Gillibrand announced the new effort during a news conference in Rochester. The senator says the Microloan Modernization Act will help people, who often face challenges getting loans, the opportunity to access capital to expand their small business.

In an effort to support more women and minority-owned businesses, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced Monday new legislation to expand a program for small businesses.

Gillibrand announced the new effort during a news conference in Rochester. The senator says the Microloan Modernization Act will help people, who often face challenges getting loans, the opportunity to access capital to expand their small business.

"The economic environment is still creating stiff headwinds for far too many entrepreneurs to succeed," Sen. Gillibrand explains. "One big problem for too many of our young business owners is commercial banks aren't loaning them money."

Similarly, Gillibrand says those business owners are struggling to get funding from alternative sources. She adds that the Small Business Administration has a good program that backs lending organizations so they can make loans to small businesses. But she says the system is not perfect.

"The lending organizations aren't making enough loans and they aren't reaching the entrepreneurs to accurately reflect the population of incredibly diverse communities like the ones here in Rochester," Gillibrand says. "And they are not reaching enough women entrepreneurs -- so this bipartisan bill will change that."

The legislation would increase the limit for the SBA's Microloan Program, allowing more loans to be made to women and minority owners -- along with other businesses. It would also increase opportunities for training for entrepreneurs.

Gillibrand says 821 business owners in New York received $8.4 million in loans last year from the SBA program.