Three guys walk into a Small Business Administration regional office – a shopkeeper, a rancher and an app developer.
No, that’s not the set-up for a bad joke.
It’s a useful way of thinking about how policymakers must expand our understanding of small business in the 21st Century.
Only by clearly understanding and appreciating the changing face of small business in America can we enact meaningful reforms that will help them prosper.
When small businesses succeed, America succeeds.
Nestled between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is Small Business Saturday, an opportunity to refocus our efforts and reaffirm our commitment to helping the 28 million small businesses in America thrive.
Last week, I led a group of lawmakers in introducing a House resolution recognizing this Saturday as Small Business Saturday.
Our goal is to remind our fellow citizens that by shopping small this holiday weekend, they are fueling the engine of American job creation and innovation.
Shoppers might be surprised to learn that 99.7 percent of all employers in the United States are small businesses.
They may also be surprised by the fact that small businesses employ nearly half of the employees in the private sector.
These firms have been consistently responsible for 60 to 80 percent of net new jobs in each year of the past decade, making them one of the few bright spots in a volatile period in recent economic history.
They represent 98 percent of all goods-exporting firms, establishing America’s role as the world’s leader in international trade.
When you reflect on these numbers, there is nothing ‘small’ about small business.
I have served on the House Small Business Committee for as long as I have had the privilege of serving as a member of Congress.
At the beginning of this year, I was honored to be chosen by my colleagues to serve as the Committee’s Chairman for the 114th Congress.
My work as Chairman is informed by the countless conversations I have had with small business owners in my home state of Ohio and across the nation over the years.
These job creators have consistently told me that burdensome regulation along with high taxes and fees represent the two biggest barriers to their success.
These twin roadblocks are exactly why I am committed to common-sense reform measures that will make life easier for our nation’s innovators.
In Washington, reform is easy to talk about, but it is often difficult to actually bring about.
Two examples of this reality can be found in legislation I introduced this year - H.R. 527, the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act and H.R. 2499, the Veterans Entrepreneurship Act.
H.R. 527 requires federal agencies to assess the impact of the rules and regulations they propose on small business and consider less burdensome alternatives. The measure passed the U.S. House earlier this year and awaits action in the U.S. Senate.
One-size-fits-all mandates handed down from DC bureaucrats in granite office buildings are no longer compatible with the complexity and diversity of the challenges faced by today’s small businesses.
Federal rules that may have made sense for a brick-and-mortar shop in 1980 should not be allowed to deter a tech start-up in 2015.
H.R. 2499 makes it easier for a veteran or spouse of a veteran to obtain the private capital they need to start a business. The legislation does this by waiving the upfront guarantee fee for a Small Business Administration 7(a) express loan at no cost to the taxpayer. I am pleased that the President signed this important reform into law this summer.
Veterans have invaluable skills and experience that often translate into success as an entrepreneur. This law eliminates an obstacle to that success and pays tribute to our national heroes.
We must do all we can to help America’s entrepreneurs who dare to dream and put their shoulders to the wheel to turn those dreams into a reality.
When small businesses succeed, America succeeds. It’s just that simple. #ShopSmall.
Republican Steve Chabot represents Ohio's 1st congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives where he serves as chairman of the Small Business Committee.