On Saturday, January 23, 2010, Congressman Mike Michaud, a member of the House Small Business Committee, joined small business owners and representatives from local programs that support entrepreneurs for a morning of discussion designed specifically to help small businesses continue to run and grow in these challenging times. A photo from the event at the University of Southern Maine's Lewiston-Auburn College Campus is attached.
"The economy is struggling and Maine's small business owners are doing all they can to do right by their businesses and employees," said Michaud. "At the event, we explored resources here in Maine that businesses can use to not only get through this tough period in our economy, but come out in a better place as the recovery gains steam."
After a welcome by Michaud and Small Business Administration (SBA) Regional Administrator Jeanne Hulit, the business owners and resource partners broke out into roundtables to share advice and experiences on a number of different topics, including: tax information and bookkeeping, government contracting, businesses assistance, financial planning and credit recovery, and loan programs.
"We had a diverse amount of expertise in the room, and everyone brought something valuable to the discussion," said Michaud. "It was extremely helpful for me to hear firsthand what our businesses are going through so that I can bring their concerns to Capitol Hill. I believe Washington needs to do more for our small businesses. They are the real job creators."
While the Recovery Act contained important tax benefits and increased lending opportunities, Michaud believes that more needs to be done. He recently worked with his colleagues on the Small Business Committee to pass a number of policies that would benefit small businesses, including eliminating SBA loan fees and strengthening federal loan guarantees so that access to capital is more affordable and available. Michaud also worked with his colleagues to update SBA lending and business development programs, which would bring policies up to date and better reflect the needs of businesses today. A number of these policies await action by the U.S. Senate.
"Combined, these policies could give a boost to entrepreneurs," said Michaud. "But I think we should also be looking at easing the tax burden and making sure red tape doesn't get in the way of small business growth. We need all options on the table when it comes to creating the economic environment for job creation in our country."