As a small business owner, I get it. Costs have increased because of inflation affecting many persons in this District and across the nation. And this not only affects businesses, but employees and consumers. Economists agree that inflation may last another year, especially while we wait for the Fed to raise interest rates and see its effects across the economy. But there are things the Fed can't control including impulses to raise prices which are harder to eradicate when there are higher inflation expectations. We simply need the price of money to balance between the urge of saving and the urge of investing, and the Fed has little control over this. So let's talk business where we can find ways of saving and investing.
To that effect, we need to support small businesses. The 9th Congressional District's small businesses represent 96% of all 9th District employers as of 2021. According to the Small Business Administration in 2021 there were 17,730 small businesses up from 17,630 in 2020. That's only 100 new small businesses formed. We need to bring this growth rate up. It comes down to access to capital for entrepreneurs. It is generally agreed that the average local small business startup needs from anywhere from $3,000 to $20,000 in financing. We need to reform and fund the SBA, and give it more authority. We can:
Establish programs to encourage lenders (Banks, Credit Unions) to make SBA-backed loans to small businesses with fewer than 20 employees.
Establish a direct federal small-business loan program (under $20,000) within the SBA for entrepreneurs and micro businesses, including the requirement of loan recipients to receive various small business operational knowledge and training. (We nee to support the section in the reconciliation bill [Build Back Better Act] that provides for the SBA to make direct loans up to $150,000 to small businesses.)
Support CDFI Loan Fund Organizations
SBA guarantee loans for cooperative and ESOPS.
Also, I am in full support of expanding the Federal Minority Business Development Agency and making it statutorily under the control of Congress; the Small Business Initiative.
The statutory bill would include:
Centralizing and consolidating minority business development efforts of the Federal government into one single well-funded agency (it will consolidate various federal programs and federal agencies including different employment and training programs and will also be responsible for regular strategic job planning, for example, like in Germany);
Assisting minority-owned businesses' development long-term contractual relations with larger business enterprises;
Expanding access to capital by establishing new sources of capital through the use of tax credits in exchange for equity capital investments in minority-owned businesses or by an enterprise bond fund;
Establishing an MBE Academy that would provide ongoing education to minority business owners through a public private partnership;
Building a comprehensive longitudinal database that supports long-term policy analysis of the issues and opportunities.