On October 4, PayPal helped convene a Small Business Forum as part of The Atlantic Festival, a multi-day experience in Washington DC which brought together some of today’s biggest thinkers and leaders in technology, politics, business and the arts. The Forum, titled “From the Ground Up: The Rise of Small Business,” aimed to dive into the state of small business and included different discussions, from a range of perspectives and backgrounds, on creating an environment for small businesses to get started, grow and thrive.
The event began with an examination of how the Federal Government is prioritizing small business growth. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Ranking Member of the Senate Small Business Committee (SBC), spoke about the need for equal access to financing, regulatory relief for entrepreneurs and the government’s responsibility to create an environment that enables small businesses to take risks. The Senator identified a number of initiatives being discussed by the SBC and outlined their bipartisan approach to spurring economic dynamism and competitiveness through a focus on small business.
PayPal VP of Global Credit, Darrell Esch, spoke during a portion of the event and was joined by PayPal merchant, Ted Parrish, one of the earliest PayPal Working Capital borrowers. Darrell shared with the audience a brief history of the PPWC program and announced the latest global usage statistics: $6 billion in funding issued through more than 500,000 individual loans to more than 170,000 merchants. Ted shared his small business story and experience with PPWC, and the tremendous growth and job creation his business has experienced since accessing this financing.
Throughout the Forum, there were also multiple panel discussions that captured the voice of small business owners themselves. Entrepreneurs from around the DC area and further afield shared their growth stories and the challenges they faced and overcame. While access to capital was a common thread throughout, the panels also stressed the importance of mentorship and guidance as entrepreneurs and small business owners get started and navigate the complicated journey of building their enterprises.
Bringing together a range of stakeholders, including Congressional staff, industry professionals and small business owners, the Small Business Forum was an important opportunity to convene the small business empowerment ecosystem and demonstrate PayPal’s continued commitment to the space going forward.