Finkenauer Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Unlock Capital for Entrepreneurs in New & Emerging Markets

July 24, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer (D-IA) on Friday introduced the bipartisan Unlocking Opportunities in Emerging Markets Act, which will establish an Office of Emerging Markets within the Small Business Administration (SBA) to assist rural, women, minority, and veteran small business owners in obtaining capital to start and grow their businesses.

"Across Iowa’s big cities and small towns, small businesses are the foundation of our economy and the cornerstone of our communities," Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer said. “Too often, though, rural, women, minority and veteran entrepreneurs struggle to access the financial resources they need to get their idea off the ground." 
"As our economy starts to recover from the pandemic, this bipartisan legislation will help a new generation of entrepreneurs access capital, create new good-paying jobs for Iowans, and unleash innovation in every corner of our economy,” Finkenauer said.

While the Small Business Administration (SBA) has offices to aid the business development and contracting needs of rural, women, minority, and veteran entrepreneurs, it currently does not provide specialized services for accessing capital. Too often, entrepreneurs with good ideas in smaller communities do not have access to the same startup investments and capital resources as in major cities.

The Unlocking Opportunities in Emerging Markets Act fills that gap by establishing the Office of Emerging Markets within SBA’s Office of Capital Access to specifically coordinate all access to capital initiatives dealing with small businesses in emerging markets, including those owned by rural, women, minority, and veteran entrepreneurs. With this office, the SBA will be better positioned to help entrepreneurs succeed and our economy grow.

The Office of Emerging Markets will be tasked with:

  • Creating strategies and programs that provide an integrated approach to helping small businesses develop in emerging markets
  • Recommending policies about how the microloan program and other SBA access to capital programs can best serve small businesses in emerging markets
  • Identifying and working with community partners that can help improve the economic success of small businesses in emerging markets
  • Reviewing the effectiveness of the microloan program and any other SBA access to capital program that is targeted to emerging markets

Finkenauer introduced the bill with Congressman Don Young (R-AK); it is the 19th bipartisan bill she has introduced since taking office in 2019.

"Alaska is home to countless entrepreneurs whose operations contribute greatly to our economy,” Congressman Don Young said. “Access to startup capital is essential for any business to succeed, and we must ensure that all entrepreneurs, including veterans, women, Alaska Natives, and others, can access the funding needed to succeed in the marketplace.

"I am proud to join Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer on this important bill to ensure that all Americans, regardless of ZIP code, are able to pursue their dreams of owning and operating a small business," Young said.

Companion legislation in the Senate is led by Senate Small Business Committee Ranking Member Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).

The Unlocking Opportunities in Emerging Markets Act is endorsed by the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), the Association of Women’s Business Centers (AWBC), the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, the Dubuque Chamber of Commerce, Friends of the SBA Microloan Program, Grow Cedar Valley, the Jackson County Economic Alliance, Mission Lenders Working Group (MLWG), the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB), the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), the Page 30 Coalition, and the U.S. Black Chambers.

"The Economic Alliance supports policies that promote greater participation and investment in the diversity of Iowa’s entrepreneurial community. We support Representative Finkenauer’s efforts to allow more Iowans access to these critical funds."

— Barbra Solberg, Public Policy Strategist at the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance


"The Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce hosts an annual eight-week program designed especially for minority business owners and future business owners. We feel this bill aligns perfectly with our mission of helping small business owners access the resources they need while encouraging new entrepreneurs to place their shingle in our business community first."

— Barry Gentry, Senior Vice President of the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce.


"The Jackson County Economic Alliance supports Representative Finkenauer’s ‘Unlocking Opportunities in Emerging Markets Act’ as it seeks to expand access to capital for rural businesses, amongst other target populations. Our communities were born from an entrepreneurial spirit that continues to thrive today. But the resources available to many often do not reach our rural areas. We are hopeful the creation of the Office of Emerging Markets will help address those challenges, and empower rural Iowa to grow the next generation of business and industry."

– Nicolas Hockenberry, Director of the Jackson County Economic Alliance


As a member of the House on Small Business Committee and Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Rural Development, Agriculture, Trade, and Entrepreneurship, Congresswoman Finkenauer has worked across the aisle to advocate for policies that benefit rural economies and provide business opportunities and good-paying jobs for Iowans and all Americans.