SBA Administrator Guzman, Biden-Harris Administration announce Community Navigator Pilot Program grantees

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced grantees for the Biden-Harris Administration’s Community Navigator Pilot Program, an American Rescue Plan initiative designed to reduce barriers that all small businesses, including those owned by disadvantaged groups such as veterans, women, and those from rural communities and communities of color, often face in accessing critical support. The Community Navigator Pilot Program will provide $100 million in funding to 51 organizations that will work with hundreds of local groups to connect America’s entrepreneurs to government resources so they can recover and thrive. 

“The Biden-Harris Administration has prioritized building our small business ecosystems back better so that all of our entrepreneurs have a fair shot at achieving the American dream of business ownership,” said Administrator Guzman. “We need to meet businesses where they are with resources to start, grow and be resilient, and the Community Navigator Pilot Program will power a trusted network of community partners to connect America’s entrepreneurs with the SBA. The program’s Community Navigators will develop strong relationships with deeply trusted community-based organizations that will tap into one-on-one, targeted support from programs designed to help them create jobs and drive innovation.”

“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.”

Representative Judy Chu (CA-27), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) said, “While America’s whole economy has suffered from the coronavirus pandemic, small businesses – and especially minority-owned small businesses – have had an especially difficult time. That is why Congress acted so quickly to pass historic amounts of aid for struggling businesses. And it is why I am so proud that we took action under the American Rescue Plan to make sure this aid got to the people who need it most. That is precisely why the Community Navigator Program is so important. By focusing on community organizations with ties to our communities, the Small Business Administration is putting critical resources into communities that would otherwise be left out of the recovery.”

Representative Joyce Beatty (OH-3), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) said, “The data is clear: Empowering local entrepreneurs strengthens marginalized communities. By aiding Black entrepreneurs, the Community Navigator Pilot Program has the potential to usher in a new generation of diverse businesses and help keep Black dollars within Black communities. As we work to build back better, it’s vital that we increase opportunities to access capital for neighborhoods who have been systemically ignored for decades.”

Representative Dr. Raul Ruiz (CA-36), Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) said, “The CHC applauds the U.S. Small Business Administration efforts to strengthen technical support during our economic recovery for underserved businesses through the Community Navigator Pilot Program. It is critical that our COVID-19 recovery efforts prioritize equity. We must continue to ensure resources are reaching the communities that have been hit the hardest amid the pandemic and need the greatest help to bounce back. Thanks to the SBA’s leadership, Hispanic small businesses will be able to access the tools they need to rebuild and drive our economic recovery.”

About the Community Navigator Pilot Program:

Utilizing a “hub and spoke” model from public health care federal programming, the SBA’s Community Navigator Pilot Program will help level the playing field for America’s entrepreneurs, especially our underserved women, people of color, veterans, and rural and low-income communities. 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.

The SBA conducted a competitive review process to ensure compliance, objectivity, and integrity that allowed every applicant an opportunity to demonstrate the impact the SBA’s support of their organization could have on their communities.

Organizations selected to receive funding will be ramping up their operations in the coming weeks to support local business owners.

Classification: To best ensure the greatest amount of equity and diversity across geographies and optimize the SBA’s service delivery reach, the program established a tiered approach, as follows: Tier 1 will represent organizations with a national footprint; Tier 2 organizations will have a statewide and/or regional reach; and, Tier 3 will focus on the city, countywide and/or rural engagement. 

Breadth and depth of network: 51 Community Navigators will provide coverage across the country with the support of over 400 speaking organizations. Each hub organization will support a minimum of 5 spokes. 

Funding: The SBA will provide grants to Community Navigators ranging from $1M to $5M over the course of two years. Tier 1 recipients were awarded up to $5 million, Tier 2 up to $2.5 million, and Tier 3 up to $1 million. 

The SBA’s Community Navigators are: 

Tier Hub Name
1International Rescue Committee
1Local Initiatives Support Corporation
1National Urban League
1Oweesta Corporation
1U.S. Black Chambers Economic Development Corporation
1U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
1U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
1U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation
2Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center
2Community Development Finance Authority
2Community Students Learning Center
2Delaware Small Business Development Center
2Florida Small Business Development Center at Florida International University (FIU)
2Georgia Micro Enterprise Network
2Idaho Hispanic Foundation
2National Disability Institute
2South Carolina Association for Community Economic Development
2Vermont Small Business Development Center
2Wyoming Small Business Development Center 
3Abilene Chamber of Commerce
3Arctic Slope Community Foundation
3BLDG Memphis
3Burten, Bell, Carr Development
3Cape Verdean Association of Brockton
3Chatham Business Association
3Chinese American Chamber of Commerce
3City of Flint
3Community Development Corporation of Oregon
3County of Fulton
3Daughters of Zion All Women’s Bible College
3Forward Cities
3Foundation for Puerto Rico
3Jefferson Franklin Community Action Corporation
3Koreatown Youth and Community Center
3Lakewood Community Service Corporation
3Maui Economic Development Board
3Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Strategic Partnership Center
3New Bedford Economic Development Council
3Nicolet Area Technical College
3Northeast Indiana Innovation Center
3Pontiac Community Foundation
3Rochester Economic Development Corporation
3Social Enterprise Greenhouse
3Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission
3Southern Colorado Economic Development District
3Springfield Small Business Development Center
3Startup Sioux Falls
3Staunton Creative Community Fund
3The Dallas Entrepreneur Center
3University of Arkansas Cossatot Department of Economic Development
3West Central Indiana Small Business Development Center 

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