- - Thursday, August 30, 2012


So many politicians say they are in government to create jobs. The Obama administration, especially, seems to want to take credit for any jobs created through small businesses in the past four years. Government jobs, like 15,000 new Internal Revenue Service employees to support Obamacare, not only don’t grow the economy, they take resources away from private-sector job creators. The government does not and cannot create jobs. Only entrepreneurs do. These people are willing to risk everything, to put their employees’ paychecks ahead of their own and to put their business growth over that new car. They learn to do more with less (try to find that in your basic government operation). Their optimism and work ethic is what makes this country great.

Small businesses make up 70 percent of all jobs created in this country. With the 600-plus regulations put in place in Mr. Obama’s first 33 months and 4,200 more on the way, the percentage might stay the same. Yet, fewer businesses opening means the actual number of jobs is down. The Obama administration is not helping small businesses create jobs. In fact, it is responsible for the regulatory uncertainty nearly 50 percent of small-business owners cite as responsible for their lack of hiring. This administration has imposed 106 new major regulations. It is on track to create a burden of 109 million new paperwork hours. By year’s end, $110 billion worth of new regulatory costs will be laid on the backs of business owners and taxpayers. Some might call that “regulatory uncertainty.” I call it an all-out assault on free enterprise.

I am not saying that government has nothing to offer. Government has an important role in fostering an environment conducive to business creation while also protecting its citizens. These are not mutually exclusive.

There are myriad government programs out there to help small businesses. Few people use them effectively. The maze of information makes it difficult for any one person to understand it all, which often leads politicians, and citizens, too, to call for more programs. We don’t need more government programs, we just need a better way to access them.

In Delaware, we created First State Moves, an idea born in our company First State Manufacturing Inc., to build a business accelerator program that works as a complete clearinghouse of information for an entrepreneur. It’s a partnership between public, private and nonprofit sectors to create what one of our developers calls “the online dating service for business creation.” Where other accelerators and incubators tend to focus on one aspect of business creation, the First State Moves accelerator is designed to help people with things they didn’t even know they needed, from writing a business plan to selling their products.

The beta version of the accelerator is expected to be running this November. It’s operating off of a simple concept. People using it ask and answer questions as they occur during the program. Using this information, the accelerator should be able to pinpoint where they are in the business process and help point them to what they need now and next to keep their ideas growing. Housed at Delaware State University, the program will be both online and, eventually, grow into a bricks-and-mortar campus with graduate students helping walk people through the process.

The First State Moves accelerator is being designed for Delaware, but the concept is one that can be used and modified for any state using available local and federal resources.

Why doesn’t the government simply do this? In an administration conspicuously thin of actual business owners and entrepreneurs, there is no leadership to show the direction.

We hope that First State Moves moves not just Delaware but an entire nation.

Sher Valenzuela is a business owner and a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in Delaware.

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