MCLEAN, VA – Today, Terry McAuliffe hosted a virtual conversation with entrepreneurs and small business leaders from across the Commonwealth and announced a new plan to support entrepreneurial ecosystems in Virginia and rebuild an equitable post-COVID economy. Terry was joined by Bernard Harkless, a principal at a Richmond-Based development firm, Ethan McAfee, owner of an Amazon brand partner in Arlington, Monique Adams, Executive Director of a Hampton-Roads area investment group that strengthens entrepreneurial ecosystems, and Austin Green, Co-Founder and Executive Director of a Richmond-based food and beverage startup incubator.
Since the start of the pandemic, businesses and workers across the Commonwealth and nation have suffered, with Black and Brown-owned businesses closing at twice the rate of white-owned businesses, leaving families everywhere struggling to make ends meet. At the same time, the pandemic has led to unprecedented spikes in entrepreneurship and new business startups as people look for different opportunities, demonstrating how critical building supportive entrepreneurial ecosystems will be to Virginia’s equitable post-COVID recovery.
Tuesday, May 25:
Terry McAuliffe Announced New Plan & Hosted Virtual Conversation with Entrepreneurs and Small Business Leaders
Who: Terry McAuliffe, Bernard Harkless, Ethan McAfee, Monique Adams & Austin Green
Terry also laid out his bold agenda to support entrepreneurs. As governor, Terry will:
- Create a cabinet-level advisor and statewide strategy to support entrepreneurs and small business startups. Following Terry’s successes as governor, Virginia was named the best state for business, but it was recently rankedas 14th for startups. And while Virginia’s success rate for new startups is 79% and these startups result in an average of 4.68 new jobs per 1,000 people, only 180 out of every 100,000 people become entrepreneurs compared to 320 out of every 100,000 people nationwide. Having a cabinet-level advisor will enable the Commonwealth to develop and implement a comprehensive and streamlined approach to supporting entrepreneurship, creating essential new jobs and establishing Virginia as a top state to start a new business.
- Break down barriers for new businesses. In order to make Virginia a better place to start a business, Terry will conduct a statewide review of rules and regulations and work to eliminate barriers that make it harder for a business to get started or grow. He will ensure state funding and programs are used to support entrepreneurship, small business growth and businesses with innovative new ideas and technology.
- Support backbone organizations and improve access to capital. Nationwide, 83% of entrepreneurs lack access to capital, and nearly two-thirds rely on personal income or support from family and friends. This stifles development and innovation, and can be an insurmountable burden, especially for women and communities of color. Terry will provide support for the backbone organizations that are supporting entrepreneurial ecosystems including establishing incubators, accelerators and seed funds across the Commonwealth. He will leverage state, federal and private resources to help fund and support these seed funds, angel investment groups, and ecosystem building organizations to get more capital to entrepreneurs, with a specific goal of reducing red tape for entrepreneurs who historically have faced barriers accessing capital.
- Cultivate strong partnerships between Virginia’s institutions of higher education and entrepreneurs around research and development. Virginia’s top-notch institutions of higher education play a key role in researching and developing solutions to some of the Commonwealth’s and nation’s most pressing challenges. As governor, Terry will cultivate strong partnerships between institutions of higher education, backbone organizations, entrepreneurs, and investors to coordinate research and development so that solutions have the best opportunities for successful commercialization.
- Create a website linking entrepreneurs to resources and potential investors. Supporting entrepreneurship in Virginia will not only require new investments, but it will also require new and innovative ways to link entrepreneurs with the new resources. As governor, Terry will create a platform where entrepreneurs can access information and resources, and also be connected with potential investors looking to support their ventures.