Engine: Looking Back on National Small Business Week 2019

Last week, communities all across the country celebrated the 56th annual National Small Business Week (NSBW). With 30.2 million startups and small businesses across the United States employing 47.5 percent of the country’s private workforce, entrepreneurial endeavors represent the economic backbone of our country. That’s why policymakers from across the aisle strongly support small business innovation and growth across their districts and states.

House and Senate lawmakers shared a total of 887 statements mentioning #SmallBusinessWeek or "small business" during NSBW from May 5th through May 11th. The total included 60 senators and 221 representatives from both political parties, with 250 of the 887 mentions coming from lawmakers who are new to the House this Congress.

Legislators took the opportunity to mark NSBW in a variety of different ways. Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.) toured small businesses and startups across his district and took to social media to tout their importance to the local community. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) also highlighted small businesses across the state throughout the week and added that the “innovative solutions happening in Alaska can be a proving ground for remote areas across the globe!” Others, like Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), noted the important role of the entrepreneurial economy for their state. In North Carolina, startups and small businesses employ 1.6 million people that account for 44.3 percent of the state’s private workforce.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) was the most vocal senator, while Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-N.Y.) was the most vocal congressman.

Lawmakers also used NSBW as a platform to discuss issues and policies important to the success of startups and small businesses. Rep. Troy Balderson (R-Ohio) discussed how workforce development was a key issue for small businesses, particularly “investment in CTE, public-private partnerships, apprenticeships, and all-around innovation.” Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Penn.), meanwhile, highlighted how restoring strong net neutrality protections would allow startups to better engage with online customers.

The importance of NSBW underscores the role that startups and small businesses play in communities nationwide. While policymakers may disagree on a variety of legislative issues, it’s clear they strongly support enabling innovation and entrepreneurial growth across their districts and states.

To learn more about entrepreneurial ecosystems and the policies that support startups across the country, check out Engine’s weekly #StartupsEverywhere series.

By:  Edward Graham
Source: Engine