To the White House and Back

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In May I was honored to be invited to the White House.  The Small Business Majority selected 100 small business owners from across the country to participate in a Small Business Leadership Summit.

It consisted of 3 days of discussion, panels, break out discussions and lots and lots of Q & A with President Obama’s top advisors.

And they were listening, and scribbling notes the entire time.  It seems to me this is how democracy should work.  Open dialogue between the policy makers and the folks with boots on the ground.

When you put 100 leaders in a room to discuss how our government can better support small business in America, there are lots of lots of fiery opinions tossed about.  It was neat to see how many commonalities exist between so many of us business owners regardless of what industry we are in and what part of the country we occupy.  Workforce training, and simplifying the tax code were issues that rose to the top.

Calhoun White House

The one question I asked in the tax reform panel was how businesses like Red Ants Pants, that choose to pay higher prices for US manufacturing so we can keep jobs here, can be supported through potential tax credits.  The whole crowd busted into applause which was encouraging that my question had struck a nerve.  No definitive solutions were promised, but I was glad to raise the issue and feel the support from my peers.

One statistic I heard in DC blew my mind and just reinforced the fact that small businesses are so darn important:

If every small business in America created just one additional job, then our entire nation’s unemployment would be wiped clean. That is pretty impressive.

Not only are small businesses driving the economy, but we’re the heart of our communities.  We’re the faces behind the hardware stores, markets, bakeries and retails shops. We are the ones supporting our local baseball teams and school groups.  We are being held accountable to our customers because we have a name and a face, and a place in our towns.

So thanks to all you business owners out there, and thanks to all of you who support small businesses in America.

You rock.

We love you.

Sarah Calhoun

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