Rep. Axne's Rural Entrepreneurs Bill One Step Closer to House Passage
WASHINGTON – Today, during National Small Business Week, Rep. Axne applauded unanimous committee passage of her bipartisan legislation she introduced to support rural entrepreneurs. The House Financial Services Committee today unanimously voted to advance the Expanding Access to Capital for Rural Job Creators Act to the full House for a vote. The legislation would ensure rural entrepreneurs and small business owners have a seat at the table as federal policymakers consider new rules that govern investment and capital.
Rep. Axne was joined by five of her colleagues, including U.S. Reps. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Alex Mooney (R-WV), Denver Riggleman (R-VA), and John Rose (R-TN) in introducing this bill.
“As a small business owner, I know how difficult it can be to access the capital you need to succeed. Rural entrepreneurs face unique challenges when it comes to accessing capital, but far too often, their voices are left out of the conversation,” said Rep. Axne, a member of the House Financial Services Committee. “Too many young people are leaving our rural towns because of a lack of job opportunities and economic development. By ensuring Washington listens to the voices of rural small business owners, this legislation will improve the entrepreneurial culture in rural Iowa and create jobs in every corner of the state.”
The Office of the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation (OASB) at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was established to promote the interests of small businesses, with a focus on supporting women and minority-owned businesses as well as those affected by natural disasters. The Advocate provides an annual report on the problems rural entrepreneurs face in obtaining accessing capital. Rep. Axne’s legislation would expand the focus areas of the Advocate to include rural-area small businesses. This data will help Congress and federal regulators make better informed decisions on how best to support economic growth in rural America.
Rural entrepreneurs and small business owners face unique challenges in accessing capital. According to a survey of businesses led by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, rural small businesses are less likely to grow than their urban counterparts and nearly half of rural small businesses lack sufficient financing. Seventy-one percent of rural small businesses are a low credit risk, but only 49% receive the full amount of the financing they seek. Only 28% of rural small businesses had increased employment in the last 12 months and only 35% are expected to do so in the next year, compared with 37% and 51% respectively for urban businesses.
A Senate companion version of this bill has been introduced by U.S. Senators Doug Jones (D-AL) and John Kennedy (R-LA).
Text of the legislation is available here.