long as 499 days. To learn more about becoming MWBE certified, visit

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “I fought to include major funding for the State Small Business Credit Initiative in my American Rescue Plan, which delivered $500+ million for New York’s small businesses. Now, federal funding is supporting key programs, like the ‘Initiative for Inclusive Entrepreneurship,’ which ensure that small and disadvantaged businesses across the Empire State can rebuild our local economies, invest in key industries, and bolster our domestic supply chains, all while creating good-paying jobs and lowering costs in communities that need it the most. I thank Governor Hochul for her partnership in building up the state’s small businesses and manufacturing base and promise to continue to deliver federal assistance to New York to drive our economy into the future.”

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said, “This announcement that New York will participate in the federal Initiative for Inclusive Entrepreneurship is incredible news. This is a vital program that will help socially and economically disadvantaged small business owners gain access to critical resources. I am proud to support Governor Hochul’s commitment to advancing equity for small businesses and I will continue to fight to deliver federal resources for New York’s business owners.”

Representative Nydia Velázquez said, “Small businesses make up the backbone of our economy in New York and nationwide. Unfortunately, lending data consistently shows that minority-owned businesses struggle to access the funding they need to thrive. New York’s participation in the Initiative for Inclusive Entrepreneurship will help increase support for socially and economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs in our state and ensure equitable implementation of the historic State Small Business Credit Initiative.”

About New York State’s State Small Business Credit Initiative

More than $500 million in federal funding has been allocated to support the resurgence of small businesses across New York State through the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), a program through the American Rescue Plan Act. Managed by the U.S. Department of Treasury, SSBCI provides funds to support programs for small businesses, including (SEDI) owned businesses and very small businesses (VSB), to recover from the economic effects of COVID-19 and allow them opportunity to succeed in the post-pandemic economy. With this funding, Empire State Development (ESD) has developed a suite of capital access and equity programs to help New York State small businesses grow and succeed. Learn about the following SSBCI programs that Empire State Development has established at

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