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Visiting Washington DC

The Genesis delegation, led by HRH Prince Michael of Kent, Founder Patron of Genesis, has just returned from a programme of meetings with Think Tanks, academics, political leaders and SME organisations in Washington DC. We went to find out what we could learn, what we could share and how we could generate new ideas together to strengthen the SME community.

“Through projects such as Opportunity Zones, the long-term lending schemes of the Smaller Business Administration, (this is in effect patient capital with low-interest loans over up to 25 years) plus work on entrepreneurship policy through the cutting edge of academic research, we found much to bring home,” said Genesis Consultant CEO David Harvey. “Equally we found many problems in common. Not enough small businesses are on the growth track towards employing 5, 50 or 500 people – and this is how prosperous new jobs, rather than survival jobs, are created in both our economies. Both economies have real challenges in developing enough STEM-skilled (science, technology, engineering and maths) young people. Both economies too are finding it challenging to provide the right offer for those in middle area skilled jobs in areas such as finance, junior management, hospitality, manufacturing and retail.”

“We found learning and fresh thinking in areas such as immigration, minority employment and start-ups, tax reform and measuring small business success. We discovered the entire patchwork quilt of policies across the 50 states of the USA and the opportunities that local knowledge and state and city government can provide with a real state-by-state localism. Equally, this localism and federalism also means it is sometimes very difficult to know what is really going in SME policy, driven and planned locally rather than from Washington DC. We saw that the success of the SME sector is enormously varied across the USA and an aggregate picture of growth and dynamism in one city shifts to decline in another. There is much here to learn for UK cities and towns and the often ignored rural and suburban areas of the UK, often feeling left behind the cities”.

A forthcoming Genesis report will set out ideas to borrow, use as inspiration or indeed share back with our US partners for them to do better what they do.

Genesis would particularly like to thank our hosts and partners the Progressive Policy Institute, for this collaboration.