October 19, 2023
Suzanne P. Clark
President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Despite the last several years of uncertainty and hardship, American entrepreneurs are still launching and growing businesses daily. The key to ensuring those small businesses continue to thrive is the right combination of government policies and broader resources to support them.
At the 2023 America’s Top Small Business Summit, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Suzanne P. Clark spoke on the importance of small businesses to the American economy and how the Chamber is working to help entrepreneurs through those obstacles through advocacy and inspiration. (Read the full remarks here.)
International Trade Reform Could Improve Small Business Opportunities
More than 97% of American companies that export goods internationally fall into the small and medium-sized business category and generate roughly one-third of U.S. merchandise exports. This is why the U.S. Chamber advocates for “a bolder trade agenda” in Washington, including a push to reform the current federal permitting process, Clark said.
“It's unacceptable that a federal permit can take up to seven and a half years to be approved,” said Clark. “In local communities all across the country, we hear from businesses and Chambers about the time-consuming delays that are holding up projects large and small and squandering opportunities for growth and American leadership.”
The Prompt Pay Pledge Will Strengthen the Relationship Between Big and Small Businesses
Clark noted that the Chamber represents “the whole ecosystem of the economy,” including the nuanced and symbiotic relationship between large corporations and their small business vendors. She mentioned the Chamber’s Prompt Pay Pledge, an agreement by enterprise-level companies to pay their small business suppliers faster.
“We want to make sure that you have access to capital faster so that when big companies owe you money, they pay you more quickly,” said Clark. “We're thrilled that Intuit, JP Morgan Chase, Citadel, Siemens, Agco, Alpha Technologies, and another couple dozen companies have already signed on to this pledge.”
The Chamber Exists to Keep Small Businesses ‘Dreaming, Doing, and Innovating’
In addition to the policies and programs it supports, the U.S. Chamber also offers practical resources to help American businesses thrive. Clark specifically mentioned CO—, the Chamber’s digital platform with articles, events, and other sources of information for starting, running, and growing a small business.
“We connect with entrepreneurs at every stage of their journey and meet them where they are with advice that's urgent, relevant, and inspiring,” she added.
Ultimately, said Clark, it’s all part of the sole reason why the U.S. Chamber has existed for the last 112 years.
“It takes ideas and ingenuity if you want to change the world,” she said. “You're the dreamers, you're the doers, you're the innovators. And the Chamber exists … to keep you dreaming, keep you doing, and keep you innovating.”