Karen Mills, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, named radio and TV magnate Catherine L. Hughes to chair the agency’s new Advisory Council on Underserved Communities.
Launched on Dec. 15, the Council will consist of 20 members from across the country and will provide input, advice and recommendations on how the SBA, through its programs, can help strengthen competitiveness and sustainability for small businesses in underserved communities.
“Many entrepreneurs and small business owners across the country have enormous potential to drive economic growth and create good-paying jobs in their local communities, but too often they face barriers in fulfilling that potential,” said Hughes, chairperson and founder of Radio One Inc. and TV One, and a former SBA borrower. “I’m excited to be a part of this effort to strengthen the link between these entrepreneurs and the SBA’s wide variety of resources. SBA assistance played a critical role in my success, and I’m eager to do all I can to help make sure others have access to these same opportunities.”
A Nebraska native, Hughes began a career in radio in 1969 at KOWH, a small Black-owned radio station in the state’s capital, Omaha. She went to Washington, D.C., as a lecturer at Howard University’s School of Communications and worked at several local radio stations before she and her then-husband purchased a small station and turned it into Radio One. Hughes subsequently bought out her husband and became sole owner, at one point moving into the station to make ends meet. Today, Radio One owns 52 radio stations in major markets across the country, making the company the largest Black-owned radio chain in the nation. In January 2004, Hughes launched TV One, a cable television channel targeted at the African-American community.
Over the next few weeks, the SBA will accept nominations for members to serve on the new advisory council. Members will provide a critical link between SBA and small businesses in traditionally underserved communities and will reflect key sectors, including business owners, banking and finance, community development, nonprofit and academia. Member nominations can be emailed to email@example.com.