Author: Rhett Battle
Most Americans start each new year with plans to do something different, and small business owners are no exception. But before we dive headfirst into 2024, let's take a quick look back at his 2023, which ended and celebrated several milestones for small business owners.
The past year has been a big year for Main Streets across America in terms of community trust and policy efforts to support them. Here are five of the biggest takeaways for small businesses.
1. Small businesses remain the most trusted institutions
Although trust in many U.S. institutions is low, small businesses continue to be the most trusted in the United States. Gallup's annual trust survey found that 65% of Americans still trust small businesses. To put this in perspective, only 34% of him trusts the health care system, compared to 8% of Congress.
2. Major legislation has been passed that affects small businesses.
Legislation passed in the past two years supports Main Street. For example, the bipartisan Infrastructure Act currently funds nearly $400 billion for more than 40,000 projects across more than 4,500 communities in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., U.S. territories, and tribal communities. These include initiatives such as bridge and highway upgrades and investments in clean energy, and are part of President Biden's investment plan for the United States, which will see private sector investments in manufacturing and green energy increase by 6,140%. It has contributed to promoting more than 100 million dollars.
Additionally, the Inflation Control Act supports small businesses and working Americans by investing in deficit reduction, expanding manufacturing, lowering drug prices, and leveling the tax playing field to fight inflation.
3. New administrative changes to ease access to capital for small and medium-sized businesses
The Biden-Harris administration continues to take executive actions to support small businesses. In August, the Small Business Administration (SBA) implemented policies to modernize the SBA's signature 7(a) lending program, which addresses long-standing gaps for small loans and underserved borrowers. The new policy now reduces the burden on lenders in determining loan eligibility, puts it in SBA control, streamlines the application process, removes criminal background checks, and reduces the burden on lenders in determining whether they qualify for a loan. Simplifies the underwriting process and eliminates the need for loan collateral. Under $50,000.
4. Federal funds flowing to communities and businesses across the country
Earlier this year, a number of programs were launched to support economic development and small businesses and revitalize Main Streets across the country. The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) has launched the Disaster Area Recompetition Pilot Program. This program allows EDA to partner with communities to make flexible investments that give communities access to critical economic resources to fund workforce and entrepreneurial development programs.
EDA's Regional Innovation and Technology Hubs (Tech Hubs) boost small businesses across the country by supporting the development and growth of innovative industries from semiconductors to clean energy, critical minerals, biotechnology and AI . Each Tech Hub is a consortium of higher education, government, industry, economic development, workforce, and other organizations focused on innovation. These organizations span 32 states and Puerto Rico, six including tribal governments, four headquartered in sparsely populated states, and four including coal communities.
The U.S. Department of Commerce's Capital Reserve Program is a $125 million technical assistance program and the largest investment in the Department's history to support underserved entrepreneurs. The program is a Capital Readiness incubator and accelerator that helps entrepreneurs build skills to start and expand their businesses, access State Small Business Credit Initiative capital, and secure other forms of capital. support the development of a national network.
5. More small businesses are opening than ever before
Since 2021, Americans have filed a record 15 million applications to start new businesses, and Black business ownership is increasing at the fastest pace in 30 years. As a result, black wealth has increased by 60% since before the pandemic, and black unemployment has hit a historic low.
If you're a small business owner and aren't aware of these opportunities available, there's still time to get involved in developing policies that could impact your bottom line. In the meantime, congratulations on another successful year as an entrepreneur.
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