Ralph Pope: Don’t forget about our economic engine, small business owners

money-newlinksWith unemployment still at over 7 percent nationwide it is time that small businesses and entrepreneurs received the help they need in order to create the jobs our country so desperately needs. Whether it’s offering tax incentives or more access to capital and credit, small businesses need help from the government to bolster hiring.

The situation is dire; a recent report states that entrepreneurs have started the fewest new businesses in the U.S. in more than 10 years, a staggering statistic.

Reality and historical precedent dictate that small businesses and entrepreneurs are the ones that will lead our nation out of recession. According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses employ over half of all private-sector employees.

With that statistic in mind we must urge the government to invest in the small businesses and entrepreneurs who put their money and their lives on the line with their businesses. These businesses are the heartbeat of this nation; Main Street will be the one to lead this nation’s economic recovery.

The President, Congress and our leaders in the federal government need to develop a plan on how they can assist small businesses and entrepreneurs in this economy.

Small-business owners and entrepreneurs know that when a problem exists, the only real solution is to roll up your sleeves and solve the problem yourself. This is precisely what is occurring all around the country; small-business owners and entrepreneurs are running for public office and taking the bull by the horns by making changes and important decisions as members of Congress.

In recent elections, more and more small-business owners were elected to Congress from both major parties.

With the state of America’s economy and the role small businesses play as the economic engine that runs our country, it is small-business owners and entrepreneurs who are leading our nation and Main Street in job creation and improving our local and national economies.

The Small Business and Infrastructure Jobs Tax Act of 2010, which provided assistance and relief to entrepreneurs and small businesses all around the country, was a good step by Congress but did not go far enough. The bill added an increase in the deduction for start-up expenditures, increasing the limit on the tax deduction for trade or business start-up expenditures and helped small businesses grow.

Unfortunately, more needs to be done, right now.

Small businesses can’t grow without access to working capital. For entrepreneurs and small businesses to grow, lines of credit, loans and other debt financing need to reopen for our nation’s small-business owners. Access to credit is the lifeline necessary for our economy to turn the tide.

Most entrepreneurs don’t even know where to turn. Banks only want to lend if you have the money in the bank, and if you’re not profitable yet, don’t even try — even if you are meeting your plan. It’s difficult to leverage non-liquid assets, even if they have no debt.

In the end, small business is the engine that will lead us to economic revitalization and growth. Only when Main Street is back on track will our economy follow suit.

Ralph Pope is the founder and CEO of Red Oak International

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