The entrepreneurial spirit is what drives this country. In fact, small businesses and start-ups are responsible for creating two out of every three new jobs in the United States. And more than half of all working Americans own or work for a small business. That’s why helping to create an environment where more businesses are easily able to start and succeed has been an important goal for this administration.
Today, our agencies — the Small Business Administration and Department of Labor — teamed up for another step forward on this path, announcing a new website to help states offer Self-Employment Assistance programs to those looking to create jobs in their communities. Self-Employment Assistance provides Unemployment Insurance recipients interested in starting a business with financial assistance, critical entrepreneurial training and resources to get those businesses off the ground.
On the website, you’ll find model legislation that your state can use to enact these programs, as well as a new online toolkit from the Small Business Administration, which offers courses and training on how to start a business. “How to Prepare a Business Plan” and “Franchising Basics” are just a few of the courses that are offered to up-and-coming entrepreneurs. There are also courses on obtaining money for small businesses, entrepreneurship and business planning, entrepreneurial marketing, developing entrepreneurial work styles, as well as a host of other topics including accounting, marketing, legal facets, sales and taxes.
This initiative is part of a larger package of common-sense measures that are helping to turn the Unemployment Insurance program into a re-employment program. Earlier this year, President Obama signed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 − the first major overhaul of UI in four decades. Along with providing states tools to help prevent job losses and assist the unemployed in getting back to work quicker, the legislation also provided $35 million for states to create Self-Employment Assistance programs and expand entrepreneurship opportunities — like today’s announcement.
We’re excited about the ingenuity that will result from the Self-Employment Assistance program. This new site and the resources it provides will help expand access to the program, helping promising business owners create opportunities for themselves as well as new jobs for others.
Karen Mills is the administrator of the Small Business Administration. Hilda Solis is the secretary of labor.