Promoting Small Businesses: Startup Nation

As an entrepreneur, I understand the important role small business plays in promoting innovation, creating jobs that pay well, and supporting middle class families. We need to unleash the entrepreneurial power of citizens to create small businesses — bakeries, stores, small factories, restaurants and tech companies. New companies are opening in Silicon Valley, Manhattan and Brooklyn. Why not also the Bronx, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle and Yonkers?

In Congress, I will propose the Start-Up Nation Act, which will fully fund the US Small Business Administration (SBA) to unleash the power of millennials, women and minorities of any age to reach their potential as entrepreneurs. Here’s how it would work:

  • Anyone without access to capital can apply for a Start-Up Nation Grant. The application will be easily accessible on the SBA website.
  • Millennials with college debt will receive debt relief and debt forgiveness while they start a company
    • If, after 5 full years of operation, they have created 3 full time paying jobs, 30% of their debt will be forgiven
    • If they create 5 full time paying jobs — 50% of their debt will be forgiven
    • If they create 10 full time paying jobs — 100% of their debt will be forgiven.
  • While grant recipients are starting a company, the SBA will pay for interest and principal payments of the student loans.
  • All grant recipients will receive the same benefits as unemployed persons, including health insurance for 12 months while they get their company off the ground. It’s a bare-bones safety net to encourage risk taking, not a free ride.
  • Incubation Centers for startups, financed by the SBA, can help revitalize city centers. Underutilized spaces across the district will be transformed into energetic hubs of economic activity.

The benefits for taxpayers are clear:

  • A new wave of entrepreneurship boosts our economy, creates opportunity for all, and grows our tax base to support the social safety net.
  • This plan will promote a more stable economy by improving the balance between big and small companies.
  • Small companies will give the SBA a modest revenue share in the business. When these startups are successful, they can buy out the revenue share of the government. Proceeds from an entrepreneur’s decision to buy-out the taxpayer will be recirculated into the Start-Up Nation Fund at the SBA.