24 OCT 2022

10,000 Small Businesses Voices Memo to Campaigns

TO: Campaigns for Congress
FR: Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices
RE: Small Business Issues on the Campaign Trail
DA: Monday, October 24, 2022


Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices is an initiative designed to help small business owners in the United States organize and advocate for policy changes that would help their businesses, their employees, and their communities. The program builds on Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, which over the past decade has provided free access to education, capital, and support services to more than 13,000 small business owners across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C.

Since the onset of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices has been surveying small business owners on a quarterly basis regarding the ever-evolving economic challenges they face. Policymakers in Washington and across the nation rely on Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Voices to speak on behalf of small business owners from every corner of the country.

Senate Campaign Debate Analysis

In the U.S. Senate debates that have happened so far in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, North Carolina, Florida, New Hampshire, Ohio, Utah, and Wisconsin, the candidates have discussed small business issues and referenced their work on behalf of small businesses. However, Senate candidates are so far only discussing small business within the context of broader economic trends. With less than three weeks to go until Election Day, candidates are not squarely addressing how they would help small businesses if elected. As trust in other institutions continues to decline, small business issues are a rare, bipartisan source of common ground.

Small business owners have tremendous influence among their networks, tend to be very politically engaged, and are leaders in their communities and drivers of their local economies. While small business owners appreciate the recognition of candidates for office, they expect clear policy proposals and solutions, and they often feel like they aren’t being heard in a substantive manner.

Policy Proposals

In consultation with thousands of small business owners and various experts, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices has proposed a series of policy areas that would help address the many challenges faced by small business owners, including:

  • Reauthorizing and modernizing the Small Business Administration (SBA) for the first time in 22 years;
  • Increasing access to affordable capital and making the process to access capital easier and more transparent;
  • Reforming the federal contracting and procurement process, including by increasing minority and women-owned small business participation;
  • Addressing workforce retention and recruitment challenges through education, training and other means;
  • Improving access to affordable and dependable childcare.

These are only a few of the top concerns from small business owners, who are also dealing with broader economic headwinds, including supply chain, inflation, and recession worries.

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices and the Bipartisan Policy Center recently released a detailed report outlining the challenges facing small businesses across the country. It can be read here.

Survey Data on Small Business Owners

According to the most recent Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices survey, the vast majority of small business owners are likely to vote in the midterm elections this November, with 93% of small business owners saying they are likely to vote and 86% saying they are definitely planning to vote.

Where candidates stand on small business priorities – notably support for the reauthorization of the SBA – will be a decisive factor.

  • 91% of small business owners say a candidate’s small business policy positions will be an important factor as they decide how to vote.
  • Only 12% feel like candidates for office this year are prioritizing policy issues impacting small businesses over policy issues impacting big businesses.
  • 81% say they are more likely to support a candidate who pledges to prioritize the reauthorization of the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Contact and Miscellaneous Information

If you would like to discuss the contents of this memorandum or the results of our publicly released surveys of small business owners, please contact Joe Wall, national director of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices, at Joe.Wall@gs.com.

This memorandum is being provided to both Republican and Democratic candidates for Senate in the following states: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Utah.

Since 2020, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices has regularly briefed lawmakers, candidates, think tanks, businesses, administrations, executive branch agencies, and the public on the state of small business in the United States.