Small Business Development
America’s greatest strength has always been its entrepreneurial spirit. This spirit has led to inventions and products which have changed the world. Additionally, small businesses are the backbone of the American economy and the most significant source of new job creation.
Unfortunately, American small businesses are currently facing significant hardships beyond their control. With the right policies, we can change this and create a thriving Main Street once again.
To reach full employment, raise wages, give all of our citizens a chance at the American dream, and ensure that America leads the world in innovation, we must take great efforts to support our small businesses and create an environment in which they can thrive.
Here's what we're doing about it
-REAUTHORIZE THE STATE SMALL BUSINESS CREDIT INITIATIVE: Created under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, the SSBCI dedicated $1.5 billion in federal funds to easing small business access to credit. What was truly beneficial about the program is that it allowed flexibility for the states to take charge and utilize the funds effectively. Capital could be dedicated where it was needed most, namely areas where lending is clearly lacking. For example, many small manufacturers complain of difficulty in obtaining necessary lending. This program allows states to overcome these gaps. The program was not reauthorized in 2017, making it even more difficult for our small businesses to get access to the financial services that they require.
-CREATE 58 LOCALIZED INNOVATION HUBS ACROSS AMERICA: The Small Business Administration’s Regional Innovation Clusters program creates public-private partnerships centered around specific technologies related to regional strengths which include cybersecurity and autonomous systems, medical and bioscience advancement, food processing and logistical considerations, and even technological solutions to the world’s growing water problems. There are currently 14 such clusters but the SBA has proposed plans for creating as many as 58.
-THE BUY AMERICA INITIATIVE: True democracy still exists in our marketplace. When we vote with our dollars, our chosen candidate wins every time. For decades, we have not backed American products and the result should not surprise anyone. If we choose Chinese goods, then we get Chinese goods. If we choose American goods, the market will respond immediately. If we each make the effort to purchase a few more American-made goods each year, we could create hundreds of thousands of jobs, increase wages, reduce poverty, spur innovation and entrepreneurship, and support our small businesses.
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REAUTHORIZE THE STATE SMALL BUSINESS CREDIT INITIATIVE:
Created under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, the SSBCI dedicated $1.5 billion in federal funds to easing small business access to credit. What was truly beneficial about the program is that it allowed flexibility for the states to take charge and utilize the funds effectively. Capital could be dedicated where it was needed most, namely areas where lending is clearly lacking. For example, many small manufacturers complain of difficulty in obtaining necessary lending. This program allows states to overcome these gaps.
These funds were leveraged with private lending to increase the amount of money going into small business lending tenfold. The program has helped to create and retain tens of thousands of jobs in states across the country. This program expired in March of 2017. It must be understood that since the Great Recession, the big banks have severely curtailed their lending to small businesses. This has hurt our entrepreneurs significantly. Now is not the time to sacrifice a program like the SSBCI which provides needed financial services to small businesses across the country.
CREATE 58 LOCALIZED INNOVATION HUBS ACROSS AMERICA:
Successful innovation programs in the US, Europe and Asia, have found that open interaction or “cross-pollination” between various industries in a particular region leads to rapid innovation, accelerated adoption of new processes and best practices, and increased business activity for all participants. The private sector often lacks platforms for such “meetings of the minds”, so many countries have created government programs to accelerate regional industries through innovation clusters (or innovation hubs).
One such program is the Small Business Administration’s Regional Innovation Clusters program. Similar to the Manufacturing USA (NNMI) model, these clusters are public-private partnerships centered around specific technologies related to regional strengths. Unlike the Manufacturing USA program, these regional capabilities need not be limited to production and manufacturing. They currently include pursuits as diverse as cybersecurity and autonomous systems, medical and bioscience advancement, food processing and logistical considerations, and even technological solutions to the world’s growing water problems.
While each of these pursuits are fascinating and valuable, the economic benefits of the program are the most striking. An independent report found that small businesses involved in the program grew total employment by an average of 18 percent in the first two years, as well as increasing revenue and raising wages. By the third year, the value of economic activity related to the program totaled over $3.9 billion - exponentially more than its original cost!
This program has a strong focus on small businesses which drive innovation and account for most of America’s job growth. Providing this platform for collaboration, cross-pollination and rapid innovation, has proven to be the accelerator that we need to turn regional strengths into global competitive advantages. This program must be expanded to ensure that we are meeting our potential in areas of innovation like medical science, cybersecurity, energy, and others.
There are currently 14 such clusters but the SBA has proposed plans for creating as many as 58. Imagine innovation clusters driving employment, small business growth, wage increases and American economic competitiveness in towns and cities in every corner of the country. It should also be mentioned that many of these SBA clusters have defense focused applications meaning that this program is not just about economic and technological advancement, but national security as well.
THE BUY AMERICA INITIATIVE:
The American consumer wields more influence than any other group in the world. Our purchasing power transformed China from a third world nation into the second largest economy on the planet. We have pulled entire countries out of poverty, influenced labor and environmental policy, and transformed the American retail landscape, all through everyday purchases.
We have pursued some noble efforts, like fair trade pricing standards, increased use of recycled material in products and packaging, and protection of wildlife. However, we have also undermined our own economy and communities, along with undermining the rights of workers throughout the developing world, in pursuit of low cost goods. When we decry the outsourcing of jobs or the abundance of imported products on our shelves we deliberately neglect our central role in this system.
True democracy still exists in our marketplace. When we vote with our dollars, our chosen candidate wins every time. For decades, we have not backed American products and the result should not surprise anyone. If we choose Chinese goods, then we get Chinese goods. If we choose American goods, the market will respond immediately.
As the most lucrative market in the world, America’s decision to purchase more American made goods would be a greater economic catalyst than nearly any other policy that we could advocate. It would be more substantial than opening new markets in other countries around the world. Think of increasing the American market for US goods as if it were a different country. Even a slight increase in the number of US goods sold in America would be equivalent to a massive new trade deal which heavily favors our products.
If the American people committed to increasing their purchasing of American made products by as little as 10%, the result would be incredible. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of new jobs would be created if the average American consumer dedicated a few hundred dollars a year to buying American goods rather than imported goods.
This is not a call for Americans to buy only US products. Don’t make great the enemy of good. If each of us could make an effort to look up American made versions of just a few of the products that we are shopping for each year, we could create an economic resurgence that would forever change our country.
We want to emphasize this point further to everyone who is concerned about income inequality in this country. Making an effort to support local businesses and American made goods will do wonders for our economy across the board, and it will provide a lifeline to the ailing middle class. Let’s give our citizens a chance to climb the socioeconomic ladder by supporting American businesses and workers. Also, for those of us who are succeeding in the new economy, purchasing “Made in USA” goods is a way to “spread the wealth” without a mandatory federal tax program.
Last, if you care about things like labor rights, environmental issues or worker safety, then purchasing American goods may often be the only way to ensure that a product meets these criteria. Products made in the US were made in safe facilities meeting all relevant health requirements. They were not made by children. The company was not able to dump pollutants into local rivers, and they did not use forced labor. Can you say with certainty that products made in China meet any of those criteria?
Each one of us must contribute to creating a virtuous cycle in America by purchasing more “Made in USA” products. When you are shopping for a particular product (a piece of furniture, an article of clothing, etc.) take five minutes to see if you can find an American-made option. If each of us spent 5% of our yearly budgets on products made in the USA, we would create hundreds of thousands of jobs! The change starts with you.