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Coalition Roundup: June 25, 2021

In recent weeks, policymakers have worked on a variety of issues spanning policy domains — though nearly all have an impact on entrepreneurship. Among the current areas of focus: immigration and big tech.

Though different in many regards, a common thread unites both: the importance of leveling the playing field and ensuring prospective entrepreneurs have a fair shot at building and growing a business.

Immigrants are almost twice as likely to start a business as native-born Americans, and yet the door is closed to far too many. Meanwhile, despite new and small businesses accounting for nearly all net new jobs, policymakers often prioritize big, established corporations.

As policymakers deliberate, members of the Start Us Up coalition have been active in advocating for a level playing field for all entrepreneurs.

Access to Markets
Earlier this month, the American Economic Liberties Project launched Access to Markets, a new member of the coalition and an initiative led by entrepreneurs to “ensure policymakers prioritize fair access to markets not only for ourselves, but for the next generation of inventors, creators, and business leaders committed to competing with better products and services.” The initiative envisions a future where competition isn’t stifled, and where markets “are fair and democratic, not controlled by a few dominant corporations.”

The advisory board is comprised of entrepreneurship champions from across the country, including John Arensmeyer, CEO of Small Business Majority.

Small Business Rising: Town Hall on Corporate Power
Earlier this year, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance co-founded Small Business Rising, a coalition of independent business groups also working to address an uneven playing field where “monopolistic corporations … are blocking small businesses from competing.” Last week, the coalition co-hosted an antimonopoly town hall with U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, with participants including small business owners, workers, activists, journalists, and Hill staffers.

During the event, Angela Schwesnedi, owner of Moon Palace Books and a member of Main Street Alliance — a member of both the Start Us Up and Small Business Rising coalitions — discussed Amazon’s impact on the independent bookstore industry, underscoring how Amazon, like other corporate giants, undermines competition.

Investing in the Innovative Ideas of Immigrant Startup Founders
Last week, Engine interviewed Manan Mehta of Unshackled Ventures, a venture capital fund supporting immigrant entrepreneurs. In discussing the ways government can best support immigrant entrepreneurs, Mehta put it bluntly: “Full stop, we need a startup visa. … I think it’s time to recognize that we are educating, employing, and using U.S. taxpayer dollars for immigrant students and others that immigrate here but are constrained by the current system. Let them build and employ more Americans. We have at least two dozen nations right now trying to recruit them out of our country. None less than Canada, who put billboards on highway 101 in Silicon Valley to recruit immigrants to come build their company there.”

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