Joining together to support America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs

This week, Republicans, Democrats and Independents will come together to celebrate National Small Business Week — April 30 to May 6 — and honor the innovative entrepreneurs who define the American Dream.

As leaders of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, we are committed to working across the aisle to advance a single mission: ensuring that government policies and Small Business Administration (SBA) programs are helping grow the small business economy all year long. 

{mosads}Why is this important? 

Small businesses make up an estimated 89 percent of all Idaho businesses and more than 99 percent of employers in New Hampshire. Nationwide, small businesses employ 58 million people, nearly half of all American workers in the private sector. With deep roots in their communities, small firms and their employees are the engine driving the American economy.

According to a recent report by the Federal Reserve, small businesses are by and large optimistic about increasing revenue and adding jobs over the next year. And yet, 61 percent of firms surveyed report facing persistent financial challenges, primarily driven by an inability to access capital. The vast majority of small firms respond to these funding difficulties by tapping personal finances or taking on additional debt. 

Having operated a family-run ranch for decades in Idaho and a family business in New Hampshire, we remember these challenges and other daily management issues that keep small business owners awake at night — meeting payroll, balancing the budget, attracting and training workers, finding new customers and markets, and complying with a maze of local, state and federal regulations.

Our committee is focused on addressing the unique credit, operational and regulatory hurdles that can hobble even the most courageous, innovative and hardworking entrepreneurs. Small business owners deserve a government that levels the playing field with large companies and sets conditions that make starting a small business not only easier, but possible.

The Small Business Administration, the federal agency our committee oversees, must continue to modernize and respond quickly to economic conditions that confront small businesses in a 21st century global economy. 

We encourage small businesses to take a look at the agency’s loan and financing programs to help start up, expand or purchase real estate or heavy equipment. The SBA’s nationwide network of free or low-cost counseling programs are available to help market and manage a business, while its contracting programs help women, veterans, minority entrepreneurs and businesses in underutilized communities sell their products to the federal government. 

Supporting our 29 million small businesses with a responsive and flexible SBA and a philosophy that nurtures the values of hard work, innovation and grit is our primary mission, and it will inform our cooperative work in the congressional session ahead.

We are pleased to help celebrate National Small Business Week. Together, we thank our small businesses for their contributions to our economy and culture. Join us this week in saluting our nation’s small business owners and consider supporting your local small business or neighborhood restaurant in New Hampshire, Idaho and everywhere in between.

Risch and Shaheen are chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

The views expressed by this author are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

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