White House Boosts Its Support for Startups and Underserved Markets

January 11, 2013  |  

President Obama signing the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act last spring. AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File

With all the talk about trillion dollar coins and the looping scribble scrabble that is the signature of President Obama’s Treasury Secretary nominee Jack Lew, this interesting tidbit for small businesses has probably slipped through the cracks.

This week, the White House outlined what it’s calling a “detailed action plan” to bolster and encourage small business innovation in this country. Focused on startups, growing companies, and underserved markets, the White House is pushing Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goals, bringing together the various government agencies in a coordinated effort to improve services and initiatives to benefit small businesses. And there’s now a measurement system in place to make sure the efforts are working. This is all meant to build upon the Startup America initiative, which was started back in 2011 with the goal of promoting small businesses and entrepreneurship across the country.

Among the items that are part of this whole small business promotion plan are BusinessUSA, a bank of services to better customer satisfaction and more inclusive government contracting, something we’re seeing more on the state and city level in places like Chicago and New York.

Small businesses face a slew of challenges to getting off the ground. Besides the cost of starting and running the business, attracting customers, and competition — from both big chains and other small companies — minority- and women-owned businesses also face hurdles tied to funding and outright discrimination. Entrepreneur also took a look at the ways in which the fiscal cliff deal will impact small business. The most pronounced is the end of the payroll tax break.

“While this isn’t specific to small businesses, the pattern is clear: Payroll-tax cuts stimulate job creation and payroll-tax increases discourage it,” the article says, adding expert commentary stating that the holiday created 300,000 jobs.

The other two items (also not really exclusive to small business) are the increased taxes on high earners, which impacts a small fraction of entrepreneurs, and the capital gains tax increase which, the article says, will negatively impact investing and equity financing. These two, it seems, don’t have nearly as much effect as the first might.

But the point of the White House initiatives is to provide an entry way for small businesses to plant a flag and get off the ground. Our advice to small business owners would be to follow the White House and the Small Business Administration on Twitter and Facebook to get updates on new programs. And visit these two websites regularly to find out what sorts of programs you qualify for. Oftentimes, states will also have small business programs that can provide assistance. The help is there, so take advantage of it.

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