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SBA Awards The DEC $1 Million to Help Underrepresented Entrepreneurs

The DEC Network, North Texas’ entrepreneurial hub, has been awarded a $1 million grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration as part of its $100 million Community Navigator Pilot Program, an American Rescue Plan initiative designed to reduce barriers that underrepresented and underserved entrepreneurs often face in accessing the programs they need to recover, grow, or start their businesses.

“This is a true sign of the incredible talent and spirit of leadership that is standing up to help small businesses in communities across America today,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman in a webinar for the grant winners on Thursday, Oct. 28.  

Through the Community Navigator Pilot Program, grants ranging from less than $1 million to $5 million were presented to 51 community “hubs” across the country during a Zoom webinar. The DEC Network was the only North Texas hub to receive a grant, and one of only two in Texas.

“Dallas is a city built on innovative thinking, and we are committed to becoming an international hub for inclusive entrepreneurship. The DEC Network has been a terrific partner in those efforts,” said Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson. “Now, through the SBA Community Navigator Pilot Program, The DEC Network will help expand programs and services for entrepreneurs in our underserved communities. I am excited to see them get to work on behalf of our small business ecosystem.”

The DEC Network has developed a substantial presence in Dallas, including the launch and leadership of the Dallas B.U.I.L.D. Collaborative (Broadening Urban Investment to Leverage Dallas). In conjunction with the City of Dallas Small Business Center, B.U.I.L.D. is focused on closing the gap in resources for small businesses in Dallas, especially those owned by women, veterans, LGBTQ+, and people of color. It is this type of leadership that drove the SBA decision to award a hub grant to The DEC Network.

Hubs including The DEC Network that were awarded grants will be empowered to engage local community entities tasked with improving access to, and knowledge of, SBA and government resources for America’s small business owners. The DEC Network will be working with these community entities: Veteran Women’s Enterprise Center, LiftFund, TruFund, Dallas College, BCL of Texas and WiNGS.

 “This million dollars will allow us to provide more resources and programming for the underrepresented and underserved entrepreneurs in this community,” DEC Network CEO Bill Chinn said. “We’re so grateful to the SBA for this grant and thankful for our team who worked so hard to get it.”

The Community Navigator Pilot Program grant will be given in two phases, one installment in 2022, the second in 2023.

See the live SBA announcement and official SBA press release below.

CNPP Grantee Announcement Ceremony recorded via zoom https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKTyjL8ZS

SBA Announcement Press Release

https://www.sba.gov/article/2021/oct/28/sba-administrator-guzman-biden-harris-administration-announce-community-navigator-pilot-program