In the middle of a presidential election cycle, amidst the conventions, the speeches, and the sound bytes, it's easy to overlook the real heroes of these national events, which are small business owners. Small businesses are responsible for everything from printing credentials for events, to designing merchandise, and even providing the cleaning services to the venues and offices. And, it is no surprise these heroes are everywhere, given that a full 97 percent of all business in the United States are small businesses.
These small businesses not only power the conventions, they are the fabric holding our communities together. Yet, these business often struggle when finding capital. Small businesses, particularly those owned by people of color or women, struggle to obtain the financing they need to start or grow their business. Women entrepreneurs start companies with 50 percent less than their male counterparts, and minority business owners are denied loans at nearly three times the rate of non-minority owned businesses.
This is a problem that is all too real in communities like Philadelphia and Cleveland. Small businesses are often forced to shut down under the weight of finding capital. It is why OFN launched Venturize, a campaign designed to equip small business owners to make the best choice for their business using clear, trustworthy information and mobile-friendly tools to compare financing options or prepare a loan application with no strings attached.
Venturize is just the beginning in the battle to provide small business owners the responsible capital that they need and we are calling on both parties to advocate for small businesses. We commend both the conventions for highlighting small business issues through their caucus meetings, and through various panels throughout the week. During this national campaign, Venturize is partnering with Business Forward and Voto Latino to promote the Venturize campaign to policymakers and delegates, many of whom are small business owners.