Where Do Jobs Come From?

What happens when you bring together small business owners, academics, and policymakers to discuss the issue of job creation? You get the Office of Advocacy’s most recent symposium, High-Impact Entrepreneurship Outlook: Finance and Innovation Create Jobs.

The gathering took place in the historic Kennedy Caucus Room in the Senate’s Russell Building. The meeting room was the site of the Watergate and Iran Contra hearings as well as the announcement of President Kennedy’s and Senator Robert Kennedy’s runs for the White House. The historic setting didn’t inhibit a lively discussion.

The symposium was a scene setter for where we are in the early 21st century; participants looked at the importance of innovation and incentives, discussed the role of financing high impact firms, and provided some information on what the federal government is doing to help.

As Chief Counsel for Advocacy Winslow Sargeant stated in his opening remarks, “Growing a business is challenging, creating jobs is challenging, growing an economy is challenging; but we have the tools and commitment to do all of these.” I don’t believe the audience disagreed with either sentiment. With all the talk about the economy entering a “new normal,” where the relative prosperity of our past will no longer be our future, the program participants were realistic in their assessment of the economy’s current state but optimistic about its future.

Margaret Graham, associate professor at McGill University, evaluated the role of venture capital financing and the way business schools currently approach it. Kevin Conroy, president and CEO of Exact Sciences Corporation, talked about the challenges he faced in securing financing for his high-growth firm. He also talked about the role and the importance of government innovation funding and its potential impact for growing firms.

In her remarks, SBA Administrator Karen Mills announced that a 23 percent spike in financing from SBA’s growth capital program occurred in fiscal year 2010, providing a record $1.6 billion to help small businesses grow and create jobs. The fiscal year 2010 volume is the highest single-year volume in the 50-year history of SBA’s Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) debenture program.

Gene Sperling, counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury, provided a detailed analysis of what is in the Small Business Jobs Act, recently signed into law by President Obama, and how it will help small business and create jobs.

By bringing together this group, Advocacy continued its commitment to promoting discussions to help America’s small businesses.

Patrick Morris, Public Liaison & Media Manager

13 Comments
  1. Thomas Retterbush, Investigator says

    I still ask myself, why doesn’t average Joe Public hear about these meetings? Why aren’t they in mainstream media? If you think this doesn’t interest mainstream America, or that this isn’t news, I’ve got news for you; as a Blogger writing about all sorts of subjects, I get more response to issues concerning the economy than any other. Anything concerning the economy and jobs IS news! And we, mainstream America, want to know about any and all meetings concerning these issues!

  2. Oleg says

    It’s great that in the USA actions in support of small business are carried out. Small business in Ukraine are assessed by unreasonable taxes. High level of corruption and high taxes do impossible development of small business.

  3. Tom says

    When you really thing about it jobs come from average people like you and me from incentives that are usually created by the government. I think the best way to get jobs growing again is to energize small business people so they can benefit from having a business. This could include tax cuts, tax breaks, and other incentives.

  4. james says

    It’s heartening to hear of SBA’s effort in job creation!

  5. Nathaneal Mohr says

    Well said..As small business owners..we are the opportunity everyone is looking for when it comes to creating more jobs..

  6. Stacie says

    Tom,
    Tax cuts, tax breaks, and other incentives benifit high growth firms with high income and cash flow. Those firms already have access to capitol and often have an advisory board that wants to slash jobs. Small businesses need operating capital for capital expendiatures, business services and SBA loans. Most small businesses are funded by the owners home equity loans. Therefore are stuck there. Tax breaks are less important than loans. When you get to the point of worrying about tax breaks you are doing OK. Therefore, the government should loan directly to small business through Universities, SBA and community banks. Not through rich bankers. Moreover, investors are only interested in innovation. But jobs come from the small companies that fullfill basic needs like manufacuturing, infrustructure construction, and services.

  7. Brad Fitz says

    Another case for why entrepreneurship should be taught in America’s High Schools.

    No – we’re told to study hard and fall in line, go to college and start live buried in debt, then and there will be a “good job” waiting for you when you graduate for $9 per hour.

    Make you own “jobs” people, stop playing it safe, waiting for other people to hand you your livelihood.

  8. Web Designer says

    “Growing a business is challenging” is putting it lightly. It would be great, as Thomas Retterbush said, to hear about these meets or even better yet, take part in them.

  9. Broomfield Chiropractor says

    My office employs 11 people and I would say that my partner (my wife, Melissa) and I created these jobs.

  10. Ray says

    It’s good to see the SBA getting behind job creation in Small Business

    Unfortunately Governments overall tend to dismiss the important role that small business has in the economy

  11. video marketing says

    Small Business owners need as much help as they can get. They do have very hard time surviving in this economy. Tax cuts definitely help.

  12. Arlen says

    While I have always been, and remain, a fan of the SBA and its substantial helps for small business, I disagree with the sentiment that the author reported from the meeting — that our future cannot be like the past. As far as speculation and rampant leveraging, of course not.

    But when it comes to opportunities to launch and grow small businesses to success, I believe that all the raw materials we had before are still there: innovation, dedication, and wisdom in matching product to market, etc.

    The worst thing a small business entrepreneur can do is assume her success depends on the government – or any outside factor – because that attitude prevents her from thinking and acting her way past obstacles.

    So I say to my fellow entrepreneurs, get SBA-backed funding and support, sure, but remember that it is the resourcefulness of the business owner that ultimately brings the venture to success, regardless of how it’s funded.

    In short, be optimistic … and take full responsibility for your venture. That combination will give us a future as bright as our past. We don’t have to settle for a “new normal” of reduced hope.

    Just one guy’s two-cents worth.

  13. Zi Xu Tang says

    I agree with Arlen’s comment above, you should not expect to rely on the government to help you succeed in business.

    It is through the lessons of not always having things go right that entrepreneurs learn to fine tune their businesses which results in better decisions in the long term.

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