Chinatown Him Mark Lai Library
San Francisco, California
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I want to thank all of the elected officials and community leaders who are here to join me for this very important conversation, which is about our small businesses and what we can do to support them, what we can do to support the owners and the leaders of these small businesses. Because they truly are not only business leaders, they are community leaders, they are civic leaders.
And the work they do is the work of — of encouraging innovation, encouraging ambition and aspiration. The work they do is about supporting the members of — of their community within the neighborhood, but down the street. All of society benefits from their work.
And as we have discussed, half of America’s workforce works for or runs a small business. So, we are talking about a substantial number of people who benefit the entire economy of our nation.
I want to thank Mayor Breed for your leadership and for being here.
President of the Board of Supervisors Aaron Peskin; City Attorney David Chiu; Connie Chan, member of the Board of Supervisors — for your leadership. It definitely — and the work that we do to support small businesses requires that kind of partnership between government and also between our community banks.
And members of the — the CDFI community are here, along with SBA to talk about how we can continue to invest in a smart way.
A lot of the work our administration has done to support small businesses has been to invest in community banks, also known as CDFIs. And the reason is pretty simple: They are situated in the neighborhood, in the community. They understand the culture. They understand the mores. They understand the needs. They understand the capacity in a way that the big banks don’t always.
And so, when we are able to invest, as we have done — back when I was in the Senate, we put 12 billion more dollars into the community banks. And we are now creating more partnerships with a lot of the bigger financial institutions to also invest in the community banks in a way that we can support small businesses.
The work that these community bank — CDFIs — are doing is not only about a loan; it is about helping a small-business owner believe in their capacity and then have the resources that are necessary to successfully run a small business.
So that might include giving some support and feedback around how to deal with payroll, how to deal with taxes, how to think about investing in the capital of the business so that the business can grow and thrive.
So, I want to thank everybody who is here. The work of our administration, in the last two years, has resulted, in these two years, the largest growth of small businesses in America for any two-year period in our history. And it has been very intentional.
The work we did at the height of the pandemic was about making sure that our small businesses could stay open. But the work has also been about an investment in the medium- and the long-term to grow small businesses in America, which, by extension, means growing the job market, growing jobs, and allowing communities to thrive.
In particular, it is an interesting fact — and then our Administrator Guzman of the Small Business Association — Administration mentioned this to me — the work that we have done as an administration — for example, with the Inflation Reduction Act and the CHIPS and Science Act, coupled with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law — is in total going to put trillions of dollars into our economy in a number of ways.
And one way that I’m most excited about is around a clean energy economy, around building up resilience and adaptation as it relates to the extreme climate that we are experiencing as a country and as a world.
We are investing in American manufacturing. We are investing in the idea that we have the talent, we have the skills to actually grow what we can do as a nation in terms of building here and investing in innovation in a new economy, a clean energy economy.
How does that connect with small businesses? Seventy-five percent of manufacturing companies in America are 20 or fewer employees. These are small businesses.
So, we have folks here who understand software, who understand startup work, who understand what it means to think about technology and innovation in terms of the future of our country. And most of that is being generated by small businesses.
So, the connections are very real. They are very clear.
And for all of those reasons, this is an important conversation we are having this afternoon.
And I want to thank, again, all the elected leaders and community leaders for your work.
And, with that, let’s begin our discussion. Thank you.