U.S. Sen. Cory Booker and Cong. Andy Kim host Black Business Roundtable discussion. Credit: Cong. Andy Kim/Facebook photo

In recognition of Black Business Month, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Representative Andy Kim (D-NJ-03) hosted a roundtable discussion with Black business owners to discuss the federal response to COVID-19, challenges for Black-owned businesses in accessing capital, and navigating the current U.S. economy.

Booker was a strong supporter of the Minority Business Development Act of 2021, legislation that ensured the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) was permanently authorized and allowed for the agency’s expansion by creating regional offices. Booker was also a vocal advocate for opening the first MBDA regional office in New Jersey. As a result of these efforts, The Enterprise Center, which has a longstanding history of supporting Black-owned businesses, was selected to operate New Jersey’s first MBDA located in Camden, NJ.

“At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly half of Black-owned small businesses were forced to shut down—some permanently,” said Sen. Booker. “Yet, even before the public health emergency, deep-seated inequities, including barriers to capital and business development, prevented Black entrepreneurs from starting or expanding their business. That’s why I’ve fought in the Senate as a member of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship to expand access to capital and critical resources to Black business owners. Today’s discussion highlighted the ongoing challenges these entrepreneurs face and underscored the importance of our continued advocacy for them.”

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and our community. Today with Senator Booker, we got to hear from black businesses owners in Willingboro about their aspirations and how we can best support them,” said Congressman Andy Kim. “From ATAP to Glam Bar, to Seafood Heaven, these businesses and their owners make our community a better place. I look forward to continuing these conversations alongside my friend Senator Booker to make sure we’re looking out for our small businesses, cutting government red tape, and getting them the support they need to keep Willingboro and surrounding communities’ economies strong.”

The event was part of Booker’s 2022 Jersey Summer Road Trip, a series of stops highlighting the priorities he continues to fight for in the U.S. Senate on behalf of the state’s residents. The road trip will focus on Booker’s ongoing commitment to serving New Jersey’s veterans, his efforts to secure congressionally directed spending for critical New Jersey projects and organizations, and his support of local businesses and industries, and much more.

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