Connie Evans Talks About TILT Forward, Entrepreneurship at Senate Panel on The Wealth Gap

Connie Evans Talks About TILT Forward, Entrepreneurship at Senate Panel on The Wealth Gap

Earlier this month, the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, under Senator Mary L. Landrieu’s (D-LA) leadership, convened a roundtable of experts to discuss the growing wealth gap in the United States.  The Roundtable, “Closing the Wealth Gap: Empowering Minority-Owned Businesses to Reach Their Full Potential for Growth and Job Creation,” was the culmination of more than two years’ worth of hearings, testimony, research, and interviews by Chair Landrieu’s Committee on the topic.  Over the course of that time, the Committee compiled a report looking at the effects the wealth gap has on minorities in the United States and how entrepreneurship and business ownership can help close it. 

Connie Evans, who participated in the roundtable, said, “entrepreneurship offers minority business owners in particular a path to self-sufficiency and wealth creation, when you start a business, you also create a job.”  In prepared written remarks, Ms. Evans cited recent statistics on the wealth gap, noting that the typical African-American household had a net worth of only $6,314 as compared to the average white household, which had a net worth of $110,500. 

Focusing on entrepreneurship as a way to generate income and wealth, she noted that AEO’s The Power of One in Three report found that the median net worth of business owners is almost two and a half times greater than that of non-business owners. For an African-American male, the difference is nearly eight times higher for business owners compared to non-business owners; for an African-American woman, the difference is more than ten-fold; for an Hispanic male, the difference is five-fold – truly staggering numbers to be sure.

Shifting focus towards solutions and best practices, Ms. Evans discussed AEO’s TILT Forward lending platform and how it is reducing the obstacles to accessing capital and services.  Impressed, Chair Landrieu cited TILT Forward as an example of how public-private partnerships can play a significant role in addressing un- and underemployment, income inequality, and racial and ethnic disparities when it comes to accessing capital and business assistance.

Since the beginning of the year, AEO’s policy team has met with Chair Landrieu’s staff, discussing the barriers underserved entrepreneurs face in communities across the country and sharing insight into how – with the right tools and policies in place – these barriers can be minimized.  During the roundtable, Chair Landrieu formally released the report, Minority Wealth Gap Report, cites AEO’s The Power of One in Three report as well as a number of AEO policy recommendations, including the need for increased funding for entrepreneurship training and lending and changing the Department of Labor’s workforce development structure to better serve those seeking to create their own job through self-employment.

I encourage you to take a look at the Senate Minority Wealth Gap Report, here.


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