Entrepreneurship’s Demise Has Been Grossly Exaggerated

Special interests inside the beltway are seeing political and financial opportunities in taking down America’s most successful businesses. Some are using it to mobilize votes from the “hipster antitrust” activists where others are using it to fundraise from business rivals.

One such group is the Open Markets Institute (OMI) who recently discovered a new war-cry, “big businesses are destroying entrepreneurs.”

At their recent conference, OMI repeated this misstatement. They argue the cause of this trend is the dominance of large tech companies. But their claims could not be further from the truth.

They cry “big businesses are destroying entrepreneurs” but their claims could not be further from the truth.

We all know that it’s now easier than ever to become an entrepreneur.

For many there is no longer a need to file legal documents, purchase infrastructure, create advertising campaigns, or even build a website from scratch. Online platforms have removed these barriers to entrepreneurial opportunity. And the larger the online platform, the easier and cheaper it becomes to find customers.

In essence, big platforms empower entrepreneurs. A rising tide is lifting all boats.

If you need jewelry custom designed by a specialist, it’s only a click away. If you need repair work on your home, a quick look at Thumbtack can find you a handyman. These are the real-world connections between customers and entrepreneurs happens every day and is made possible by online platforms.

As these online platforms grow, so too grows brand recognition and consumer trust which directly benefits the entrepreneurs hosted on these platforms. Brand loyalty earned by platforms can be transferred to entrepreneurs on them.

Moreover, the larger and more well-known these platforms become, the more customers searching for and finding entrepreneurs they might never had met before. Consumers benefit from these economies of scale.

Entrepreneurs across the country are seeing the fruits of this new economic opportunity generated by the same online platforms groups like OMI seek to break-down.

The Kauffman Index of Growth Entrepreneurship shows that entrepreneurship is at its highest levels since 2008.

The Kauffman Index of Growth Entrepreneurship shows that entrepreneurship is at its highest levels since 2008. Main street growth and startup activity are likewise up.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics found self-employment is up since 2014 and is projected to grow at 7.9% — faster than the projected rate for all workers.

With these high historical and projected values for entrepreneurship, it’s amazing that OMI has the gall to claim that “Entrepreneurship is at a forty year low and startups are closing their doors faster than any time in 50 years.” OMI then dares to denounce the very platforms that make easy entrepreneurship a possibility. Perhaps OMI is hoping that if they make these claims often and loudly enough, lawmakers will start to believe it.

Recent polling shows that Americans certainly aren’t buying what OMI is selling. Americans see the value that online platforms of all sizes are empowering American entrepreneurship. Americans are seeing that the larger the platform, the easier it is for entrepreneurs to find customers

Online platforms are helping new entrepreneurs advertise.

Online platforms are helping new entrepreneurs advertise. Over three quarters of Americans say that the ability to place digital ads on large online platforms is valuable to small businesses.

And entrepreneurs are seeing tangible benefits of these online platforms. Nearly 60% of Americans say online platforms helped them discover a small business. And 72% of Americans say that apps like Google and Facebook enable them to be in better touch with their community.

Only 10% of Americans think the government should prevent successful online businesses from acquiring other companies, and only 5% thought the government should most focus its anticompetitive resources on tech platforms. Only 9% of Americans aged 18–24 believe that consumers would benefit from a break up of big tech.

Let’s hope that lawmakers read the facts, listen to their constituents, and stand by the platforms that empower so many of us.