United States—Driving More Inclusive Growth Through Support for Small Businesses

Client: The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth

Duration: 2022-2026

Region: North America

Country: United States

Solutions: Sustainable Business

The United States is experiencing an unprecedented surge in entrepreneurship. Americans filed 5.5 million applications to start new businesses in 2023, an all-time high and the third consecutive year of record-breaking growth. Recent federal legislation has aimed to bolster this entrepreneurial wave.

However, half of these new businesses could close within five years, if past trends hold. While some closures will be due to market forces such as low demand or strong competition, many will fail because they lack essential support. In particular, many small businesses fail because they cannot access affordable financing, digital tools to help them compete in our increasingly digital economy, or business advisors outside of their networks.

To address these issues, the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth enlisted DAI to help shape and grow one of its flagship initiatives, Mastercard Strive USA. This program supports U.S. small businesses, especially those in underserved communities, by providing grants, technical assistance, and other resources to community financial institutions, business support organizations, mission-driven technology companies, and other stakeholders whose work helps small businesses grow and build resilience.

Strive USA also offers operational support such as monitoring, evaluation, learning, and strategic communication capabilities to raise the program’s profile and attract more resources to the small business ecosystem. Over the next five years, Strive USA aims to support at least 5 million small businesses across the United States.

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