The U.S. Small Business Administration appointed 15 new members to its Council on Underserved Communities, including the president of the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce.

The council, which will be chaired by Catherine Hughes, the founder of Radio One and TV One, will provide advice on ways to help strengthen and sustain small businesses in underserved communities. Strategies will focus on increasing entrepreneurship, outreach, and training.

“Thirty years ago, I grew my business with the help of an SBA loan,” Hughes told City Biz List, a Web site dedicated to business owners. “I’m so pleased to be chairing the Council on Underserved Communities and to help entrepreneurs in communities across the country take advantage of those same opportunities for success.”

Ron Busby Sr. leads the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce and was recently honored at the Black Capitol Awards held in Washington, D.C. in April. Busby is known as one of the country’s top CEOs as his company, USA Super Clean, an Oakland, Calif. janitorial company, started with an annual revenue of $150,000 and now grosses more than $15 million per year.

“This appointment is both a privilege and a great responsibility,” Busby told DC Small Biz. “Our nation is clearly on the cusp of an economic recovery and it is my goal, and the goal of the U.S. Black Chamber, to make sure that Black businesses benefit from an upswing in the nation’s economy.”

The council will convene its first meeting this July in Washington, D.C. Before the meeting, members will host listening sessions in their respective regions to hear what business owners need from the Small Business Administration.

SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns told City Biz List that the council will support businesses in communities with a large number of minorities, women, veterans and people with disabilities in rural areas.

“The Council on Underserved Communities will provide valuable insight and advice into how we can ensure small businesses in these communities throughout the country have access to the tools they need to grow, create jobs and win the future,” Johns said.

The 15 members of the council are:

• Hassell McClellan, Associate Professor, Carroll School of Management;
• Dasil “Das” Elius Velez, New York State Empire State Development Corporation;
• B. Doyle Mitchell, Jr., President and CEO, Industrial Bank;
• Eric Collins, Chief Operating Officer, Mobile Posse;
• Derek Hyra, Associate Professor of Urban Affairs and Planning, Virginia Tech;
• Randy Blass, Director, Florida State Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities Program;
• Ned Fawaz, Founder and CEO, Energy International Corporation;
• Eddie Reyes, Historically Underutilized Business Coordinator, University of North Texas;
• LeeAnn Marker, Business Advisor, Hutchinson Credit Union;
• Roni Wisdom, Chief Financial Officer, San Luis Valley Development Group;
• Hilda Kennedy, Founder/Executive Director, AmPac Tri State CDC;
• Rod Hsiao, Director of Strategic Operations, BUILD;
• Hugh Short, President and CEO, Alaska Growth Capital; and
• Marilyn Strickland, Mayor, Tacoma, Washington.