Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY-7) is the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Small Business. In that role, she works with her committee members to support entrepreneurs kickstart and maintain successful small businesses. In her two decades of experience on the committee, she has enacted 22 bills related to small business.
Here’s four ways an entrepreneur can benefit from the Committee on Small Business.
In the past year, each of the bills passed out of the House from the Committee on Small Business has had both Democratic and Republican sponsors.
“Entrepreneurship has always been a bedrock of American life,” Velazquez said. “Whether it’s helping a first time business owner get the financing they need to open a neighborhood store or ensuring that venture capital money is awarded to diverse candidates, the Committee is focused on finding bipartisan solutions to spurring innovation and the economy.”
In the Committee on Small Business, legislators work to build support systems that help businesses ranging from a “mom-and-pop shop” to a high-growth startup, even though their needs are vastly different. Specifically, Velazquez highlighted the differing ways these types of small businesses seek access to capital.
“The main function of our Committee is to ensure that the Small Business Administration is best supporting current and aspiring small business owners and entrepreneurs,” Velazquez told Quorum. “To this end, we are constantly working to improve SBA’s contracting, lending, and mentorship programs.”
According to Velazquez, female business owners start their business ventures with 25 percent less capital than their male counterparts. 70 percent of Asian, Hispanic, and Black entrepreneurs report that they’ve had to rely on personal savings as their main source of financing.
“We are actually now seeing an increase in new business formation, but overall there has been a decline starting as far back as the 1970s,” Velazquez said. “I believe that increasing innovation starts by taking a hard look at the reality that many aspiring small business owners face.”
In order to learn what issues and stances small business owners are invested in, the Committee on Small Business holds roundtable events to discuss policies that may be outside the scope of the Committee, but that the members can keep in mind when other legislation comes to the floor.
“By hosting frequent roundtable discussions, members of the Committee have the opportunity to hear about how we can improve aspects of everyday life for small business owners and employees,” Velazquez said. “Health care and taxes are two issues that too often keep small business owners up at night.”
Small businesses don’t have near the same lobbying presence of major corporations, but they still face a range of implications that come from federal policy. The House Committee on Small Business is a valuable resource for organizations to address these implications and find legislative champions for their cause.