Recently, I had an opportunity to participate in a White House briefing on the state of small business in America.
Of course, anytime you have an opportunity to visit the “People’s House,” as the Administration staff refers to the White House, you jump at the chance. As a part of the leadership council of the National Small Business Association, I and about 70 other business owners across America, had the benefit of hearing and discussing the importance of policies related to small businesses.
What stood out?
First, the importance small business has across many sectors and various public policy initiatives. We heard of new programs and progress related to financing, innovation, entrepreneurship, trade and rural development in presentations by U.S. Small Business Administration leadership.
Then, the knowledge, commitment and passion evident by the presenters. Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet of the Small Business Administration shared words her migrant farm laborer mother would tell her early in life: “Maria, if you work hard, study and progress, someday you’ll have a good job, perhaps as a secretary with your own house. That’s what I believe for you,” she said. “So, look at me now, Cabinet position (Secretary) in the White House. How amazing is that!”
Presentations from the Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, a Special Assistant to the President on Private Sector Engagement and the Council on Women and Girls brought additional insights to the scope of small business issues being addressed.
It’s a critical time for small businesses in America. While much of the action is on Main Street America, the concerns come from policies and uncertainties in D.C. Issues related to trade, tax reform, increasing healthcare costs and regulation now require more of small businesses. A recent study showed that small business failures are now greater than small business start-ups.
So what can we do?
Become knowledgeable. Support small businesses in our communities. Talk to our public officials. There is still time to make a difference that will benefit all of us.