VIDEO: Senator Shaheen Salutes America’s Small Businesses

May 03, 2017

**On Senate floor, Shaheen recognizes outstanding New Hampshire entrepreneurs who “have created thriving companies that define the American Dream”**

(Washington, DC) – As the nation continues to celebrate National Small Business Week (April 30-May 6), Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the lead Democrat on the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, today spoke on the Senate floor about the important role small businesses play in creating jobs and growing the American economy.  Shaheen also recognized outstanding New Hampshire entrepreneurs who have created thriving businesses with U.S. Small Business Administration assistance. 

VIDEO of Senator Shaheen’s remarks is available HERE.

(Remarks as prepared for delivery)

Mr. PRESIDENT, I rise today to salute America’s 29 million small businesses and honor the courageous and hardworking entrepreneurs who demonstrate the timeless values of innovation and risk-taking that define America’s spirit of entrepreneurship.

This week is National Small Business Week, an opportunity for all Americans – regardless of party affiliation or geography – to come together and support the small businesses that drive the American economy and make an enormous contribution to our local communities and culture.

I’m delighted to be joined today by the Chairman of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, Senator Risch.  I’m privileged to be the Ranking Member of this committee, and I must say the Chairman and I enjoy a terrific working relationship. 

In a previous life, the Chairman and I were both small business owners.  My husband and I had a family-owned seasonal retail business.  Senator Risch operated a family-run ranch in Idaho.  We remember the challenges that keep small business owners awake at night – meeting payroll, balancing budgets, attracting workers, finding customers, and complying with local, state and federal regulations.

We also were both governors and understand the important role small businesses play in creating jobs and growing the economy.  I’m proud our committee consistently works in a bipartisan fashion to ensure that public policy and Small Business Administration (SBA) programs are helping nurture small businesses and address their unique concerns.

Small businesses create two out of every three new jobs in the United States.  In New Hampshire, 99 percent of Granite State employers are small businesses and more than half of New Hampshire’s private workforce is employed by a small business.

On Monday, I visited a small business in Dover, New Hampshire called Popzup, a family-owned business that created an innovative microwave popcorn box without harsh chemicals, plastic or silicone.  The company's popcorn is environmentally friendly and comes from American farms that don't use GMO products.  I tasted it and it’s delicious!) 

Popzup’s co-founders, Julie and Marty Lapham, launched the company in 2015.  As she was developing her product, Julie relied on a New Hampshire-based Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to prepare her for a Shark Tank-style competition where she won a first-prize of $10,000.  The New Hampshire SBDC helped her sort through financing options and is still helping to support the company's growth.

During this National Small Business Week, SBA recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs from all 50 states and territories. 

New Hampshire’s Small Business Person of the Year is Dr. Jake Reder, the cofounder and CEO of Celdara Medical in Lebanon, New Hampshire.  Founded in 2008, Celdara is a biotech startup that identifies early-stage medical technologies and provides financing and business guidance to move lifesaving products from university laboratories to high-potential medical companies.  Celdara proves that entrepreneurship can be a positive force to cure disease and save lives.

During its startup journey, Celdara secured funding through SBA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.  Last year, our committee extended SBIR for five years because of its track record enabling entrepreneurs in New Hampshire and nationwide to participate in R&D that keeps us at the vanguard of innovation. 

Dr. Reder was also assisted by the Upper Valley New Hampshire Chapter of the SCORE counseling network where he took classes to boost his bookkeeping and marketing skills.

With early and targeted help from SBA, the founders of small businesses like Popzup and Celdara Medical have created thriving companies that define the American Dream.  These are just two small business success stories, but I know there are many more in Idaho and across the country.

Our committee will continue to support a modern and flexible SBA and ensure its nationwide network of resource partners can respond quickly to economic conditions that confront small businesses in a global economy.

Finally, I want to thank the Appropriations Committee for its bipartisan work on the recent omnibus bill that will fund SBA and our critical rural development programs for the remainder of this year.  I hope we can continue that spirit of cooperation as we work to develop the budget for 2018.

Happy National Small Business Week.  Thank you to our entrepreneurs in New Hampshire and across the country for your hard work, innovation and grit.  You have our gratitude and our respect.