Q9: Do you support strengthening minority and women-owned businesses through expanded federal programs?
Clinton: “I’ve said I want to be the “small business President” and particularly for women- and minority-owned businesses. We can’t afford to leave anyone on the sidelines; we need everyone on the field. But too many women and people of color, and especially women of color, face challenges in starting and growing their businesses. I’ve been a long-time supporter of the New Markets Tax Credit, which my husband signed into law, and which has encouraged billions of dollars in private funding for community development and small businesses. We should reauthorize the credit and make it permanent. We should provide more technical assistance that most women and minority business owners can’t afford to buy on their own, and build up local business networks that are so critical to giving owners the guidance, mentorship, and access to capital they need to grow and succeed.
We should also have ambitious goals at the federal and state levels, and ensure a level-playing field for women- and minority-owned businesses. As President, I would ensure that women- and minority-owned small business owners secure federal contracts.
This isn’t a new fight for me. As Senator, I cosponsored the Minority Entrepreneurship Development Act to create an office within the Small Business Administration to monitor the services the agency is required by law to provide to minority-owned businesses and work to increase the proportion of loans made to minority-owned businesses and the share of federal contracts they receive.”
Sanders: Yes. “If we are serious about rebuilding the middle class and reducing income and wealth inequality, we have got to unlock the economic potential of minority and women-owned businesses. I strongly believe we need to promote the talent of women and minority business leaders and foster the success of a new generation of entrepreneurs to expand the economy and create millions of new jobs. As President, I would expand access and opportunities for women and minority owned businesses to level the playing field and grow the economy in a fair way.”
Carson: “My objective is seeing that businesses and business opportunity is accessible for people of all genders and ethnicities based upon their business credibility not gender or ethnicity. I believe in measurements and evaluations that yield real world positive outcomes.”
Q10: Do you support expanding Small Business Administration funding for 8a, HUB zones and/or targeted set-asides for women?
Clinton: “I believe we must level the field for women-and minority-owned businesses and we need a vigorous approach. As President, I would emphasize SBA programs that have set-asides for women- and minority-owned businesses because I think we have to help people get their foot on the first rung of the ladder of economic opportunity. As Senator, I also worked to help small businesses, particularly small businesses that are minority businesses and women-owned businesses.”
Sanders: Yes. “For too long, Wall Street has allowed billionaire executives to make decisions that negatively impact small businesses and the middle class. Beyond reigning in Wall Street, the government needs to do more to encourage and support small businesses and provide targeted set-asides for women. In 2012, and again in 2013, I co-sponsored the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act because small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and as President, I would expand the Small Business Administration to provide low-interest loans and grant opportunities to help small businesses thrive.”
Carson: “Our objective should never be promoting programs; rather we must focus on expanding business opportunities. We all into a trap in assuming that a federal program resolves everything. The answer lies in creating a business environment in which all businesses can flourish, including those run by women.”
Q11: Do you support tracking federal contracts by race/ethnicity and gender so that it will be possible to determine the share of federal contracts that Black and other women of color owned businesses receive?
Clinton: “I support collecting information that would help us track how we are doing in awarding federal contracts to minority and women-owned businesses, including women of color.”
Sanders: Yes. “We, as a nation, cannot fix institutional and structural racism and sexism if we are not willing to measure its existence. We need to make sure every American has the opportunity to succeed and that can only be done if we’re willing to look critically at where we’re falling short as a country. I fully support the tracking federal contracts by race, ethnicity, and gender.”
Carson: “I am not opposed to gathering demographic information on business owners because it increases our understanding of business trends. However, while working to expand opportunity for all American business owners, we must recognize the challenges of setting artificial ceilings or floors for business opportunity or activity based on non-business criteria.”