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Inspiring Entrepreneurs: Learning from the Experts

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Washington, May 11, 2016 | comments

Lawmakers Hear from Popular Small Biz Experts

WASHINGTON – Today a panel of well-known entrepreneurs shared their personal stories with Members of Congress about what it takes to start a successful small business and what Washington can do to help aspiring entrepreneurs start, grow and expand their business. Coming days after National Small Business Week, the experts and members of the House Small Business Committee had a spirited discussion on the best ways Washington can empower entrepreneurs. Simplifying the tax code, rolling back unnecessary regulations and improving small business education outreach were key topics of discussion.   

“At the very heart of small business‒ what allows them to succeed‒ are the people; the men and women of this country who set out with an idea and the desire to turn that idea into a reality,” observed House Small Business Committee Steve Chabot (R-OH). “It is this enduring spirit of American innovation that continues to breathe life into our economy and create the jobs no government program can.”

“Each of our witnesses has taken the lessons learned from building their own businesses, and provide guidance to small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. The difference between a good idea and a good business is execution, and who do America’s small businesses turn to for help developing and executing a business plan? They turn to JJ Ramberg, to Ramon Ray, to Susan Solovic, and to Melinda Emerson. And so today, so do we,” said Chairman Chabot in kicking off today’ hearing.  


Let’s think about the husband and wife who start a business together, or a high school graduate working on an invention, or that laid off 50 year-old forced to begin their own business,” said Ramon Ray, the Editor of Smart Hustle Magazine. “The best thing our government can do for small business owners, is to have limited regulation, lower and simplified taxes and continue to invest in the education of small business owners at the local, state and Federal level.”

“Both on and off Main Street, we have heard a common refrain: difficulty finding affordable funding to expand, a challenge around recruiting top notch employees and a sense of loneliness and lack of community to help with business issues,” testified JJ Ramberg, an entrepreneur and the host of MSNBC’s Your Business. “That said, I believe we are in the beginning of a sweeping change when it comes to small business. Companies in the fintech and edtech space are working to address the issues of financing business and educating our workforce.”

“With millennials now making up the largest share of the American workforce and primed to take over an increasing share of small business ownership, much will continue to change when it comes to entrepeneurship,” added Ramberg.

“The regulatory burden in this country is in the trillions of dollars and small businesses pay 36 percent more than larger enterprises,” noted Susan Solovic, THE Small Business Expert and an advocate. “Could small businesses in the U.S. eventually become extinct? In my opinion, if we continue down this path of hyper-regulation, they will certainly become an endangered species. How can we protect this important market sector? As one long-time entrepreneur said to me when I asked what needs to be done: Get out of our business.”

“There are other regulatory challenges that small businesses face that should be reviewed,” said Melinda Emerson, the founder & CEO of Quintessence Group and the Melinda F. Emerson Foundation. “The expanded categorization of who can and cannot be considered a 1099 independent contractor is a challenge for small businesses and the cost of full-time employees is prohibitive to cash-strapped start-ups. The tax code needs to be simplified to help more small business owners; it costs a lot to be in business in the U.S.”

You can read all of the witness testimony here and view full video of today’s hearing here.


Last week, the Small Business Committee celebrated National Small Business Week:

  • Chairman Chabot delivered the Weekly Republican Address outlining the ways the Committee is working to empower America’s 28 million small businesses.
  • Chabot penned an op-ed for The Washington Examiner on the importance of small businesses to the U.S. economy and the men and women who work to make them succeed.  
  • Chabot also stopped by “Mornings with Maria” on Fox Business Network to kick off National Small Business Week with host Maria Bartiromo.
  • Chabot, Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez and Committee members introduced a bipartisan House resolution recognizing the economic contribution of America’s small businesses.  

  • From Main Street to Silicon Valley, the Committee told the story of how America’s small businesses and innovators are changing the way our economy works on Medium. You can read their stories here.
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