The past two years have shown us that despite the will of the American people and aspiring entrepreneurs across the country, our nation’s systems continue to impact different populations in significantly different ways.
Our nation’s wealth gap remains jarring and evident throughout the process of starting a business. Black households hold a median net worth that is one-tenth of typical white households – with Latino households facing the similar disparity. With less personal wealth, minority business owners must seek outside funding, except Black entrepreneurs see their loan requests approved three times less than those of white entrepreneurs – a difference that persists even after accounting for credit scores and net worth.
These inequities continue for women and those who live in rural geographic areas. The gender pay gap puts a disproportionate strain on female entrepreneurs and more than 80% of all venture capital continues to flow toward the three coastal states of California, Massachusetts, and New York.
In addition to pervasive inequities, a recent report from Start Us Up coalition member Institute for Justice quantified the regulatory process and red tape involved for starting a business in 20 cities across the country. To open a restaurant in Boston, for example, entrepreneurs must endure a grueling 92-step process that requires 22 forms, 17 in-person visits, and 12 separate fees totaling over $5,000. These regulatory requirements are often too expensive and time-intensive for entrepreneurs with less income and too difficult to navigate for immigrants navigating cultural and language barriers.
As a country, we have yet to create a level playing field for all of our communities. But we still can. America’s New Business Plan, updated for 2022, offers a nonpartisan policy roadmap to creating a more inclusive economy by concentrating on entrepreneur-focused economic development and building a prepared workforce.
The refreshed four-part plan aims to create new, good jobs and rebuild an economy that works for everyone, with practical and achievable ideas that can be implemented immediately. New for 2022 are policy recommendations that build inclusive economic opportunity through the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
The full slate of updated policy recommendations can be found below and represent enormous possibility for policymakers at all levels to support new and future entrepreneurs at a critical time for America’s economy. While all recommendations have been updated to meet the moment of 2022, new policies are highlighted below.
ACCESS TO OPPORTUNITY: A Level Playing Field That Reduces Barriers
- Streamline the Process of Starting a Business
- Create Opportunity with Infrastructure Investment
- Improve Connection to the Digital Economy
- Accelerate the Workforce and Job-Creating Power of Immigrants
- Unlock Entrepreneurial Activity by Reforming Noncompete Agreements
- Rein in Occupational Licensing
- Reduce Debt-Imposed Barriers to Entry
ACCESS TO FUNDING: A Holistic, Accessible, and Innovative Approach to Capital
- Level the Economic Playing Field for Future Entrepreneurs
- Make a National Commitment to Expanding Access to Capital for All Entrepreneurs
- Invest in Local Financial Institutions
- Develop Non-Debt Entrepreneurial Capital Catalyst Grants
- Promote Online Tools to Drive Equitable Alternative Funding Opportunities
- Protect Entrepreneurs Through Truth-in-Lending Laws
ACCESS TO KNOWLEDGE: Real World Experience for the Workforce and to Start a Business
- Develop Inclusive Entrepreneur Support Mechanisms
- Prepare Students with an Entrepreneurial Mindset
- Foster a Prepared Workforce Equipped with Entrepreneurial Skills
ACCESS TO SUPPORT: The Ability for All to Take Risks
- Increase Access to Caregiving
- Provide Health Care Options for Early-Stage Entrepreneurs
- Provide Entrepreneurs Relief from Student Loan Debt
- Enable Entrepreneurs to Save for Retirement
Download the full version of America’s New Business Plan today.