Entrepreneur bill

Entrepreneur Bill

Veteran Business Owners: Entrepreneurship Bill a Waste

A national group of veteran business owners thinks a $234-million bill that overwhelmingly passed the House and is supposed to generate jobs for veterans is a waste of taxpayers' money. The Job Creation through Entrepreneurship Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives in May 2009 by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 406-15. The bill would in theory generate jobs for veterans through the establishment of Veterans Business Centers within the Small Business Administration.

The bill, sponsored by Heath Shuler, D-N.C., funds business centers that would provide "veterans' entrepreneurial development, counseling of veteran-owned small businesses and government procurement assistance to veterans." They would be located in areas "where the population of veterans exceed the national median."

For non-veterans, the bill would:
-Fund online learning for potential entrepreneurs and an online peer-to-peer technical assistance.
-Fund strategies for increased Native-American entrepreneurship and expand their access to capital.
-Revise the SBA's women's business programs.
-Provide assistance to small businesses facing higher costs resulting from a program to impose a tax on carbon emissions.
-Fund a program to train low-income and unemployed people on starting a "micro-enterprise" business, with not more than six employees.

"This bill scratches a non-existent itch," said Chris Hale, president of the National Veteran-Owned Business Association. "It seems an incredibly wasteful use of taxpayer dollars because, quite simply, the problem has never been that veterans need help in starting a business," said Hale, whose group advocates for veteran-owned businesses as preferred vendors. Many government programs already provide business counseling services, Hale added, including the SBA's Office of Veterans Business Development and its Small Business Development Centers. He cited census data that shows three million veteran-owned businesses and finds vets are twice as likely as non-veterans to own a business. "Seems like the military does a pretty good job training veterans for business ownership," Hale said. "Leadership? Check. Discipline? Check. Pressure-tested? Check. Insane work ethic? Check. Willing to take risk? Check. You get the point."

But action in the Senate has been stalled because of a "secret hold" on the bill, which halts floor consideration of the matter and which any senator can do anonymously. It is one of 309 such bills currently stalled in the Senate. "I cannot vouch for the reasons why this anonymous senator has decided to block this bill," Hale said. "But I can tell you that I would do the same."

"We're not sure who's got the hold on it and not sure why, frankly," said Molly Brogan, vice president of public affairs for the National Small Business Association. "It's a 'relatively' benign bill that would enhance technical assistance programs and 'streamline' the SBA's assistance programs. We testified on the Job Creation through Entrepreneurship Act back in 2009, and are generally supportive of it, though I would not put it at the top of our list of things that we'd like Congress to act on."

Source: Rob Reuteman via foxsmallbusinesscenter.com

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