Solano SBDCFairfield, CA

Norcal SBDC launches Inclusivity Project

The SBDC is connecting 1000 black entrepreneurs and black-owned small businesses in underserved and socially disadvantaged communities with business mentorship and $100 million dollars in capital to start their very first business or take their existing business to the next level

Looking to take a bite out of COVID-19 losses and rebuild a suffering segment of the economy, The Inclusivity Project launched in February with the goal of securing $100 million for 1,000 Black-owned businesses. 

It’s been estimated that half of the nation’s Black entrepreneurs have been forced out of business by COVID-related circumstances, but Chris Horton isn’t taking that lying down. A finance expert for the nonprofit organization Northern California Small Business Development Centers (Norcal SBDC), Horton is leading a new initiative to reach and help Black small business owners level the playing field when it comes to working capital.

The Inclusivity Project is an initiative of the Norcal SBDC network, in affiliation with the Norcal Financial Development Corporation (Norcal FDC) and has the support of dozens of partner organizations that care about increasing the success of Black business owners.  

The Norcal SBDC – which is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the State of California – wants The Inclusivity Project to shine a light on the needs of Black entrepreneurs and provide a safety net that can help them preserve their existing business or start a new enterprise in Northern California.

Expert business advising and training opportunities are among the many resources available at no-cost to small businesses through the SBDC program. Throughout 2020, the organization has been hyper-focused on building a cache of COVID resources and being the go-to for loans and grants designed to survive the crisis.

“One hundred million dollars is a lofty goal, but the SBDC is committed to economic diversity as it breeds economic vitality, and I think we are up for the task,” Horton said. “It’s my hope that this opportunity will bring needed attention to Black and minority-owned businesses and demonstrate that the SBDC ecosystem serves all people and bridges pathways for minority-owned businesses to financial platforms to stand on.”

For more information or to apply for services, go to TheInclusivityProject.com and sign up. For more information on the Norcal Small Business Development Center Program, go to norcalsbdc.org.

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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or HSU Sponsored Programs Foundation.