New Democrat Coalition’s Members Celebrate Congressional Startup Day
From retail and health care to education and entertainment, startups are a crucial source of economic growth and opportunity. Startups create millions of jobs throughout the nation each year and help position the United States as the global leader in innovation and technology. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, however, American startups face new and compounding challenges including access to capital, operational challenges, limited customer reach, and workforce concerns.
Bottom line — it’s tougher than ever, in the current environment, for startups to operate and get off the ground.
Startups are an important contributor to economic growth in every district across America. In 2019, there were 30.7 million startups and small businesses in the United States, which employed nearly 60 million Americans, or over 47% of U.S. employees. Startups that were less than one year old created over three million new jobs last year alone. Despite being a driving force behind new job creation in the United States, startups face various hurdles to long-term success. Entrepreneurs and small business owners struggle to gain access to capital, forcing many to rely solely on personal and family savings to support their businesses. This challenge is even more pronounced for women and minorities, who are disproportionately impacted by the lack of access to capital and insufficient business networks. Indeed, a report released this month by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York showed that between February and April of this year, 41 percent of Black-owned small business shuttered — a closure rate twice that of other small businesses.
The New Democrat Coalition strongly believes that startups are vital to shared economic growth and social mobility. As our nation grapples with the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis, New Dem Members are working to provide entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources they need to weather the uncertainty and succeed in the future. Some of the legislation introduced in the 116th Congress to support startups and small businesses during COVID-19 include:
· Rep. Dean Phillips (MN-03) and NDC Vice Chair Terri Sewell (AL-07) introduced the New Business Preservation Act to increase access to investment capital with special consideration given to women- and minority-owned small businesses.
· Rep. Chris Pappas (NH-01) introduced the Too Small to Fail Act to support small businesses by making available zero-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and additional grants during the pandemic.
· NDC Vice Chair Suzan DelBene (WA-01) introduced the Further Our Recovery with American Research & Development (FORWARD) Act to promote research and development of new products and technologies by expanding tax credits for new small businesses.
Read more about NDC’s 20 for 2020 agenda platform where we outline ideas to Spur Economic Opportunity for more people in more places, Spur Entrepreneurship to make it easier for Americans with a good idea to start a business, and Lead on Technology and Innovation by fostering the development of new technologies here in the United States.
Since its inception, New Dem Members have actively participated in Congressional Startup Day to highlight and learn from the innovators and entrepreneurs in their own districts. This year is no different, with many New Dems meeting with local startups, including:
· NDC Chair Derek Kilmer (WA-06) partnered with Startup253, an organization aiming to bring together the startup community of Tacoma, Washington and provide the resources they need to succeed.
· NDC Freshman Leadership Representative Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06) spoke with H2O Connect, a Qualified Opportunity Zone Business owned by women that develops products that reach millions of homes & business in North America.
· NDC Leadership Member Ami Bera (CA-07) joined Startup Sac, an organization seeking to create networks and connections for Sacramento’s startup community to promote collaboration and support for the area’s small businesses.
· New Dem Rep. Bill Foster (IL-11) spoke with entrepreneurs from Clear Flame Engines, a local startup working to help heavy-duty engine manufacturers transition from diesel-fueled engines to viable alternative technologies.
Congressional Startup Day is an important reminder to not only celebrate the determination and accomplishments of American entrepreneurs, but also to consider real policy solutions that will continue to facilitate success for new businesses in the United States. The New Democrat Coalition will continue fighting for American entrepreneurs in every zip code across America to spur widespread economic growth and opportunity and keep the U.S. on the cutting edge.