O'Rourke unveils plan to support women, minority-owned businesses

O'Rourke unveils plan to support women, minority-owned businesses
© Getty Images

White House hopeful Beto O’Rourke unveiled a plan he said would create 200,000 new businesses run by women and people of color within eight years.

“As someone who started and owned a small business, Beto recognizes the challenges facing small businesses across the country every day -- and that these challenges are only amplified for women business owners and people of color,” the former Texas congressman’s campaign said in a press release.


“Drawing on the conversations he’s had with entrepreneurs across the country and from his own experiences, Beto’s plan would inject capital and demand into America’s small businesses, root out institutional racism and sexism and increase federal investment in minority and women owned businesses.” 

The plan, which was announced at the Black Economic Alliance Presidential Forum in South Carolina, has three main points. 

First, the plan would direct the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to confront discrimination against women entrepreneurs and communities of color by creating a public credit reporting agency to make access to credit fairer and more equitable and triple investment in the Minority Business Development Agency to provide more resources and mentorship to minority small business owners.

It would also simplify the tax code to make it easier for small businesses overall to start and grow. 

Second, the plan would double the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund and create a $10 billion small business credit initiative to help drive growth in companies in economically distressed areas across the country.

Lastly, the plan would direct $100 billion in government contracts away from large corporations and toward small businesses, with over half designated for minority and women owned businesses. It would also triple funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a public-private partnership that seeks to help small- and medium-sized businesses expand their reaches.

“We have an economy that works too well for too few and not at all for too many, and it is only further broken as this country continues to block capital for entrepreneurs that have been effectively shut out of the business community,” O’Rourke said. 

“We must leverage the full force of our government to confront this inequity, invest in resources to root out racism and sexism in our lending markets, and ensure entrepreneurs have the opportunity to do what they do best: grow their businesses, create jobs, and further contribute to our communities.”

The plan’s unveiling comes one day after Sen Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWill Pence primary Trump — and win? Kavanaugh conspiracy? Demands to reopen investigation ignore both facts and the law Biden signals tough stance on tech with antitrust picks MORE (D-Mass.), another presidential contender, announced her own $7 billion proposal to help boost minority-owned businesses. Warren said her plan would support 100,000 new minority-owned businesses and create about 1.1 million jobs.

O’Rourke, who has stagnated near the middle of the primary pack in polls and was criticized early in his campaign for supposedly being light on specifics, has released numerous detailed policies to break out of the crowd.