News From the
Committee on Small Business
Nydia M. Velázquez, Chairwoman
Of the Honorable Nydia M. Velazquez, Chairwoman
United States House of Representatives, Committee on Small Business
Full Committee Hearing: “The Role of Small Businesses in Stimulating the Economy”
Thursday, April 24, 2007, 10 a.m.
This forum takes place during the 45th anniversary of National Small Business Week. The occasion reminds us of the important role that entrepreneurs play, employing half of the private sector workforce and creating almost 80 percent of all new jobs. Small businesses are also the country’s primary source of innovation and drivers of advances in virtually every industry.
It is no exaggeration that small firms are the lifeblood of the American economy. That is important to keep in mind, given challenges we are facing. The sub-prime mortgage crisis continues, and oil prices are climbing to record highs. Unemployment is rising, and our place as leaders of the global marketplace appears in peril. But small businesses can help us get things back on track-if they have the right tools.
That’s why today’s hearing is so timely. It will explore how to best help entrepreneurs continue their role in stimulating the American economy. We will do so with an eye towards addressing current economic realities and look for solutions that lead to sustained economic growth.
Joining us, are witnesses from an array of cutting-edge industries. Their insights into the challenges facing the economy will be added to our discussion of these issues. They will also help explore how current challenges can be overcome through responsible policy and strategic partnerships that are rooted in the work of American small firms.
As a nation, we can find a path from this economic downturn, to recovery and growth. Small businesses have already proven they are very good at leading the way. In fact, throughout history, entrepreneurial activity has been a principal reason our economy has regained its strength. Many businesses begin during economic slow-downs, creating jobs, products and services.
Take the last major recession as an example. During the early 1990’s, self-employment-a core piece of the country’s small business sector-was at an all-time high of 7.7 percent. Moreover, some 25 percent of downsized managers over the age of 40 chose to start their own companies during this time. Most of their firms endure as successful, modern enterprises. Others fared even better, and have given birth to companies such as those on today’s panel.
Finally, it is no secret that during the late 20th Century, technology was a key force in jumpstarting-and expanding-economic activity. It remains so today. That was evidenced in the SBIR/STTR reauthorization we approved in the House yesterday, with overwhelming bipartisan support. It is also clear in the development and construction of energy efficient homes, as well as the marketing, tracking and shipment of small business products around the globe. Small businesses are leveraging the power of high tech tools.
These entrepreneurs are harnessing real-time communication, market-mapping software and on-demand inventory systems. They are extending the reach of the Internet and bridging the path to platform independence. With each step, they revitalize our economy and build the market-leading America of tomorrow.
This Committee has always supported such efforts. At a time when small businesses-and our nation as a whole-face daunting obstacles, we will redouble our work to advance policies that help entrepreneurs thrive in the markets of the 21st Century.