U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has already said she wants to be “the president for small business.” Today, she told us more about how she would get there — and how she would particularly help women, people of color, and up-and-comers looking to start companies.
Clinton’s campaign released a wide-ranging initiative to revolutionize technology and innovation in the United States by tackling several key problems plaguing startups throughout the country.
“Our economy depends on entrepreneurial drive to jumpstart innovation and job growth,” she said in a statement on her campaign site.
Her policy proposal spotlights several pain points for communities of entrepreneurs that often struggle to get ahead, including the dearth of bank loans made to women business owners and limited amount venture capital funding given to women of color. ”The result is that too few Americans are benefiting from the opportunity to access capital and put their job-creating ideas to the test,” she said.
Clinton also emphasized the need to support Millennial business owners, whom she referred to as “the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators.”
She proposed a plan to defer outstanding student loan debt for up to 3 years, which she said would allow young entrepreneurs to focus both their resources and energy on getting new ventures off the ground. She additionally suggested new avenues for debt forgiveness of up to $17,500, and recommended extending similar benefits to early employees of startup companies.
Clinton also recommended increasing investment in and support for accelerators, incubators and mentorship programs that can give entrepreneurs of all ages and backgrounds the training and tools they need to start and grow businesses more responsibly and efficiently.
Small business has not been a major issue in this election cycle, for any candidate from either party. But Clinton seems to be stepping into that void with a commitment to address the real issues holding back particular sects of the startup community, and to fostering entrepreneurship in America.
“It’s time to take concrete action to remove the barriers that prevent so many millennials from pursuing their dreams and empower them to start something,” she said in the statement, “whether it be a social or civic enterprise, small business, or nonprofit.”