Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to Richmond, Va., on Thursday to tout the administration’s efforts to boost small businesses, as the White House released a report on the state of the country’s manufacturing sector, which department officials said 75% of Jobs come from having fewer than 20 employees.
The focus is a $10 billion program that funds small business expansion, with a special focus on entrepreneurs and businesses from underserved communities.
“Small business owners do a lot, and in return, I believe we have a responsibility to make sure all small business owners have the support and resources they need,” Harris said at Bayblon Micro-Farms, a manufacturing company that builds indoor farming equipment Richmond. The company received $150,000 from state small business credit programs, which have so far allocated $8 billion to 52 states and territories, which channel those funds to businesses.
“‘Of all the challenges you face, what [are] your biggest concern? ’” Harris asked, recounting a conversation she had with small business owners. “I’ll tell you one of the answers I hear most often, which is something we’ve been dealing with, is that they need access to capital. “
The Biden administration continues to boast that they added 3.1 million small business jobs to the economy during their term, while also noting that it added 800,000 manufacturing jobs overall — a number they say is more than any president in history most in tenure. The White House said the private sector has announced $400 billion in manufacturing projects, including clean energy infrastructure, semiconductor manufacturing and biotechnology.
Calling Babylon Micro Farms a success story in the Biden administration’s fight to preserve and expand domestic manufacturing jobs, Harris described the country’s “small business boom.”
The $150,000 investment “will help this business, as an example of what we’re doing across the country, expand production, hire more employees and continue to shape the future of farming, as is the case here,” Harris said. “Since we took office, 10.5 million new small businesses have been lodged in terms of applications to open.”
Harris pointed to community banks as a solution to funding small businesses, noting that the Biden administration has already allocated nearly all of the $12 billion set aside for local banks in the COVID-19 stimulus plan that Harris helped craft while in the Senate.
“The people who work there know the community, the resources in the community, the capabilities in the community and the needs in the community,” the vice president said. “They saw capabilities around them that the big banks often overlooked.”
According to the White House report, one reason small businesses have struggled to access capital is financial sector consolidation, which halved the number of community banks and credit unions between 1997 and 2012. Between 1997 and 2015, businesses looking for funding under $100,000 turned more to the big banks and more often, the share of community bank funding in that range dropped from 82 percent to 29 percent, according to the report.
“A lack of community and regional banking options is a major impediment to growth and stable operations for small manufacturing businesses,” the report reads.
As she often does on the campaign trail or on the road promoting the Biden administration’s agenda, Harris told the story of her “second mother,” Mrs. Shelton, as a child. On the frequent days when she had to work long hours, Harris’ mother would drop her children off at Mrs Shelton’s house two doors away, where she ran a nursery and was “a regular visitor to our community”.
“I know people like Mrs. Sheldon all over America who have taken the incredible leap of faith needed to start a business,” Harris said. “People who risk their life savings working weekends and holidays, Because they know they’re not just in business, but for the people they love, the place they call home, and by extension, our entire country.”
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