Press release 21-100

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: SBA Administrator Guzman Announces Community Navigator Pilot Program Awardees to Serve as Hubs for Critical Outreach to U.S. Small Businesses

WASHINGTON – On Thursday, October 28, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)  Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced grantees for the Community Navigator Pilot Program, an American Rescue Plan initiative designed to reduce the barriers many small businesses often face in accessing critical support, including those owned by disadvantaged groups such as veterans, women, rural communities and communities of color. The Community Navigator Pilot Program will provide $100 million in funding to 51 organizations ("hubs") that will work with over 400 local community groups ("spokes") to connect America's entrepreneurs to federal, state, and local resources so they can recover and thrive.

Read the press release announcing the 51 Community Navigator Pilot Program grantees selected nationwide here.

View the virtual announcement event with grantees here.

See below for What They Are Saying around the country:


Chrystel Cornelius, President and CEO, Oweesta Corporation: "Oweesta is incredibly grateful to be chosen as a Tier 1 awardee and have the ability to support Native small businesses across the United States. The SBA Navigator grant will be pivotal in strengthening the economic landscape of Native communities and bolstering private sectors economics in some of the must rural locations in the U.S. We are so honored and thrilled to have the opportunity to provide support to our Native communities and entrepreneurs as a recipient of these Tier 1 funds through the Small Business Administration."

Susan Au Allen, National President and CEO, US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Foundation: "To be named as a Tier 1 grantee of this program is an incredible honor - it will help our ongoing work with the SBA and our community partners to deliver targeted small business outreach and assistance to underserved and unserved communities across the country. This program aligns perfectly well with our mission of growing successful Asian American businesses with their partners in the diverse and minority small business community, in all sectors of the economy - whether it's a corporation, government at the federal, state, and local levels, and our partners and collaborators in Hispanic, black, women, disability, veteran and LGBT communities that we have partnered with for over 25 years."

Marc Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League: "Our participation in the Community Navigator Pilot Program will give us an opportunity to expand quantitatively and qualitatively on the work we do to assist small businesses. This program reflects the Small Business Administration's commitment to economic and racial justice, a key element of the Biden Administration and to the whole of government approach to racial justice and equity. We're deeply grateful to Administrator Guzman and look forward to working with the SBA team, our business owners, and our affiliate leaders across the nation to execute on this program."

Mike Haynie, Executive Director, Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University: "The Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University is honored to continue our longstanding relationship with the U.S. Small Business Administration, in support of our nation's veterans and military families. For generations, America's veteran-owned businesses have played an important role in our nation's economic prosperity, and the Community Navigator Pilot Program will empower the IVMF and our partners to connect veteran-owned businesses to the critical resources they need to grow, thrive, and prosper – right in their own communities. The IVMF is proud to play a role in this important program, as we are confident that the Community Navigator Program will have an enduring and positive impact on America's veteran and military-connected small business community." 

Lisa Glover, Interim President and CEO, Local Initiatives Support Coalition (LISC): "In the midst of such a trying time for businesses and communities—especially for the entrepreneurs of color hit hard by pandemic losses—the SBA's Community Navigator Program is a vital point of connection to build economic resiliency and lay the groundwork for long-term recovery," said Lisa Glover, interim president and CEO at LISC. "With this support, LISC will mobilize our network of local partners in five cities and the Mississippi Delta to help business owners build their operations, create jobs, and support commercial vitality in the communities where they live and work."

David Miliband, President and CEO, International Rescue Committee (IRC): "America's small business owners – especially those owned by immigrants, refugees, and other diverse populations – have long been critical to the economic health of communities and our nation. IRC is excited to serve as a national Tier 1 grantee in the SBA Community Navigator Program and looks forward to ensuring that through this effort, these small business owners can continue to drive economic growth and opportunity in communities across the U.S. in the years ahead."

Congressional Members 

United States Senator Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire: "The financial fallout from the pandemic decimated New Hampshire's small business community, with those in rural and underserved areas particularly hard hit. Empowering local entrepreneurs must be a top priority as we turn the page on this crisis, and that's precisely what the Community Navigator Pilot Program does. I'm so pleased that New Hampshire's Community Development Finance Authority has been selected to receive $2.5 million to continue its important work on the frontlines delivering aid to struggling businesses. I'm committed to securing the resources our business community needs to drive our economic recovery across the Granite State."

United States Senator James Risch, Idaho: "Idaho's small businesses are responsible for so much of the success the Gem State has experienced over the past decade. We want to keep that momentum going. The Community Navigator Pilot Program will fuel the entrepreneurial spirit that thrives in Idaho's rural regions as well as our urban hubs. Congratulations to the IHF on securing this well-earned grant."


Bloomberg | Minority, Veteran-Owned Businesses Get $100 Million Boost in Aid: "The Community Navigator Pilot Program will provide funding to 51 organizations that will work with over 400 local groups to help small businesses, including those owned by veterans, women, and those from rural communities and communities of color, get financial assistance and access to capital. The program will also assist with contracting and procurement, marketing, operations, business development, and exporting, industry-specific training."

American Business Journals | SBA awards $100M in "Community Navigator" grants. Here's who got the money: "The grants, which are between $1 million to $5 million, are to be used to provide counseling, networking and to serve as an informal connection to agency resources to help small businesses recover from the economic devastation wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic with an emphasis on underserved businesses, including those owned by veterans, women and those from rural areas."

Yahoo Finance | SBA Administrator Guzman, Biden-Harris Administration Announce Community Navigator Pilot Program Grantees: "The unprecedented hyperlocal and national coalition-building approach of the Community Navigator Pilot Program will catalyze small businesses," said Mark Madrid, Associate Administrator for the Office of Entrepreneurial Development. "These distinguished grantees will help supercharge our U.S. small business recovery. Simultaneously, they will help close historic and current resource gaps and advance equity, which remains one of our top priorities."

Northern Virginia Daily | SCCF selected as grantee in SBA's Community Navigator Program: "The SBA said the program will be used to help level the playing field for America's entrepreneurs… Grantee "hubs" will serve as centralized, lead organizations and will incorporate "spokes" to leverage partnerships with deeply trusted community-based organizations to help small businesses navigate government resources and tap into critical resources, according to the SBA's plan." | 51 organizations, including Ohio agency, get SBA grants to help connect businesses to government resources: "The goal of the community navigator program is to help small businesses connect to resources easier, like financial assistant and industry-specific training."

Dallas Innovates | The DEC Network Awarded $1M Grant from SBA's Community Navigator Pilot Program: "Dallas is a city built on innovative thinking, and we are committed to becoming an international hub for inclusive entrepreneurship," [Dallas] Mayor Johnson said in a statement. "The DEC Network has been a terrific partner in those efforts. Now, through the SBA Community Navigator Pilot Program, The DEC Network will help expand programs and services for entrepreneurs in our underserved communities," he added. "I'm excited to see them get to work on behalf of our small business ecosystem."

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | U.S. Small Business Administration awards $2.5M to state for businesses in underserved communities: "With UALR's center acting as the hub, six local entities will serve as spokes, the agency said. They are the Arkansas Human Development Corporation, the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, the Central Arkansas Library System, East Arkansas Enterprise Community, Phoenix Youth and Family Services, and the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service… 'This is an exciting investment in Rock It! Lab and a testament to the strength and vision of the folks leading that program,' Eliza Borné, Central Arkansas Library System director of development, wrote in an email Thursday.

Idaho State Journal | Idaho Hispanic Foundation named Tier 2 awardee in SBA's Community Navigator Pilot Program: "From SBA's Boise District director, Gary Eisenbraun: "We are extremely proud of the Idaho Hispanic Foundation for its continuous support of small business and its successful efforts to obtain an SBA Community Navigators Grant. With its tremendous success in hosting the Idaho Women's Business Center, and the fast growth it has accomplished in Idaho, it is no wonder it was awarded this grant. Congratulations are sincerely offered to the Idaho Hispanic Foundation for a job well done." 

Sioux Falls Argus Leader | Startup Sioux Falls receives $1M to encourage entrepreneurship in underserved communities: "We've still got a lot of work to do as a city, as a state, and as a nation, but I have no doubt the Community Navigator Pilot Program will move the needle toward a more robust and equitable startup ecosystem, creating a more prosperous future for generations to come,' said Brienne Maner, Startup Sioux Falls executive director."

Central New York Business Journal | SU'S IVMF SELECTED FOR FEDERAL PROGRAM TO HELP UNDERSERVED, VETERAN-OWNED BUSINESSES: "Specifically, Syracuse University's IVMF hub is responsible for coordinating community-based, economic recovery for veteran-owned small businesses. The grant will allow the IVMF to support veteran-owned and military-spouse-owned businesses with entrepreneurship training, small-business technical assistance, loan preparation, capital readiness, corporate and federal contracting, and networking."

For additional information on SBA's Community Navigator Pilot Program, please visit


About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit

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