Small Business Majority network members participate in the White House’s Midwest Regional Small Business Summit

On May 31, Small Business Majority network members, alongside other small business owners and advocates attended the White House’s Midwest Regional Small Business Summit. The entrepreneurs met with U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman and other Biden-Harris administration officials to discuss the administration’s work to keep up America’s small business boom. The small business owners also provided input on how the federal government can help Main Street thrive. Small businesses make up 99.9% of all businesses and employ 45.9% of US employees so when they prosper, their employees and communities also flourish.

First, attendees had the opportunity to speak with Administrator Guzman about how small businesses are a crucial part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s economic agenda. The SBA is focused on serving underserved businesses and helping fill gaps in the marketplace. Access to capital is a perennial challenge for small businesses, so the SBA has worked to increase the amount of lenders who can meet small businesses where they’re at through small-dollar lending. 

In a fireside chat with Council of Economic Advisers member Heather Boushey, entrepreneurs learned about the White House’s new Climate Capitol Guidebook. The guidebook is designed to provide a program-by-program overview of the resources available across the federal government to climate start-ups, small- and medium-sized businesses and their investors. It helps break down a barrier to accessing capital for small businesses by raising awareness of federal funding opportunities and explaining how to access them.

Later, small business owners had the opportunity to hear from a panel of SBA officials, including Deputy Chief of Staff of External Engagement Kendall Corley, Director of Policy for the Office of the Administrator David Brown, Associate Administrator for the Office of Entrepreneurial Development Mark Madrid, Associate Administrator Jaqueline Robinson-Burnette and Associate Administrator of the Office of Capital Access Katie Frost. They discussed their work to increase goverment contracting opportunities for small businesses and how to improve access to the certifications needed to obtain a government contract. Additionally, they discussed the SBA’s business loans–notably 7a, 504 and microloans–and their work to ensure that those lending products meet the needs of small business owners.

Throughout these conversations, entrepreneurs stressed the importance of accessible capital. Entrepreneurs cannot start and grow their businesses without it. Furthermore, women and minority entrepreneurs often face additional barriers in obtaining traditional loans, leaving them vulnerable to seeking alternative financing products which may be predatory with excessive interest rates. Lisa Marsh, owner of Mrs. P’s Gluten Free reflects on the meetings, saying “There is hope and opportunity. There are reasons for us emerging business owners to have confidence that we can make it through whatever comes our way.”

Later at the Small Business Majority office, the small business owners participated in an advocacy training with our Government Affairs team. The group discussed the fact that small business owners are highly trusted messengers, and their voice is critical to shaping public policy. During the training, attendees learned about how to get more involved in advocacy, steps to take to be an effective advocate and how to work with policymakers.

Ryan Clark, owner of Ticket Falcon, emphasized the importance of small business advocacy, “Small businesses make up the majority of revenue in our local areas. It’s small businesses that generate opportunities for people in our communities. What we’re doing is important and needs to be amplified.”