Updated: Sep 1, 2020
If we are going to create new jobs and stabilize our post-COVID economy, we need to support entrepreneurs.
Every business started with an entrepreneur. Yet politicians tend to hear from large firms, shaping a narrative about business needs and what makes a strong economy. Entrepreneurs need a level playing field to compete with established businesses, which have better access to policymakers. Among other things, this means economic development efforts should support local business owners and not just offer incentives to attract outside businesses. Policymakers should prioritize the development of supportive ecosystems that help everyday people start businesses, and they should cut red tape that holds Winchester residents back.
New businesses created by entrepreneurs are the primary source of almost all new jobs in the United States. (Here's the research)
My experience as a small business owner and President of the Old Town Winchester Business Association make me uniquely qualified to stand up for entrepreneurs in Winchester. I understands how difficult it can be to overcome obstacles and start a new venture.
Here's what we can do:
Direct departments to invest in entrepreneurs instead of prioritizing business recruitment
Charge economic development with making the support of new, homegrown entrepreneurs a top priority
Direct city departments to collect and use data on new businesses in order to appropriately target interventions that reduce barriers to new business development and sustainability
Listen to citizens on how to address barriers to starting and growing businesses
Review of the impact of existing ordinances, licensing, permits, zoning requirements, and other regulations on the creation of new businesses
Play a leading role in supporting incubators, accelerators, and other entrepreneur support organizations
Support a place-based identity or brand for locally made goods and services to support local makers and entrepreneurs
My experience in this area:
Employed as the Northern Shenandoah Valley Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Builder 2020
Co-Chair of the Tech and Innovation Coalition of TVRC 2019
Master's Degree in Organizational Leadership 2019
Old Town Winchester Business Association President 2015-2016
Managed an Old Town Winchester business 2012-2014
Co-owner of a laser engraving company 2009-2011
Raised in a family of entrepreneurs