Industry News

Bipartisan Senate Bill Aims to Help Small Businesses Leverage AI

new bipartisan bill would authorize the Department of Commerce (DoC) to work with the Small Business Administration (SBA) to create and distribute AI training resources and tools to help small businesses leverage AI in their operations. The legislation – Small Business AI Training and Toolkit Act of 2024 – was introduced on June 12 by Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chair Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and committee member Jerry Moran, R-Kan. Read more.

Senate Artificial Intelligence Working Group Releases Landmark Policy Roadmap

Last month, the Bipartisan Senate Artificial Intelligence (AI) Working Group (“Working Group”) released a report titled “Driving U.S. Innovation in Artificial Intelligence” that lays out a detailed policy roadmap for approaching the risks and benefits of AI. The Working Group—consisting of Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sens. Mike Rounds (R-SD), Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Todd Young (R-IN)—released the policy roadmap following the several educational briefings and nine AI Insight Forums the Working Group held last year. Read more.

Equity Impact Scorecard Helps CDFIs Address the Racial Wealth Gap

Pacific Community Ventures (PCV) recently funded a loan to a Black-owned security business that they might not have underwritten without the African American Equity Impact Scorecard. The scorecard was developed by the African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs as a “learning tool designed to combat the growing racial wealth divide,” says Chavelle Sangokoya, the alliance’s vice president of programs and initiatives. Read more.

In 2016, barber Arlo Washington formed People Trust, a nonprofit community bank with a visionary approach to creating a just economy that could reshape the future of banking. ‘The Barber of Little Rock’ details his journey to foster economic progress for underserved residents in his hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas. Join us for a special screening of this groundbreaking Oscar-nominated documentary short, followed by an intimate conversation with Arlo Washington himself. Featured speakers: Arlo Washington, President and Chief Executive Officer, People Trust Community Federal Credit Union, Moderator: Donna Gambrell, President and Chief Executive Officer, Appalachian Community Capital. Watch now.


Funding & Philanthropy News

Optimum Business and LIA Foundation announce $250K in small biz grants

Optimum Business and the LIA Foundation, the charitable arm of the Long Island Association, have announced the winners of its L.O.C.A.L. Small Business Grants, which will directly fund 50 small businesses across Nassau and Suffolk counties. Each small business will receive a $5,000 grant “to help support their growth and long-term success while further expanding and contributing to the prosperity of the communities where they serve,” according to a written statement. Read more.

California’s Small Businesses to Get Stronger, Greener With Inflow of Climate Resilience Funding

The state of California, in conjunction with the federal government, has allocated millions of dollars for small businesses in California to help them become greener and to strengthen their resilience to climate change. However, many Black business owners across California say there is an information gap — they have never heard of those climate-focused grants and other funding opportunities.  Read more.