Governmental Barriers to Small Business Financing for People with a Criminal History
Collateral Consequences Resource Center
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According to the Collateral Consequences Resource Center (CCRC), individuals seeking to start new businesses face a number of challenges. For individuals with a criminal history, these challenges of establishing and growing a new business increase dramatically. The Center points to a "particularly stifling series of federal regulations and policies" that impose broad criminal history restrictions on access to government-sponsored business loans.
Given that about one third of adult Americans have an arrest or conviction record, of whom a disproportionate percentage are people of color, the Center asserts that it is important to reconcile this population’s limited access to government-sponsored business capital with the emerging public policy of encouraging reintegration and second chances.
At this Georgetown on the Hill event, a panel of experts moderated by Crystal Francis, Program Manager, Georgetown University Pivot Program, discuss the economic and social impact of these restrictive policies in a forum with Q&A. Panelists consider the issues that arose when the policies were applied to pandemic relief funds; the possible correlation between criminal history and creditworthiness; and the elements of a “fair chance” approach to business lending.
- Taja-Nia Henderson, Professor of Law, Rutgers University Law School
- Sekwan Merritt, Entrepreneur and Owner, Lightning Electric, a Baltimore-Based Electrical Contractor
- Chris Pilkerton, Chief Legal and Regulatory Strategy Officer for the Accion Opportunity Fund, and former Cabinet member and head of the U.S. Small Business Administration
- David Schlussel, Deputy Director, Collateral Consequences Resource Center