The U.S. Senate is getting advice from some Nebraskans on entrepreneurship and capital for small businesses.
Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE), who serves on the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, organized the hearing in Lincoln.
Less paperwork for startups and streamlining the Small Business Administration (SBA) were two ideas mentioned.
T.J. Casady, Union Bank and Trust vice president for commercial lending, said the SBA’s district office is a great resource, but the federal rules and regulations are too much.
“I think they (SBA) have a lot of work to do,” Casady said. “You have to upload, in my opinion, an unreasonable amount of data and documentation. Then, the process of waiting for notification back from SBA can take several weeks.”
Casady says the SBA could also work on improving its customer service.
Julia Parker, Omaha Small Business Network executive director, testified about how her organization helps clients with microloans of up to $50,000.
“I’ve seen an uptick in the need, definitely,” she tells Nebraska Radio Network. “As banks are moving away from small business lending, it’s become more complicated, more cumbersome for our clients, so I think entrepreneurs are looking for an alternative route to success.”
Restaurants, childcare centers, and food trucks are the most common types of new business ideas Parker says she has seen lately.
Entrepreneur Eric Dinger said access to investment dollars is not as easy in this part of the country.
He suggests “venture repatriation” – reducing taxes on companies that bring back cash from foreign investments, so those could be reinvested here.
“A company, like Apple or any other company, could have some form of amnesty to bring that money back into the country and invest those dollars in startup that they own less than 50 percent of,” Dinger said. “In other words, we give them incentive to grow our economy.”
Dinger says current technology makes starting a business easier and faster, but he says the federal bureaucracy still slows down the process.
Testimony given at Wednesday’s hearing will be shared with the full U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Senate members will have an opportunity to submit questions for those who testified over the next two weeks.