Welcome to the 39th Annual Small Business Forum. I want to thank Martha and the staff in the Office of the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation – that includes Colin, Jenny, Jessica, Julie, Malika and Todd – for their significant efforts to forge ahead and organize this virtual forum.
Although I would have much preferred to have been out on the road as we have in the past few years, going to Austin, Columbus and Omaha, that is just not possible this year. Thanks to our Office of Information Technology and the good work of Martha and her strong team, we’re able to meet virtually, and that’s the next best thing. It’s very important for us to hear from experts from around the country, from outside Washington DC, and we’re going to do just that today.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention current events and the important issues they raise. In particular, very disturbing videos that are at the front of all of our minds. Those videos, along with the pandemic that we’re all facing, have placed unprecedented stress on our economy, our markets, and our small businesses. And that’s why it’s more important than ever that we make every effort to hold this forum.
Let me try to underline how important that is with a few statistics.
There are over 1 million minority owned business in the U.S. But 99.9% of those businesses have less than 500 employees. I think we all recognize that COVID-19 has had a disproportionate negative impact on small businesses and it is estimated that more than 50% of small businesses face immediate or near-term risks due to the effects of COVID-19.
We also recognize that small businesses are the engine of economic growth and that we will need small businesses to support post a COVID-19 economic recovery.
Today, we will hear from a number of panelists that will lead us on discussions on how we can support small businesses, including minority- and women-owned small businesses, rural small businesses and those smaller companies that are considering going public or would like to go public in the future. These are very important areas of our economy and we need to support we can.
We want your ideas. We want your questions. Please know that we recognize that one size regulation doesn’t fit all and that we need to tailor our regulations and our support to fit the needs of small and medium sized businesses.
So with that, I look forward to hearing your comments, your suggestions, and your questions. Thank you all for attending.
 Source – Brookings Institute: https://www.brookings.edu/research/how-local-leaders-can-stave-off-a-small-business-collapse-from-covid-19/.
These remarks were delivered on June 18, 2020, by Jay Clayton, chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, at the Annual Government-Business Forum on Small Business Capital Formation.