Explore the future landscape of federal support for small businesses at the upcoming event hosted by the Urban Institute. Titled “The Future of Federal Support for Small Businesses,” this discussion will delve into the evolving role of federal tools in light of technological, economic, financial, and demographic changes. Esteemed speakers include Isabel Guzman, Administrator of the US Small Business Administration, Marla Bilonick, President & CEO of the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders, and other industry experts.
The event, scheduled for Tuesday, February 13, 2024, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EST, offers both in-person and virtual participation options, with in-person check-in starting at 10:30 a.m. The discussion is particularly relevant in the context of the significant challenges and transformations small businesses have experienced in recent years. To attend, participants can register for this hybrid event on the Urban Institute’s website. The event is made possible with funding from the Wells Fargo Foundation.
Source: The Urban Institute
According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, small businesses in the United States enjoy the highest level of public approval among various institutions, with 86 percent of respondents expressing a positive view, up from 80 percent in October 2022. The bipartisan support for small businesses is notable, as 88 percent of Democrats and 87 percent of Republicans believe they have a positive impact on the country’s trajectory. This widespread favorability stands in contrast to the negative perception of large corporations and financial institutions, both of which received predominantly unfavorable responses. The survey also highlighted positive sentiments toward the military and religious organizations, while labor unions, despite a historic low membership rate, garnered a 55 percent approval rating. The study was conducted between January 16 and January 21, polling 5,140 adults.
Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman of the U.S. Small Business Administration discussed the growth of Black entrepreneurship at Clark Atlanta University, emphasizing the need to connect Black and minority entrepreneurs with funding opportunities. While celebrating the recent increase in small Black businesses, Guzman acknowledged the challenges of capital and market gaps due to systemic racism. Federal data revealed a disparity in contracting dollars allocated to minority-owned businesses, with only 9.6% in Fiscal Year 2022. Guzman acknowledged the need to streamline processes and provide more training to address difficulties in obtaining government contracts. During her visit, Guzman also highlighted the expansion of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Development at Clark Atlanta, which supports various entrepreneurship initiatives. She is set to speak at the 2024 Small Business Conference in Atlanta, focusing on the SBA’s minority business development program.
Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
In January, the U.S. job market saw an impressive surge, with employers adding 353,000 jobs, surpassing economists’ predictions and marking a consecutive month of robust hiring. The unexpected growth in average hourly wages by 0.6% from December, the fastest monthly gain in nearly two years, and 4.5% from January 2023, adds complexity to the Federal Reserve’s plan to cut interest rates later in the year. The unemployment rate remained stable at 3.7%, just above a half-century low. The report revealed broad-based hiring gains across sectors, including professional and business services, healthcare, retail, government, and manufacturing. Despite some concerns about potential inflation, Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su highlighted consistent wage growth outpacing inflation, providing working individuals and families with increased financial security. While the strong job market and wage growth could impact the Federal Reserve’s decision on interest rates, concerns about declining average work hours suggest potential challenges in sustaining the current pace of job growth.