For minority and women supplier diversity business entrepreneurs

Maria Contreras-Sweet, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), announced that it has expanded the Impact Investment Fund, a feature of the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) Program. The SBA is implementing a series of policy changes that promise to broaden access to the fund and strengthen the impact of SBICs.

"As head of the SBA, my main goal is to increase access to capital for our nation's entrepreneurs, especially to our underserved communities. This expansion of the Impact Investment Fund today puts more capital into the hands of entrepreneurs, while offering impact investors a tremendous platform to reach small business owners with innovative ideas," said Contreras-Sweet.

The SBA launched the Impact Fund in 2011 as a five-year, $1 billion pilot initiative to capitalize investment funds that seek both financial and social return. This announcement reaffirms SBAs commitment to impact investing beyond 2016. The agency will continue to allocate roughly $200 million of its $4 billion annual investment authority to Impact SBICs investing in underserved areas and sectors of national priority. The detailed policy memo that outlines this new commitment can be found at:

History was made when California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 1678 which will result in new opportunities for certified LGBT-owned businesses. This first in the nation law, which was backed by the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC),  requires corporations in the public utility industry to extend existing provisions granted to ethnic minority-, women-, and disable veteran- owned business enterprises to LGBT certified business owners.

The law covers every electrical, gas, water, wireless telecommunications service providers and telephone corporations with annual revenues exceeding $25 million that are regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission. Last year alone these companies spent over $8.5 billion with diverse suppliers.  

The law takes effect on January 1, 2015.

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) of the Department of Labor released a proposed rule that would prohibit federal contractors from maintaining pay secrecy policies. The rule, which implements Executive Order 13655, would require most contractors and subcontractors to change the nondiscrimination provisions in their contracts to state that they will not discharge or discriminate against their employees and job applicants for disclosing or inquiring about their pay. Contractors would also be required to disseminate this new provision to employees and job appli­cants.

The rule was published in the Sept. 17 issue of the Federal Register and open for public comment for 90 days. To learn more about the proposed rule, please visit

Women continue to make gains in the boardrooms of Fortune 1000 companies according to 2020 Women on Boards' 2014 Gender Diversity Index released in conjunction with the organization's third annual National Conversation on Board Diversity.

Key findings of this year's report include:

  • Of 867 active companies, the percentage of board seats held by women increased to 17.7 percent in 2014, up from 16.6 percent in 2013. The percentage of board seats held by women in 2011, the first year of reporting, was 14.6 percent.
  • Women gained 90 board seats in 2014, compared to 72 board seats gained in the same companies in 2013.
  • The number of Fortune 1000 Winning "W" Companies increased to 351 from last year's 316, representing both the largest number and the largest percentage to date. The number of Zero "Z Companies declined to 93 companies, representing the smallest number and the smallest percentage to date.

All sectors increased the percentage of women, with the largest gains in consumer defensive, real estate and utilities, all three of which are now greater than 20%. The energy sector significantly lags other sectors at 11.5%.

The Gender Diversity Index shows that smaller companies on the list fare worse in their diversity efforts. In addition, 70 percent of the new companies on the list since 2010 come from the energy, industrials and technology sectors, which also are significantly below average in diversity. Companies that drop off the Index tend to have one or no women on their boards, which improves the Index overall.

To read the complete report, visit

ExWorks Capital recently announced it has successfully raised an additional $50 million USD in capital (with an option to expand to $80 million USD) with the goal of establishing a billion dollar export finance company dedicated to financing small and medium sized exporters using support from US EX-IM Bank, the Private Export Funding Corporation (PEFCO) and other financial institutions. This makes ExWorks Capital one of the largest sources of capital for small business exporters. Given the recent debate regarding the role of EX-IM Bank, it is positive to see investors respond to the important export sector of the U.S. economy, particularly for the growing numbers of small to medium sized businesses. 

"This is a significant accomplishment," said Timothy C. Dunne, president & CEO of PEFCO. "This demonstrates the faith the market has, not only in American businesses that want to expand abroad, but also in ExWorks Capital and the services EX-IM Bank provides to support US small business."

For more information, visit


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MBE Resource Center

MBE's Business Opportunities resource covers business-related financing, consulting, and programs available for the Supplier Diversity community and M/WBEs. Updated monthly.


MBE's M/WBE Resource Directory is a comprehensive list of resource organizations (including links) that support the Supplier Diversity community and M/WBEs.


Refer to MBE's Acronyms & Terminology list for frequently used acronyms and terminology and an overview of the major organizations supporting the Supplier Diversity community.


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