Updated May 17, 2023 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on supporting small business growth

On Wednesday, May 17 in Washington, D.C., Axios business reporters Erica Pandey and Nathan Bomey hosted conversations examining innovations and policies that are supporting small businesses. Guests included Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas), Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), and National Economic Council deputy director Bharat Ramamurti. A View from the Top sponsored segment featured PayPal VP of microbusiness Bernardo Martinez.

Rep. Roger Williams shared his view that there should be less government intervention and regulation in the small business sector.

  • On what worries him most about the state of small business: “What worries me most of all is government intervention. Any time the government gets involved in something, they cannot do it like the private sector. They can’t build a product like the private sector. They can’t give service like the private sector. So regulations can choke a small business and you carry it further, regulations can choke a bank, a lender to where it’s almost impossible to borrow money and so forth. You got to have capital to be able to do business. Regulations and high taxes are my biggest concern for small business.”

Sen. John Hickenlooper discussed issues stemming from the regional banking crisis and the importance of maintaining strong small, community banks in America.

  • On short selling to banks: “What we’re seeing, it’s hard to tell whether this is going to be a trend or not. But we’re seeing short selling to banks, which I think is questionable. I’m not sure we want to outlaw it, but I think we should be really looking at it and studying whether that’s any real benefit to our economy to allow … Deposits are, and actually Elizabeth Warren said this to me, deposits are the infrastructure of our economy, and they are what allow any small business to expand, to grow, to go off and develop new lines of business, and we should figure out more ways to protect them.”

Bharat Ramamurti explained how recent SBA rule changes around lending are aiming to expand access to capital by allowing some fintechs and other non-bank lenders to offer loans guaranteed by the SBA.

  • On the SBLC rule change: “SBA recently announced a couple of changes to longstanding rules that were intended to, at least at the margins, make it a little bit easier for businesses to access capital. One is called the SBLC rule. It’s a rule that allows certain types of non-bank lenders to get access to SBA programs that provide subsidized credits.”

In the View from the Top segment, Bernardo Martinez highlighted the remaining challenges for small business growth.

  • “If you look at a small business and you look at any survey in any part of the world, they still have a gap on capital access. They don’t have enough capital to support their growth. And I think that’s the number one problem for all of us, to be quite honest, because I would say a small business problem is everyone’s problem.”

Thank you to PayPal for sponsoring this event.

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