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A Stimulus for Entrepreneurship

Mark Marich

Last week, PDE reported on several measures under discussion in Washington that would put entrepreneurs at the forefront of recovery efforts. Some of these measures are moving quickly.

On Friday, Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair, Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., introduced a bill increasing limits on small business loans. “I have held several hearings, roundtables and other events and have heard from lenders and small business owners that the current loan limits do not adequately meet their needs. That is why today I am introducing legislation to raise the limits on small business loans to as high as $5.5 million. Coupled with lower-cost capital available to community lenders, these higher loan limits will spur small business growth and aid in our nation’s continued economic recovery,” said Sen. Landrieu.

Last Wednesday, the President spoke in favor efforts to stimulate small business growth, including a measure that would make capital cheaper for community banks.

That same day, Rep. Glenn Nye (D-VA) introduced H.R. 3738, the "Small Business Early-Stage Investment Act of 2009," to provide early-stage capital for small businesses in targeted industries, such as energy technology, clean technology and environmental technology. The bill would create a $250 million program within the SBA, with grants to be distributed through the existing venture capital network. The House Small Business Committee held a hearing on the bill last week in which Committee members and witnesses from organization such as the Biotechnology Industry Organization, American Osteopathic Association, National Association of Development Companies and National Venture Capital Association spoke in support of the legislation.

Congress is set to work on these ideas this week, according to a statement to reporters by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made last Thursday when she highlighted that helping small businesses creates jobs. The House of Representatives will debate a bill, backed by President Obama, to increase the ceiling on Small Business Administration (SBA) loans from $2 million to $5 million. The bill would also raise the maximum size of SBA-backed microloans from $35,000 to $50,000.

We will keep you posted.

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