9 Reasons Why Stacey Abrams Has the Vision & Experience to Help Small Businesses Thrive

Stacey Abrams has a vision for Georgia: educate bold and ambitious children, build a fair and diverse economy, and lead an effective and engaged government. As an entrepreneur, Abrams understands to achieve this vision Georgia must create opportunities for small businesses to thrive in all 159 counties.

Growing small businesses are central to a thriving economy in every county. Approximately 44% of Georgians in the private workforce are employed by a small business, and we are among the highest in the nation for startup success. However, Georgia ranks close to the bottom — 22 out of the 25 largest states — in Main Street Entrepreneurship, or the creation and success of businesses like barbershops, landscaping, manufacturing, and food service. Where you live continues to determine whether you succeed: places where our businesses and workers receive key supports get better, while struggling communities continue to decline.

Rural business owners face twin challenges: how to find an educated workforce locally and how to access capital close to home. Business owners across the state face debilitating healthcare costs, which also reduce the productivity of the workforce. Women and people of color who have traditionally been left behind because of limited access to capital continue to lag, while others who have traditionally succeeded in small business ownership are beginning to fall behind.

Georgia must support a diverse array of small businesses. From providing and capital for individuals who want to start a small childcare center in a county that lacks affordable options, to helping a barber open a second location or giving a young person in South Georgia the chance to start a technology company without having to leave her hometown, we can and must do more to help entrepreneurs grow and thrive in place.

Stacey’s Vision to Support Small Businesses in Georgia:

1. Stacey Abrams is uniquely qualified to lead on this issue. Under Stacey’s leadership, Georgia will pursue bold and comprehensive economic plans to ensure no person has to work more than one full-time job to make ends meet, and catalyze the creation of high wage jobs in all 159 counties, at all skill levels.

2. To build a thriving and diverse economy, Abrams will expand access to capital, support training programs at every level of business, encourage expansion into non-­traditional industries and promote policies to expand entrepreneurial opportunities. Regardless of zip code, Georgia’s economic mission will be to help grow small businesses in rural, urban and suburban communities.

3. Stacey Abrams is the only Georgia gubernatorial candidate to introduce a detailed jobs plan — her first in a series of economic revitalization proposals. Her “Advanced Energy Jobs Plan” will leverage our natural resources and assets, working across sectors to build 25,000 to 45,000 jobs in industries like solar, wind, hydro, and biomass. Small businesses like farms and installation companies in every part of our state, from Tybee Island and Camilla to North Georgia, already benefit from work in advanced energy and have spurred economic growth for small businesses in their communities.

Stacey’s Experience as a Small Businesswoman, Entrepreneur & Job Creator

4. Stacey Abrams is an entrepreneur who has started several small businesses, and she understands what helps a company succeed. Early in her career, she learned first‐hand how access to capital can spur a small business and how the lack of funding can kill an entrepreneur’s dream.

5. Stacey received an “A” rating from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the “Friend of Labor” award in the same year. She has been honored by the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Atlanta Business Chronicle for her leadership.

6. Stacey Abrams has started businesses that have succeeded and businesses that failed and she knows what makes the difference. When their manufacturing business could not secure a loan to automate— in order to meet a big order — Abrams and her business partner had to shutter their company. Then they co-founded NOW Corp., a fintech payment system that enables businesses to get paid immediately in a way that feels like taking a credit card, even when one is not offered. NOW Corp. has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to small businesses, helping them grow or retain thousands of jobs in Georgia.

7. Abrams has spearheaded efforts that specialized in the development, investment and consulting for complex infrastructure projects, including transportation, energy, facilities and water.
 
8. Abrams has also co-­founded The Family Room, Inc., a social communications app that creates a virtual family room where young kids can talk, play, draw, read, do homework and watch videos with adults while on a video or audio call. The Family Room has support from organizations for military families, grandparents, divorced parents, families that may have a loved one who is incarcerated, and immigrant families separated by deportation.

9. Abrams founded Third Sector Development and the New Georgia Project, a nonprofit that has hired thousands of Georgians and engaged them in civil rights work, including voter registration and signing families up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.