Featured News

President Biden visits Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce in Milwaukee

President Joe Biden greets Hero Plumbing owner Rashawn Spivey at the Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce Wednesday. White House video screen capture.

President Joe Biden came to Milwaukee today to praise the efforts of the Small Business Association and the growth of Black-owned businesses in the country.

The President visited the Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce to highlight continued efforts in supporting small businesses. Biden touted efforts from the federal government that have benefited organizations like the Chamber and highlighted figures in economic growth around the country. Additionally, Biden joined Black-owned Hero Plumbing, a small business in Milwaukee that has been removing lead pipes in the city, where he iterated a commitment to remove all lead service lines around the country by the end of the decade through the $15 billion Infrastructure Bill.

“When small businesses grow, everything benefits — the community benefits, everyone benefits, not a joke, and it gives hope and prospects for people,” Biden said.

Among the figures praised by Biden, the President claimed that 15 million new businesses have filed applications the past three years, with Black business ownership the highest it’s been in 30 years; Black wealth is up 60% since the COVID-19 pandemic; wages for workers are at a record high; and 14 million new jobs have been created.

The majority of new jobs were actually recovered jobs from the pandemic, according to a report in June from the House Budget Committee.

Black wealth is estimated to be up 61% from 2019 to 2022, with the median Black household wealth at $44,900, according to a report from the Federal Reserve. Still, median Black wealth is just 15% of the median white household.

White House video screen capture.

Small business incubators and accelerators received $125 million through the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). The MBDA awarded 43 non-profit community-based organizations funds to support underserved entrepreneurs to launch and scale their businesses. Wisconsin received $3 million from the funds.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) delivered $50 billion to small businesses this year, including major increases in loans for Black-owned businesses. Currently 32% of the SBA’s loan portfolio is made up of minority-owned businesses — up from 23% in 2020.

“Investments aren’t just about jobs. The investments we’re making offer opportunity, hope to communities, to fully participate in the economy. I vowed that we invest in all Americans and that’s what we’re doing. We’re leaving no one behind,” Biden said.

Today’s announcement promised to build on continued progress for Black-owned businesses. The American Rescue Plan (ARP) will invest $10 billion to help small businesses access capital. Wisconsin will receive $79 million for capital and $1.9 million in technical assistance.

In 2021, new business applications were at 5.4 million and 5.1 million in 2022. The current 2023 rate for new business applications in 2023 is slated to surpass 5 million, according to the most recent data from the Census Bureau.

The median weekly earnings for full-time workers around the nation is $1,118 — a 4.5% increase from last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Biden voiced the commitment to remove all lead service lines by the end of the decade.

“We all know exposure to lead water pipes is hazardous to our health, especially to children’s health, can damage their brains and kidneys for real,“ Biden said. “Lead exposure disproportionately affects low-income communities and disproportionately affects people of color. This is the United States of America for God’s sake. Everyone should be able to turn on the faucet and know whatever their drink was clean and pure and not have to worry about it.”

The bipartisan $15 billion Infrastructure Bill aims to fix the issue, Biden said.