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Virginia Explores Ways To Promote Small Business Growth

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A legislative panel of the Small Business Commission in Virginia is looking into what policies it can recommend to help small businesses to get them to expand and hire more employees. The focus is on helping small companies and may need some fine-tuning.

Nearly 21,000 small businesses, women-owned businesses, and minority-owned businesses are now state-certified. Department of Minority Business Enterprise Director Ida McPherson told the Commission that the number of companies owned by women and minorities that conduct business with the state has significantly increased.

Companies defined as small businesses with up to 250 employees still win many contracts, but McPherson says firms with 16 or fewer employees create more jobs:

"So when you're trying to create new jobs, you've got to get the money where those businesses are because if they take on a new project of a $100,000, they immediately go out and hire someone," says McPherson. "If you take a firm that is at 250 employees and they're making $50 billion, if they bid on something — a $250,000 project — they don't need to hire anybody else. They just squeeze it within what they currently have."

McPherson said one option may be to target more contracts toward the subset of companies with fewer employees.

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