The past two years have been a huge catalyst for entrepreneurship. A recent Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report revealed that 52.6% of respondents believed that the COVID pandemic actually presented new opportunities for entrepreneurship. And reports from early this year show that, in the U.S., the trend of starting a new business continues even as the pandemic winds down. A key question for U.S. policymakers is how to support and sustain this wave of small business entrants to the economy.
New data from The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows an increasing demand from consumers for goods and services from small businesses. In the last five weeks alone, the number of small businesses reporting increases in consumer demand jumped by 4.5%. Growing interest from consumers is causing new business owners, entrepreneurs and solopreneurs to look for support from U.S. policymakers.
Unfortunately, while the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report confirms the rise of entrepreneurship, it also sheds light on the fact that there is still a need for increased support from U.S. legislators in terms of policy, programs and education. When rated against 19 other economies the U.S. scored below average in three major sectors related to government policy: Promotion and support of start-ups, government-sponsored entrepreneurial programs, and entrepreneurial education in schools.
These findings send a strong message: entrepreneurship is growing and policymakers must step up now to show support for better programs to nurture these new businesses through the incredibly tough journey from start-up to thriving business. This fresh crop of entrepreneurs is looking for federal and state policymakers to support their efforts with policies that provide decent and affordable health care and savings options. They are also wanting support in education for current small business owners through government-backed programs and introducing entrepreneurship education into school curricula.
The good news is that the pressure on legislators isn't going unnoticed. For example, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the Small Business Development Center Cyber Training Act of 2021 which requires the Small Business Administration to establish a program to provide cybersecurity planning assistance to small businesses. The bill currently is awaiting review by the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
Last year, the Small Business Administration (SBA) provided nearly $416.3 billion in financial support to small businesses. This level of entrepreneur support in the U.S. is exciting, but also sobering when compared to other economies. Innovation has long been a driving force behind the strength of the U.S. economy and entrepreneurs play a huge role in delivering that spark. Entrepreneurs are full of grit, determination and a passion for change - which is what makes this golden age of entrepreneurship so exciting - but getting support from the U.S. government is critical to helping make the journey successful for more of these amazing business people.