I am not oblivious to the political divisions that dominate national headlines. However, these headlines don’t tell the full story of what our enterprise partners see and experience in action across the heart of the country.
Most want a level playing field for themselves and their neighbors. In many societies across the country, wages and opportunity have lagged far behind the rising costs and increasing supply inequality over the past several decades. Today we are seeing the result of policies that were ill-equipped to respond to the global shocks of a pandemic, supply chain disruptions, and now war.
At the same time, policies that benefit very large corporations with the resources to overcome the complexity of legal, financial, and regulatory systems have resulted in the consolidation of wealth in the hands of the very few. In fact, billionairesThey added trillions to their fortunes during the pandemic. Their access to teams of lawyers and consultants exacerbates the competitive disadvantage facing new and small firms – and further deepens disparities in access and opportunity.
There is a way forward. We currently have a unique opportunity to abandon the zero-sum game approach to building the economy, in favor of a new path that will propel Americans who currently face difficult economic choices down paths of economic stability with good jobs and a brighter future.
A recent trip to Washington, DC to engage elected officials gave us hope that many in the House and in the administration are trying to find common ground. Despite what you see in the news about the irreparable political divide, there is agreement on many of the policy recommendations outlined in “America’s New Action Plan which advocates practical, actionable, and bipartisan approaches to building an economy based on entrepreneurs and an equipped workforce.
Why is entrepreneurship-focused economic development essential to a growing and just economy? For nearly 250 years, the United States has stimulated opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators. almost today 32 million small businesses Employing nearly half of America’s workforce, entrepreneurs are the ones who come up with new ideas and improve the ways of doing things. After all, new companies create the bulk of net new jobs, making them a leader in a strong economy.
But while entrepreneurship has driven millions into the American dream — the growth of cutting-edge companies across new and old sectors in the process — systemic barriers remain that focus vital resources among a select, privileged few. While data showing at least a partial return to pre-pandemic levels of new business creation is indeed encouraging, gender and ethnic gaps in developing businesses remain.
In the absence of adequate support and opportunities, entrepreneurs will almost certainly struggle to reach their full potential. Opening up more avenues of financing is critical. Today, at least 83 percent of entrepreneurs do not receive bank loans or venture capital when starting a business. Raised female founders only Two percent of the investment capital dollars In 2021, the enterprises of black women sprang up Only 0.34%.We must counter the harmful legacy of discriminatory policies, such as red lines, by supporting women, communities of color, and rural Americans who have Less access to finance in the private market . Failure to reduce these barriers will set the economy on a path of failing to reach its full potential, despite the abundance of talent, ideas, and resources.
Small Business Administration (SBA) Recently committed More than $58 billion for rural Americans, $17 billion for black Americans, $23 billion for the Pacific Islander community of Asian Americans and $15 billion for Hispanics and Latinos, there are plans to open 280 business development centers to promote greater access and create women’s business centers on three campuses and collectors historically black. These are good things, but we need to go beyond allocating funding and making sure that money is spent on programs and practices that change the conditions for entrepreneurs. It happens when there is strong technical assistance, guidance, and support systems that are necessary to help people take risks in order to set up businesses and grow.
We’ve also heard in conversations with policymakers on both sides of a deep concern for both the current situation and the future of our workforce.
In our country, 44 percent of workers are in low-paying jobs. a last analysisOf these workers, skills development, career guidance, or informational feedback was found to be missing in their workplace. As low-wage workers flounder, employers continue to sound the alarm that mid-skilled jobs won’t be filled. Businesses and education systems must work collaboratively to develop pathways that make these experiences easy to find and inclusive of all students, regardless of race, gender, or geography.
Although large firms have raised skill-based hiring, industries such as information technology still have a range of firms that require a bachelor’s degree for positions that can be filled by a credential holder or skilled worker. University degrees have become an alternative to “soft skills” (or “essential skills”), which are highly sought after by employers. But these core competencies can be included, such as collaboration, critical thinking, and proactiveness Workforce and workplace training.
With the country rebuilding after historic crises of public health and economic crises, there is no better time than now to forge a resilient, more inclusive economy that fits all. Growing our economy – the right way – means recognizing that no demographic or geographic location monopolizes the drive or talent needed to start a business or get a well-paid job. It’s about numbers – we can’t leave half or more of our population struggling to make ends meet.
To remain the leading economy and the primary engine of growth and innovation on an increasingly competitive global stage, we must prioritize national strategies that define, nurture and unleash the full brilliance of our nation.
Wendy Guillies is President and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
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