Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a 1939 American political comedy-drama film, starring Jean Arthur and James Stewart, about one man’s effect on American politics. It was directed by Frank Capra and written by Sidney Buchman, based on Lewis R. Foster’s unpublished story.
Family Businesses, small to mid-cap firms would like the chance to address issues with the leaders in Washington. This country has represented the ideal of freedom and democracy, and one that’s lit the whole world for two centuries. But it’s a sad fact that only 48% of its people vote in midterm elections. The US ranks 34 on the list when it comes to voting.
Would you like a chance to have your voice heard?
This week 37 of us had that chance. Business Forward, working with The White House Business Council, invited us to connect with Washington officials. The event offered this concept, “Participants of this White House briefing will hear a broad update on the economy and listen to administration initiatives. The event will include panel discussions led by White House Staffers on using public-private partnerships to encourage innovation, preparing workers for highly-skilled manufacturing jobs and creating opportunities for entrepreneurship.”
Manufacturers need to drive change, improvement, and steer the government.
Families can tour the White House; 10 million people tour it every year. Family Businesses make up 50% of the gross domestic product. 35% of the Fortune 500 firms are Family Owned Businesses.
Family companies are responsible for 60% of the nation’s employment and 78% of new jobs created. The gap between the employment and job creation figures may indicate that family businesses are one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy, because their new job requirements outpace their current employment rates when compared to other businesses.
Getting into the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, adjacent to the West Wing is no easy task. Your invitation will only appear in the security computer 30 minutes before the event scheduled start. After initial credential check you then pass three additional security checks including a quick review by the White House Security’s canine team’s trained noses. While all of the details are not available, there are over 800 guards at the White House Complex. The Eisenhower Executive Office Building is located next to the West Wing, and houses a majority of offices for White House staff.
Mr.S Goes to Washington
The title for our briefing was “White house Business Council American Manufacturing”.
The moderators were:
· Under Secretary for Economic Affairs
· Special Assistant to the President for Manufacturing Policy
· Deputy Director of Technology and Innovation
· Acting Assistant Secretary of Employment and Training
The topics were:
· Manufacturing Innovation Institutes
· New Manufacturing Tools and the Maker Movement
· Preparing workers for jobs available today.
One minor note – or perhaps it was a harbinger of the balance of the meeting – was that the agenda had the wrong date. The invited guests shared these points with all the moderators and panelists.
§ This moderate recovery needs more good news. People purchase some items based on Consumer Confidence. We need more good news.
§ Lending has not loosened up. There are private equity funds, venture capital dollars and even asset-based resources available, but standard loans and lines of credit are still difficult to obtain.
§ We need the research and development tax credit to be made permanent.
§ There needs to be a map showing the places and sources of assistance for different types of business. A Family firm looking to test an idea needs a different skill set than a start-up. Too much redundancy.
§ The National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) are great, but how do they help the small Family Business manufacturer?
The session lasted from 11am-3pm. At times it seemed the panelists wanted to talk more than listen. There was an absence of metrics with some of the presentations. TechShop was on one panel and had some great stories, the invention of Square, the credit card swipe phone device, the homeless person who first made a living and the company.
They failed to share, TechShop opened partnership locations in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina and Portland, Oregon. After being open for a year, the Portland location closed and went bankrupt. The Raleigh location remained open but owned by TechShop Inc, but was later shut down on April 20, 2013. Manufacturers understand success and failure. In Flint and Genesee County, Mott Community College has a state of the art technology center that offers everything that TechShop does, with no annual fee.
It was an interesting day and don’t think I would go again or ask them to address our local manufacturers. Manufacturing Excellence is a local issue and needs to be a priority of each business. Michigan needs to share its successes like the MAT2 – innovative, industry-driven approach to education, and the Regional Technology Center at Mott.
It would have been nice if someone was capturing the comments and shared them with Secretary Pritzker when she joined. It would have been better if she spent more time. Manufacturers need to drive change, improvement, and steer the government.
Business Forward and the White House Business deserve thanks, but need to consider Family Businesses and listen more.
With the help of more than 50 of the world’s largest and most respected companies, Business Forward is making it easier for tens of thousands of business leaders from across America to advise Washington on how to create jobs and accelerate our economic recovery.