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Leveraging SSBCI 2.0: Remaking America’s Small Business Capital Landscape

A Nowak Metro Finance Lab Partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

52nd Street in West Philadelphia

About the Project 

The Nowak Metro Finance Lab and Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation have teamed up to help states maximize incoming federal State Small Business Credit Initiative funds (SSBCI), a potential $100 billion opportunity – supported by $10 billion in public funds – over the next decade. The Nowak Lab is working to help states and practitioners use this temporary influx of capital to develop robust and seamless small business ecosystems with a continuum of capital products supporting a continuum of firms and diversity, historically underrepresented entrepreneurs.


The two-year partnership will hone in on specific states to work alongside decisionmakers and practitioners as they deploy their allocations. To meet SSBCI program requirements for both dynamic and inclusive economic growth, state leaders must undertake extensive planning and engagement efforts across local and regional levels if they are to take full advantage of SSBCI dollars and maximally leverage private capital – strengthening and building critical capital delivery systems, reaching underserved entrepreneurs, and unlocking catalytic innovation and investment.

Project Impact 

  • Build Long-Term Capacity: support, connect, and stand-up local intermediaries and ecosystems
  • Innovate Process: new types of funds and methods that unlock private capital and connect businesses across high-growth industry clusters
  • Innovate Products: build new financial products that can better reach a full continuum of firms and drive more inclusive outcomes

Project Components

Through close working relationships with states, federal government, capital providers, and broader stakeholders, the project will identify, codify, and scale innovative models for delivering quality capital to a broader diversity of entrepreneurs through three areas of work:


  1. State Cohort: working directly with state administrators and capital providers in four states, we’re learning best practices, challenges, and potential for capital innovation.
  2. Community of Practicethe project will convene a group of practitioners and thought leaders to offer and develop ground-tested best practices from across the country.
  3. Systems Change: toggling between state-level practitioners and national-level thought leaders, consolidate and publish our recommendations for innovative products, sources of capital, and delivery systems as models for practitioner implementation and broader institutional reform

Target Audiences

The project has a range of target audiences given its breadth of relevant stakeholders. If you fit into one of these categories, connect with Bryan Fike at



  • federal officials in Treasury defining eligible uses and program rules and objectives
  • Congress and policy staff that create the policy parameters for this and other small business support programs
  • other federal departments that oversee overlapping and interlocking programs for small business
  • state administrators designing programs and overseeing compliance and data collection
  • mayors and other local officials looking to tap into capital for their communities

Capital Providers:

  • traditional lenders and investors, such as banks, CDFIs, and VC and angel funds looking to benefit from and leverage SSBCI investment
  • other local entities, including community development corporations, local chambers, business/entrepreneurial support organizations and industry associations looking to provide technical assistance and connect their communities to SSBCI capital


  • Impact investors, market- and mission-driven private capital that could be anchored by SSBCI programs
  • Philanthropies, seeking high-impact, place-based funds reaching underserved entrepreneurs
  • Other institutional investors, large sources of untapped patient capital

Project Outputs and Outreach: 

With Nowak Lab’s expertise in building wealth through leveraging civic and public capital and this project’s various audiences, we’ve identified products that advance conversations relevant to both practitioners and policymakers looking to build a more consistent and inclusive capital delivery system, enabled by SSBCI:


  • Real Deals Playbooks: resources providing capital providers details on innovative products and funds
  • Future State Thinking ecosystem newsletter: a 12-15 page report outlining models and reforms for a more integrated and inclusive small business support system
  • Exemplary Entrepreneurs: case studies of enterprises that capitalized on their SSBCI investment, illustrating the program at its best
  • Network: the Community of Practice and other partners (Aspen) to help distribute findings