Obama’s Legacy of Supporting Small Businesses

President Obama has launched several initiatives that have helped to accelerate entrepreneurship among underserved groups

Obama
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President Obama has made several significant moves to support small businesses during his terms in office. The president’s focus on the role of startups in the United States’ innovation economy is exemplified by the launch of Startup America in 2011, a White House initiative to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the Nation. According to a fact sheet released by the White House in honor of National Entrepreneurship Month, startup activity has become more inclusive in regards to historically underrepresented groups and regions.

Studies show a boost in startup activity last year, representing the largest year-over-year increase in the last two decades. Reportedly, new companies created 889,000 jobs in the final quarter of 2015—the highest job creation number since 2008. What’s more, the rate of new businesses started by Latinos, African Americans, and immigrants went up significantly between 1996 and 2015.

Rising Minority Women Business Owners

 

Between 2007 and 2016, the number of women-owned firms grew at a rate five times the national average, more than doubling the number of firms owned by African American women and Hispanic women. The number of U.S. startup accelerator programs increased from less than 30 in 2009 to over 170 in 2015, providing mentorship and early funding to thousands of startups across 35 states. Studies suggest that the share of venture-funded startups with women founders has nearly doubled in 5 years—but it is still only 18%.

The White House notes that continuing to reverse America’s 40-year decline in startup activity will require building on the president’s record of addressing income inequality, promoting competitive markets, reducing unduly restrictive occupational licensing, and scaling up rapid training for 21st-century technology skills.

Among President Obama’s Most Significant Moves

 

President signed into law 18 tax breaks for small businesses in his first term, including tax credits for those who hire unemployed workers and veterans. The administration’s Startup in a Day initiative cut red tape regulation, to make it easier for more entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses.

Seeded startup accelerators in diverse communities via the SBA’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, which serves entrepreneurs in a broad set of industries and sectors—from manufacturing and tech, to farming and biotech.

As part of the first ever White House Demo Day in August 2015, 40 leading venture capital firms, with more than $100 billion under management, committed to advance opportunities for women and underrepresented minorities. Over a dozen major tech companies committed to new actions to ensure diverse recruitment and hiring.

The Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, signed in 2012, gave entrepreneurs greater access to capital from the seed stage to an IPO. This included letting entrepreneurs raise up to $1 million from regular non-accredited investors through online equity crowdfunding platforms.

By signing the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act in September 2011, the president gave the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office new resources to significantly reduce patent and trademark application wait times.