More businesses need to be given the Solyndra treatment
By Peter Corbett,
The failure of solar manufacturing company Solyndra makes me wonder whether loan programs of all kinds for businesses will be more difficult for the Obama administration to champion as well as why it has put so much effort into a few big loans and guarantees rather than a multitude of small ones.
Why was it so easy for Solyndra to get $500 million when it’s typically really hard for a startup within its first three years of operation to get a bank loan backed by the Small Business Administration for much less?
I understand this is not an apples-to-apples comparison — we need to invest in clean tech aggressively.
The point is where is the small business stimulus package? Where is the grand vision for putting our talented recent college grads in a position to have and create jobs?
As a supporter of the Obama administration, and someone who’s created 15 jobs in the past three years, I’m often sitting here scratching my head wondering why our collective eye is on the wrong ball. The ball is small business — not big business.
What would have happened if the SBA or another federal agency — instead of funding Solyndra — had guaranteed 10,000 high risk $50,000 loans for new small businesses? You’d create 10,000 jobs immediately — roughly 10 times those who worked at Solyndra. Better yet, maybe 10,000 would have quit their jobs to start the business they always wanted to.
That means 10,000 jobs created, and 10,000 new job openings. Is this big thinking? No. It’s micro action and that’s what we need.
We need less concentrated action and more diffuse opportunity.
I’m sure our representatives in Congress would call this kind of capital distribution a social program or a bail out. And that’s the real problem — Congress is a broken appendage of the American body that’s incapable of acting on behalf of the interests of the people.
I’m not an Occupy or Tea Party person. I’m an entrepreneur. And we the entrepreneurs want government to stop claiming it’s creating jobs by giving big businesses advantages they don’t deserve that can’t be leveraged for the benefit of the American people.
Give entrepreneurs at small businesses the opportunity to create something from nothing.
Or in the least, get out of way as most government actions these days seem to be a distraction rather than solution to our problems.
Peter Corbett is the chief executive of iStrategyLabs, a Washington-based social media marketing firm. You can follow him on Twitter at @corbett3000 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.