We must address the declining rate of startup business launches

Two women hang a sign that says "Opening Soon"

As Arkansas and the nation rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic, I am proud to recognize Arkansas entrepreneurs for their determination and efforts to create jobs and opportunity in our communities. Small business entrepreneurs and startups are responsible for the majority of new innovation, job creation, and economic growth across the nation but oftentimes find it difficult to get their business off the ground.

As a former entrepreneur and job creator myself, I know how difficult it can be, which is why I am proud to help grow Arkansas’s venture eco-system and entrepreneurs. Government rules and regulations should not be barriers on the road to success. That’s why it is important for Congress to enact pro-growth policies and examine how we can assist entrepreneurs and inspire future leaders to turn their business ideas into reality.

Economic research shows the rate of startup launches in the United States has fallen to nearly a 40-year low in all 50 states, in 360 metropolitan areas, and across a broad range of industries — something referred to as the “startup slump.” Experts attribute several explanations for the startup slump, including a lack of access to capital, risk aversion, and the difficulties new businesses face breaking through in concentrated industries.

In February, I, along with my colleagues Reps. Bill Foster (D-Ill.), Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), and Marc Veasey (D-Texas), relaunched the bipartisan Congressional Entrepreneurship Caucus and reintroduced H.R. 1345, the Enhancing Entrepreneurship for the 21st Century Act.

The Entrepreneurship Caucus was launched to serve as a forum for policy discussions and collaboration to address the most pressing issues facing entrepreneurs across the country. The Caucus continues to engage with leading entrepreneurship organizations from across the country including the Center for American Entrepreneurship, Engine, the Kauffman Foundation, and Right to Start, to learn more about what these organizations are doing and how Congress can better help local businesses and entrepreneurs in their districts.

H.R. 1345 directs the U.S. Department of Commerce to identify and analyze the reasons behind the current startup slump, address declining numbers, and help get more Americans on track to startup success. Through this legislation and our work on the Entrepreneurship Caucus, I hope to support our entrepreneurs, identify challenges, and remove the barriers they face.

Arkansas is fortunate to have several business “accelerators”, like The Venture Center, The Innovation Hub, and The Conductor, that are exclusively focused on supporting local and nearby startups. The Venture Center recently kicked off their 2021 FIS Fintech Accelerator, a 12-week program held virtually for ten emerging financial technology cohorts from around the world. Central Arkansas continues to grow into a technology haven, and we can serve as a model for communities who are hoping to encourage development of their own industries.

Having spent several decades working in business, my team and I are actively confronting the economic health challenges presented by COVID-19, working with both the public and private sectors to do so.

I am proud to have reintroduced the Enhancing Entrepreneurship for the 21st Century Act this Congress to address the startup slump to encourage Arkansans and Americans to take their bold ideas and turn them into a successful business. As we continue to recover from COVID-19, it is important that job creators have the resources and support they need to keep our economy moving and get America back to work. It’s an honor to represent Arkansas and its entrepreneurs and business operators in Washington and I look forward to working on behalf of them now and in the future.

Hill represents the 2nd District of Arkansas.

Tags Bill Foster David Schweikert Future of Main Street Marc Veasey Stephanie Murphy Steve Chabot

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