CORNING - Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., visited Corning Friday to promote legislation she is cosponsoring.

Gillibrand was joined by Mayor Bill Boland, local business owners and officials at Cugini Café and Market to announce the Microloan Modernization Act.

Gillibrand said the legislation intends to make more small business loans available for women and minority business owners by raising the total limit on outstanding loans to intermediary lending organizations.

“What our bill will do is increase the amount of money that can go to women and minority owned businesses and also create more flexibility so (the Small Business Administration) can help those businesses access the money, so they actually know about it,” Gillibrand said.

“This bill will augment the capital that’s available today and make it more flexible to meet the needs of those who need it most,” she said.

The legislation comes on the heels of a 2014 report by the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, which states that women and minority entrepreneurs have a harder time gaining access to capital.

“Although women-owned businesses represent 40 percent of all businesses, they receive less than five percent of conventional loans that are issued. In addition to that, minority-owned businesses have three times the turn-down rate of non-minority-owned businesses,” Boland said.

The legislation is bipartisan and is sponsored by Sens. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.).