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SEC Opening Remarks: Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee Meeting

Read the August 4, 2020 SEC "Opening Remarks: Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee Meeting" from Chairman Jay Clayton here:

Thank you, Carla (Garrett). And thank you to the Committee members for joining us virtually today. In particular, I’d like to welcome new members Kesha Cash and Sue Washer and thank each of you for bringing your unique perspectives, energy and expertise to this Committee.

Thank you as well to our panelists — an impressive group, individually and collectively — for contributing your valuable time and insights on the important issue you will be tackling today.

I am grateful to the Committee for focusing today on how our capital markets are serving underrepresented founders, including minorities and women. The current pandemic has underscored the need for prompt and efficient access to capital for small businesses when remote and unforeseen risks become unfortunate realities. In no area of our multifaceted, interconnected economy is this more clear than in the case of underrepresented founders. The economic impacts of COVID-19 have underscored the obstacles that many underrepresented entrepreneurs have historically faced in raising capital.

I will share just a few statistics. Minority-owned small businesses employ over 8 million Americans.[1] Yet, these businesses face challenges accessing bank loans[2] and are more likely to seek non-traditional financing.[3] Of course, in times of stress, these sources become more scarce and more expensive. Little more analysis is needed to conclude broadly two things about COVID-19: (1) there is a disproportionate effect on small businesses, and minority- and women-owned small businesses in particular; and (2) those effects — due to the consumer-driven and interconnected nature of our economy — adversely affect the economy at large. In other words, this is an issue not just for small businesses, or for minority- and women-owned small businesses, but for all participants in our economy. I thank all of you in advance for bringing attention to this issue and offering tangible suggestions for action to the Commission.

In closing, I want to credit Martha (Miller) and her colleagues in the Office of the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation on the work they have done since standing up the Office to identify and address challenges to capital raising for minority- and women-owned small businesses and other underrepresented founders. Recent events also have brought the always important topic of racism, bias and racial injustice to the forefront of our national discourse. In this environment, I believe the Commission’s focus on promoting diversity and inclusion, particularly through access to capital, access to opportunity and access to financial literacy and education, is of paramount importance.[4]

Thank you.


[1] See U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy. Small Business Facts: Spotlight on Minority-Owned Employer Businesses (May 2019), available at https://cdn.advocacy.sba.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/31131339/Small-Business-Facts-Spotlight-on-Minority-Owned-Employer-Businesses.pdf.

[2] See U.S. Minority Business Development Agency, The Minority Business Development Agency: Vital to Making America Great (Dec. 20, 2018), available at https://www.mbda.gov/page/minority-business-development-agency-vital-making-america-great.

[3] See Federal Reserve Banks, Small Business Credit Survey: Report On Minority-Owned Firms (Dec. 13, 2019), available at: https://www.fedsmallbusiness.org/medialibrary/fedsmallbusiness/files/2019/20191211-ced-minority-owned-firms-report.pdf

[4] See Press Release 2020-151, SEC Issues Agenda for July 16 Special Meeting of the Asset Management Advisory Committee (Jul. 8, 2020), available at https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2020-151.


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