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Why Entrepreneurship Matters to Black America

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Washington, DC, June 20, 2013 | comments
On June 17, 2013, Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Members discussed the impact of Black entrepreneurs and small business owners in America and the supportive role of Congress.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                 June 20, 2013
CONTACT: Ayofemi Kirby
(202) 226-9776

Why Entrepreneurship Matters to Black America

(Link) – On June 17, 2013, Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Members discussed “Why Entrepreneurship Matters to Black America” on the House floor and online. In honor of the 50th anniversary of National Small Business Week, the CBC highlighted the impact of Black entrepreneurs and small business owners in America and discussed the important role Congress plays in enhancing the small business landscape for minority entrepreneurs.

View highlights of the Twitter chat here. Watch and read CBC Members’ remarks below:

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08): Members of the Congressional Black Caucus have an opportunity to speak directly to the American people about an issue of great significance as we kick off small business week in America and commemorate its 50th anniversary. Entrepreneurship, innovation, the capacity of Americans who have an idea and want to translate that idea into a business initiative in urban America and rural America and suburban America is something that we, here in the Congress, should not simply celebrate as we will do this week, but figure out ways to make sure that we can facilitate those entrepreneurial ideas in the most robust manner possible.

Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (NJ-10): We recognize the fact that though they are called small businesses, there is nothing small about the impact they have on the nation’s economy. Last year, small businesses created nearly 700,000 jobs, accounting for 40% of employment gains across companies of all sizes nationwide. So it is fair to say that small businesses are truly the backbone of our economy and entrepreneurship is still the primary pathway to realizing the American Dream. This is particularly true in the Black community. And historically, Black entrepreneurship has meant opportunities for equality, equity and a vehicle out of poverty. Throughout the years, Black entrepreneurs have harnessed economic power to strengthen the Black community, create jobs and develop a voice to advocate for well-being of Blacks in America.

Rep. Joyce Beatty (OH-03): It is so important in minority communities for the Small Business Administration to continue to develop programs which help minority small business owners break through the many barriers that prevent their entrance into the business community. But more can be done and more should be done to help support minority businesses, because in addition to the many economic benefits they provide, small businesses also foster innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity.

Rep. Steven Horsford (NV-04): The CBC is working on solutions; the types of real policies that are before this body. And we urge our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to work with us to make these bills law. These bills, if enacted, would greatly enhance the small business landscape for minority entrepreneurs. I had an opportunity recently to visit the American history museum. And when you’re there and you reflect on our history as a nation and you see the important contributions that African-Americans have made to the establishment and growth of our great nation, whether it be in politics or government, civil rights or social justice, and, yes, entrepreneurship, it’s African-Americans who have helped build our country and it’s African-American businesses that need to be part of our plan for economic growth.

Rep. Yvette Clarke (NY-09): I know the challenges facing our nation’s minority owned small businesses and entrepreneurs. From access to capital, it’s a problem for minority-owned and disadvantaged small businesses in the best of economic times, or it’s a lack of access to knowledge and information of the available options to assist them. I understand that we must work increasingly and unceasingly to ensure that even as the media focuses on the booming stock market, that our nation’s real job creators are not forgotten, not marginalized and overlooked. Their success is vital, not only for more robust recovery, but to fully address our nation’s employment crisis.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18) I am very pleased to be able to stand here and honor a group that I frankly believe are the anchor of the economy for the United States of America, and that is small businesses. We look at the landscape of American history; we did not start with multinationals, international corporations. We really started with mom and pop businesses.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08): If you want to do something about small businesses, what we should do in America is figure out how we in the Congress can come together, find common ground, create some economic certainty so these entrepreneurs can move forward. The CBC is committed to continuing to stand up for entrepreneurship in America, for opportunity, and for the full pursuit of the American Dream for all.


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