In an election year, “small business” and “entrepreneurship” become popular buzzwords. Nearly every candidate will have a plan to support America’s businesses, but the small business community now has a plan of its own. With more than 140 members and dozens of ideas for all levels of government, the Start Us Up Coalition calls for a simple, common-sense approach to supporting entrepreneurship.
The Start Us Up Coalition represents organizations from across the country that are committed to eliminating barriers to entry for small businesses and entrepreneurs. These members include national organizations like the Center for American Entrepreneurship and the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, as well as local and regional groups like the Illinois-based Peoria Innovation Alliance and the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center in Tennessee. By and large, these members hail from the small business and entrepreneurship community, bringing experience-based ideas to the table for policymakers.
Together, the Start Us Up Coalition members promote what they call America’s New Business Plan. It’s a bipartisan plan for policymakers that seeks to create new jobs and level the playing field for startups and small businesses. The plan is broken down into four main pillars:
- Opportunity: The Start Us Up Coalition supports policies that give Americans the bona fide opportunity to start new businesses by leveling the playing field for competition with big, existing businesses and cutting red tape that increases barriers to entry.
- Funding: Capital is easy to come by if you’re a business owner with a proven track record of success and you live near a coast. The Start Us Up Coalition calls for new funding models that can support new entrepreneurs in underrepresented communities, such as rural areas and minority populations.
- Knowledge: According to the coalition, entrepreneurs need training and educational opportunities that equip them with the proper know-how to start a business. This education should focus on important skills like communication, problem-solving, judgment and decision-making.
- Support: Recognizing the significant risks that entrepreneurs and small business owners take in the name of innovation, the coalition calls for financial reforms that support the next generation of entrepreneurs, many of whom can’t afford the risk of leaving a steady job while living paycheck to paycheck.
In addition to these overarching goals, the Start Us Up Coalition has ideas and action items for policymakers at all levels of government. For instance, the coalition calls on the federal government to create a permanent “director for entrepreneurship” position in the White House and asks state leaders to use their State of the State addresses to highlight entrepreneurship activity in their states. At the local level, the coalition advises city governments to support incubator programs for small businesses and conduct town hall meetings to better understand the barriers to entry for local entrepreneurs.
During this year’s election cycle, voters have an opportunity to show policymakers what they want. With America’s New Business Plan, the Start Us Up Coalition shows policymakers what America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs need. Learn more about the coalition and its ideas at www.startusupnow.org.