Business | Winning the Future Forum on Small Business

Secretary of Labor Solis and SBA Administrator Mills on

President Obama’s

Winning the Future Forum on Small Business

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills held a conference call with Hispanic media today to review President Obama’s Winning the Future Forum on Small Business. At the forum, held yesterday in Cleveland, the President and his economic team – including Secretary Solis and Administrator Mills – heard directly from small business owners and leaders about their ideas for how America can continue to grow the economy, put Americans back to work, and win the future.

“As you all know, in his State of the Union address President Obama discussed the need to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build our global competitors in order to win the future,” Secretary Solis told conference call participants, “and I’m confident that we’ll get there, and we’ll do so with the force of small businesses, including Latino-owned businesses.”

Hispanics owned 2.3 million businesses in the United States in the year 2007, an increase of 43.7% from 2002, according to the Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners (SBO). [http://www.census.gov/econ/sbo/get07sof.html?11]

“Hispanic-owned businesses generated almost $350 billion in sales,” added Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills, “so this is a significant part of our job-creation engine in the small business community.”

Administrator Mills also highlighted the Obama Administration’s new Start-Up America initiative, a national campaign to help America focus on innovation, in order to create the jobs and industries of the future.

“There are a lot of high-growth entrepreneurs that we are supporting through our new initiative Start-Up America,” added Mills, “These are Latino and Latina-owned businesses that have the potential to grow significantly and create new jobs here in America.”

Background

On Tuesday, February 22, the President and members of his Cabinet traveled to Cleveland, Ohio, where the White House convened a Winning the Future Forum on Small Business in association with Cleveland State University and northeast Ohio economic development organizations JumpStart and NorTech.

Cabinet members attending the event included Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, SBA Administrator Karen Mills, and CEA Chairman Austan Goolsbee.  NEC Director Gene Sperling was also be in attendance.

Below are examples of specific policies the President has promoted to strengthen our economy, support small businesses and get the American people back to work as discussed at the forum’s breakout sessions:

ENTREPRENEURSHIP Led by SBA Administrator Karen Mills

Establishing the Startup America Initiative: Recently, the Administration announced the launch of Startup America, a White House-led initiative to dramatically increase the prevalence and success of high-growth entrepreneurs across the country.  Federal agencies are working together to increase access to capital and mentorship for job-creating entrepreneurs, accelerate marketable research breakthroughs, and improve the regulatory environment for high-growth firms.  In addition, in response to the President’s call to action, the private sector has formed the Startup America Partnership, an independent alliance of top entrepreneurs, foundations, corporations, and non-profits that will mobilize private-sector resources to promote entrepreneurial success across the country.  Read more about these new federal policies and private-sector commitments at www.whitehouse.gov/startupamerica.

Providing Counseling for Entrepreneurs and Support to Take Research to Market. The administration has worked to leverage existing programs and support entrepreneurs’ efforts to take their ideas to market. Through its resource partners, the Small Business Development Centers, the Women Business Centers and SCORE, SBA provided business counseling to more than 1.5 million entrepreneurs. And through the Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR), the Administration has provided about $2.5 billion per year to help technology companies to take ideas from the research bench to the marketplace.  Through Startup America the SBA recently announced the Entrepreneurial Mentor Corps program, which will mobilize members of the current generation of successful business owners to mentor and support startups and entrepreneurs to help them become the next generation of great American companies.

ACCESS TO CAPITAL AND TAX BREAKS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES Led by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner

Cutting Taxes for Small Businesses 17 Times. Since taking office, the President has signed into law 17 tax cuts to help small businesses invest in their firms and create jobs. These tax cuts include:

o   Eliminating capital gains taxes on key investments in small businesses

o   Allowing businesses, large and small, to immediately expense 100 percent of new investments in machinery and equipment through the end of 2011, supporting an estimated $50 billion in new investments

o   Increasing the small business expensing limit to $500,000 for 2010 and 2011

o   Providing a new deduction for the self-employed to deduct the cost of health insurance from their self-employment taxes

Supporting $42 Billion in Small Business Administration Lending. The administration has supported $42 billion of loans to nearly 90,000 small businesses through provisions under both the Recovery Act and the Small Business Jobs Act that enhanced Small Business Administration guaranteed lending.

Spurring Community Banks Lending to Small Businesses and Strengthening State Small Business Programs. As part of the Small Business Jobs Act, the Administration created a new Small Business Lending Fund that provides capital to community banks along with incentives to increase lending to small businesses, as well as the State Small Business Credit Initiative to help spur a minimum of $15 billion in private-sector lending by strengthening innovative state programs.

Creating the Impact Investing and Early-Stage Innovation Fund. The President recently committed to creating two new funds – the Impact Fund and the Innovation Fund – to make seed and growth capital more available to small businesses across the country.

These funds will, at no expected cost to the taxpayer, match private capital for early stage businesses with an emphasis on reaching underserved markets.

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT Led by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis

Leveraging Businesses, Nonprofits and Schools in Skills for America’s Future Program. Bringing together businesses, nonprofits, and schools to train workers for the jobs of a new century, through the Skills for America’s Future program, an initiative is designed to have businesses and community colleges work together to match the work in the classroom with the needs of the boardroom.

Building American Skills by Strengthening Community Colleges: The Department of Labor, in close cooperation with the Department of Education, has launched an historic investment in community colleges – starting with approximately $500 million this year to help increase completion of degrees, certificates, and other industry-recognized credentials by workers who lose their jobs due to trade. This investment will benefit all workers by incentivizing evidence-based projects that that will build career pathways with businesses, advance the teaching of basic skills, and support the creation of new online, open-source courses.

EXPORTS Led by Commerce Secretary Gary Locke

Promoting Small Business Exports through the National Export Initiative. As part of the President’s National Export Initiative – which seeks to double the nation’s exports in five years – the Administration is working to remove trade barriers by helping firms – especially small businesses – with financing, and export advocacy abroad. These measures include:

EXIM Bank’s Small Business Export Loan Programs. In 2010, the EXIM Bank generated $5.1 billion in authorizations for small businesses loans.

Helping Small Businesses Break Into New Export Markets: In calendar year 2010, the first year of the National Export Initiative, DOC’s Commercial Service helped over 5,500 U.S. companies export for the first time or enter additional export markets, over 85 percent of which were small and medium-sized companies.

SBA Export Loan Program. Since FY 2005 SBA has supported over 15,000 international trade-related loans worth over $4 billion and has trained and counseled over 30,000 small businesses on international trade topics.

CLEAN ENERGY Led by Energy Secretary Steven Chu

In his State of the Union address, President Obama issued a challenge to the nation that “by 2035, 80 percent of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources.”  He called for winning the future through new investments in research and development (R&D) that will grow our economy and allow America to remain competitive in the 21st century. The President’s FY 2012 Budget includes about $8.7 billion for clean energy technology programs that advance R&D, as well as innovative deployment efforts. A number of these efforts are central to these efforts are particularly significant for small business.  For example:

Expanding the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program to spur innovation: ARPA-E supports promising early-stage research projects aimed to deliver game-changing clean energy technologies.  To date, roughly 37% of ARPA-E funds – $132 million – has been allocated to small businesses.  In partnership with SBA, DOE is using a portion of ARPA-E funds to support four private business accelerators to mentor and support 100 clean energy technology startups across the country. The FY 2012 Budget includes an additional $650 million for the ARPA-E program.

Spurring technological breakthroughs at Energy Innovation Hubs. Hubs are large, multi-disciplinary, highly-collaborative teams of scientists and engineers working to achieve a specific high priority goal. Hubs can also build vibrant clusters that help small business to thrive.  For example, one of the first three Hubs to be competitively awarded in 2010 was the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy-Efficient Buildings—which is bringing together a consortium of over 90 public and private partners with a collaborative interagency effort that includes the Departments of Energy and Commerce, and the Small Business Administration.  The FY2012 Budget proposes to double the number of Hubs.

To find out more about the “Start Up America” initiative, visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/startup-america-faqs

Author: Richard Sandoval

Richard Sandoval is an award winning journalist who also produces Hispanic Lifestyle a television program broadcasting on several PBS stations throughout the United States. editorial@Hispaniclifestyle.com

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