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Washington, D.C. — Today, Reps. Dean Phillips (D-MN), French Hill (R-AR), and Sharice Davids (D-KS) reintroduced the 21st Century Entrepreneurship Act to expose students from underserved and minority communities to the entrepreneurship and innovation fields.

Entrepreneurship is an engine of economic growth, job creation, and innovation in all areas of the country. Unfortunately, American entrepreneurship has steadily declined over the past several decades: new businesses accounted for 38% of all businesses in the US in 1982 compared to just 29% in 2018.

The 21st Century Entrepreneurship Act aims to cultivate the next generation of entrepreneurs by requiring the Small Business Administration (SBA) to develop an entrepreneurship curriculum for 21st Century Community Learning Centers and encouraging SCORE Volunteers to form partnerships with these programs.

While existing federal entrepreneurial development and mentorship programs focus on those already in the field, this bill would help create a pipeline to entrepreneurship by targeting entrepreneurial education toward children from underprivileged and underrepresented backgrounds.

Our young people are our future, and cultivating the next generation of business leaders requires encouraging entrepreneurship at an early age,” said Rep. Phillips. “New businesses account for a disproportionate share of innovation, economic growth, and job creation. We must take action today to ensure a thriving, equitable business landscape tomorrow.

The 21st Century Entrepreneurship Act will connect the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) with the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) to provide mentorship to underserved students and develop their entrepreneurship and professional skills,” said Rep. Hill. “As Co-Chair of the Congressional Entrepreneurship Caucus and lifelong entrepreneur, I am proud to co-lead this legislation again this Congress with my colleague, Rep. Phillips, and look forward to the impact this important legislation will have on our youth across our nation for years to come.

In Kansas, we have the talent and the great education system to power the next generation of entrepreneurs—and we know from experience that mentorship improves outcomes for students,” said Rep. Davids. “The 21st Century Entrepreneurship Act will provide effective after-school programs with new curriculum and experienced mentors, creating a pipeline of success for our students.

Despite the significant downturn for small businesses as a whole, entrepreneurship increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. This increase can largely be attributed to growing rates of new business registrations among Black and Hispanic entrepreneurs, as well young entrepreneurs, and underscores the importance of working upstream to develop future business leaders from underserved communities.

Reps. Phillips and Hill serve as co-chairs of the Congressional Entrepreneurship Caucus.

This legislation is supported by the Center for American Entrepreneurship and Bipartisan Policy Center Action.