Periodically, GoodBiz113 presents diverse views on small business and entrepreneurship -- directly from those who shape small-business policies and practices. Here's what some key influencers said last week...
"I want Minnesotans to be able to rely on me for assistance with the federal government. Whether it's a Social Security check, a small-business loan, or help for a returning veteran, my office will be there for the people of our state, following the examples set by Sen. Klobuchar, our fine congressional delegation, and those who came before us. That's the Minnesota way, and nobody is better at it than Alana. Drawing on her wealth of experience and her ability to reach out to every constituency in Minnesota, when I have the privilege of being certified, she'll work with me to ensure that we hit the ground running on Day One." -- U.S. Senator-elect Al Franken [D-Minn., pictured], announcing that Alana Petersen has agreed to serve as his Minnesota State Director, citing his commitment to continuing Minnesota's tradition of excellent constituent services
Petersen is a life-long resident of Minnesota who has spent the last five years working in outreach and organizing for Rep. Jim Oberstar. [April 20, Al Franken for Senate]
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"The uncertain economy has forced many Americans to turn to part-time jobs once held by teenagers. This has pushed the number of teens employed to the lowest it's been in at least 10 years. Now, unable to find part-time and summer jobs, some teens are turning their passions into small businesses... Not only is starting a small business becoming a necessary way for many to earn money, it's also a way for young people to tap into their talents and use them to build a business they can be proud of. Creating a business teaches young people the importance of hard work, dedication and having a strong work ethic -- all habits that will help to carry them through a successful life." -- Sen. Mary Landrieu [D-La.], chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Landrieu hosted a simulated hearing for a youth group, entitled "Tomorrow's Entrepreneurs: Why Young People are Starting Small Businesses." The hearing was part of last Monday's Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day on Capitol Hill, and was designed to inspire youth to turn their creative passions into successful businesses. [April 23, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship]
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"We want to preserve the credit card market, but we also want to do so in way that eliminates some of the abuses and some of the problems that a lot of people are familiar with... People find themselves starting out with a low rate and the next thing they know, the rate has doubled and fees they didn't know about are tacked on." -- President Barack Obama, after meeting with executives of the 13 leading credit card companies, whose "anytime, any-reason rate hikes and late-fees traps," he said, hurt individuals and small businesses
Obama said he will be working with Congress on new regulations for the industry. Reforms, he noted, should include strong protection for consumers and agreements that are written in clear and simple language. [April 23, USA Today]
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"San Francisco takes great pride in being home to over 95,000 small and new startup businesses -- the dreamers and doers who really add such richness to our city... Despite facing economic challenges, San Francisco, with its metropolitan setting and world-class culture, continues to be an ideal location for startup business ventures because we recognize the small-business sector as being the backbone of San Francisco’s economic landscape." -- San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, a small-business owner himself [PlumpJack Wines]
Last week, Newsom announced that his office will partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration's San Francisco District Office, the San Francisco Small Business Commission, Wells Fargo, PG&E, Comcast, FirstStep Marketing, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, and the San Francisco Small Business Development Center to present events around the Bay Area to celebrate National Small Business Week, May 16-23, 2009. [April 24, SBA's San Francisco District Office]
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"Director of the White House's National Economic Council, Larry Summers, also took part in the discussion. He stressed that small businesses are the backbone of the American economy: 'There’s never been a big business which didn’t start as a small business.' He noted that providing health care coverage for employees is especially costly for small businesses, and 'as a country, we can do much, much better than we are.' Health care reform, he said, is both a moral issue for our children and a deeply practical issue – and this year, we have a good chance to make this right." -- Excerpt from a White House blog post by Rebecca Adelman, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS], recapping an April 24 meeting hosted by Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the newly established White House Office of Health Reform
The meeting included 20 representatives from small businesses across the country, who affirmed findings in the just-released HHS report, "Helping the Bottom Line: Health Reform and Small Business" -- i.e., that small businesses are uniquely feeling the impact of skyrocketing health care costs. Last Friday's event was part of the Obama administration’s continuing series of White House Health Care Stakeholder Discussions.
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"I look forward to working with Ms. Mills in coming months. After seeing SBA underfunded and mismanaged for the last eight years, it is fair to say she will certainly have her work cut out for her. Small businesses need an effective SBA now more than ever, and that starts with new leadership. It is my hope that Ms. Mills will bring the necessary fresh thinking and vigor to renew and strengthen this agency, so that it better serves entrepreneurs' needs." -- Rep. Nydia Velázquez [D-N.Y.], U.S. House Small Business Committee chair, after the Senate late last night confirmed Karen Gordon Mills as the next administrator to lead the SBA. [April 27, U.S. House Small Business Committee]
SOURCES: Al Franken for Senate, HHS, SBA, U.S. House Small Business Committee, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, USA Today, White House
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