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Chabot in Cincinnati Enquirer: Celebrate, Support our Small Businesses

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Washington, November 27, 2015 | comments

Celebrate, Support our Small Businesses
Cincinnati Enquirer
Nov. 27, 2015

U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, a Westwood Republican, is chairman of the House Committee on Small Business.

“We’ve come a long way in less than a decade and one thing’s for sure, Ohio is flyover country no more.”

When local tech entrepreneur Chris Ostoich said those words to the House Small Business Committee last week, it certainly wasn’t news to me. Since I became chairman of the Small Business Committee earlier this year, I’ve made no secret of the fact that I believe Cincinnati has one of the best small-business stories of any city in the United States.

For the past several years, the Saturday after Thanksgiving has been celebrated across the country as “Small Business Saturday.” So this Saturday, when we’re all encouraged to get out there and shop small, let’s celebrate what that really means for Cincinnati.

Just a few days ago, I read in The Enquirer that more than 40 new small businesses in Over-the-Rhine have given Cincinnatians about 640 new jobs from which they can choose to make their living. I check in on this neighborhood as often as I can, bringing anyone from Washington who will come with me to show them what ingenuity, courage, and smart investment can mean to some of our oldest and still most promising city neighborhoods.

I’ve been honored over the past 11 months by the entrepreneurs all over Southwest Ohio who don’t just invite me to come see the work they do, but, like Chris Ostoich, make the 500-mile trip to Washington to tell Congress what it takes to get started and survive as one of America’s 28 million small businesses today.

When Ostoich told the committee what his experience as an entrepreneur looked like, he said he found three elements had to be in place for a new small business to survive: entrepreneurs with ideas, investors willing to back those ideas, and customers willing to buy the product.

Ostoich didn’t offer a single idea for a new regulation or mandate that we can put on paper in Washington and impose on people at home. Come to think of it, no one I’ve ever spoken with at a small business has.

Earlier this year local inventor Zach Green, founder of a company that pioneers glow-in-the-dark technology for first responders, testified before the committee about how new, less-cumbersome lending partners helped him fulfill his dream of becoming an entrepreneur here in his hometown.

Green’s story is fascinating, but like Ostoich, his message is simple and clear: The free market keeps the American Dream alive. Small businesses can fulfill those dreams if we let them.

That’s why this year I’ve made sure that anything we’re doing in Congress to try to help small businesses is aimed at removing burdens instead of adding them, opening doors to capital instead of closing them, and asking small businesses what they need instead of telling them.

Whether they’re favorite family dining establishments where everyone’s a familiar face or now global enterprises, all of the great brands Cincinnati is famous for started with an idea. On Small Business Saturday, we get out in our communities and shop small to encourage our local businesses to keep going. Keep taking risks. Keep trying new products and new sales and keep customers coming back year after year.

This year, let’s celebrate Small Business Saturday not just to encourage our current small businesses but to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. In Cincinnati, their foundation is already incredibly strong.

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