House Republican introduces new bill to boost small businesses and start-ups
Representative Rick Allen (R-Ga.) introduced legislation Tuesday aimed at boosting startups and small businesses across the country by expanding access to training programs and resources for entrepreneurs.
The Startup Act will amend the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act — the 2014 law that helps job seekers access training and match them with employers — by adopting language that includes entrepreneurs to give them similar resources.
The legislation would also authorize the Department of Labor to conduct a three-year, multi-country study to analyze entrepreneurial skills development programs and how they affect the economy.
Allen, who founded a construction company in Georgia before being elected to office in 2014, after spending nearly four decades running a small business, said he knows “how federal policies affect entrepreneurs and job creators.”
“I am proud to lead this effort to help current and future entrepreneurs access the resources they need to create jobs, grow our economy, and realize the American Dream,” Allen said in a statement.
There were approximately 31.7 million small businesses in the United States as of 2017, according to the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy. Small businesses, defined as having fewer than 500 employees, made up 47 percent of all private sector employees and 40 percent of private sector salaries at the time.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a huge financial toll on small businesses, especially those run by women and minorities. The current economy, which many fear may have hit a recession, is also creating financial hardships for business owners.
Startups often face hurdles even without high inflation and a pandemic. The 15-year survival rate for small businesses was 25.7 percent from 1994 to 2018, according to the Advocacy Office.
Several major industry groups have supported the Startup Law, including the Center for American Entrepreneurship, the Council on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Make Startups.
Eric Parker, president of Make Startups, said the legislation was relevant during uncertain times in the economy because “enormous numbers of entrepreneurs in our communities, both in urban and rural areas, face poverty as they try to start their businesses.”
“The Startup Act will remove barriers and help provide them with equitable access to training and support from our workforce system,” Parker said in a statement.