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Fed Chief Bernanke Shines A Spotlight On Small Businesses

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 11/10/2011

Recognizing the importance of small businesses in the economic recovery, Ben Bernanke urges policymakers to step up their efforts to promote small business development.

The Washington Post reports that at the Fed's conference on small business and entrepreneurship on Wednesday, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke opened the conference with a plea for policymakers and government representatives to prioritize initiatives aimed directly at small businesses.

Small Business Policy - Federal Reserve

"Small businesses have played an important role in fueling past economic recoveries," Bernanke said. "We need to think carefully about how, in the current economic environment, our nation can best provide small businesses and entrepreneurs with the support they need to expand job opportunities."

Bernanke's comments come on the heels of last week's October jobless report, which indicated the U.S. unemployment rate remains virtually unchanged at 9%.

Yet there appears to be little agreement about specific steps policymakers can take to spur small business growth. Within the small business community, opinions vary about the most pressing issues entrepreneurs face in the current economy.

While some point to sluggish consumer demand, others identify lack of credit availability or restrictive government policies as the primary obstacles to growth in the small business sector.

Still, small business experts are nearly unanimous in their belief that there is no single, "magic pill" for small business and that SMB growth initiatives will likely need to address a combination of factors.

According to Alicia Robb, conference speaker and senior research fellow at the Kauffman Foundation, despite the fact that sales is the most recognized problem for business owners, "that doesn't mean credit isn't still a problem."

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