Despite all of the pandering to small business by both election campaigns, neither President Obama nor Governor Romney made any mention of entrepreneurs or entrepreneurship during the first presidential debate last week. SmallBizVote noted that glaring omission, and this week, Fast Company editor Robert Safian accuses the candidates of having their heads in the sand. Safian says they are overlooking "a tidal wave of creative, innovative startups sweeping the country."
We pointed to many examples of those kinds of small business owners in another recent post here, Real job creators in the White House today. Safian points to several more who are "enthusiastically and optimistically setting out to build new businesses and to invent new ways of doing business," including by raising startup capital through crowdfunding platforms.
Ryan Paugh, cofounder and chief of staff at the Young Entrepreneur Council, told Yahoo! Small Business Advisor that his organization would "love to know how each candidate plans to embrace crowdfunding during their term to support the hundreds of thousands of new business created every month in the United States." But crowdfunding is another term that failed to pass either candidate's lips last week.
…to talk about the state of the American economy and not acknowledge and recognize and extoll this dynamic movement is to simply have your head in the political sand. Whatever today's numbers show, we all know that there is a groundswell of creativity surging through our country.
I wish our candidates would recognize this group, cheer them on, and focus on encouraging their success and the success of others like them. Small business, when discussed in our political realm, seems to have been narrowed to a small-bore niche. Meanwhile, entrepreneurs and innovators are thriving. The political leaders who embrace this reality and align themselves and their policies with making these efforts the foundation of our future economy will be on the right side of history–and, ultimately, on the right side of the ballot tallies as well.
Safian echoes the sentiments of Michael Simmons, cofounder of Empact, the organization that honored those "real job creators in the White House" last month. Before the debate, Simmons said he hoped to hear the candidates explain how they would "infuse the entrepreneurial mindset into the fabric of society." Perhaps it's not society, but the candidates themselves who need a change in mindset.