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Phillips, Hill, Davids Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Inspire Youth Entrepreneurship

Washington, D.C. —Today, Reps. Dean Phillips (D-MN), French Hill (R-AR), Sharice Davids (D-KS), introduced the 21st Century Entrepreneurship Act to expose students from underserved and minority communities to the entrepreneurship and innovation fields.

Entrepreneurship is a central component of economic growth, job creation, and innovation. Unfortunately, entrepreneurship rates have steadily declined over the past several decades: new businesses accounted for 38% of all businesses in the US in 1982 compared to just 29% in 2018.   

“Our young people are the future of our country, and cultivating the next generation of business leaders requires encouraging entrepreneurship at an early age,” said Rep. Phillips. “New businesses account for a disproportionate share of innovation, economic growth, and job creation. We must take action today to ensure a thriving, equitable business landscape tomorrow.”

“The 21st Century Entrepreneurship Act will help connect students enrolled in 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) with mentors from the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) to introduce students to entrepreneurship and help them develop related professional skills,” said Rep. Hill. “By giving our students the resources and exposure to experienced mentors and entrepreneurs,  we are giving our students the ability to pave their own path to become an entrepreneur following school and help combat the decline in entrepreneurship rates we’ve seen over the last several decades. I am proud to co-lead this legislation with my colleague, Rep. Phillips, and look forward to seeing the impact this act will have across the nation.”

“In Kansas, we have the talent and the great education system to power the next generation of entrepreneurs—and we know from experience that mentorship improves outcomes for students,” said Rep. Davids. “The 21st Century Entrepreneurship Act will provide effective after-school programs with new curriculum and experienced mentors, creating a pipeline of success for our students.”

Despite the decline in new small businesses as a whole, entrepreneurship in fact increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. This increase can largely be attributed to increased rates of new business registrations among Black and Hispanic entrepreneurs, as well young entrepreneurs, and underscores the importance of engaging those from underserved communities.

Federal entrepreneurial development and mentorship programs focus on those already in the small business and entrepreneurship fields. This bill would help create a pipeline to entrepreneurship by targeting entrepreneurial education to children from underprivileged backgrounds. Entrepreneurship not only helps drive our nation’s economy, but can also serve as an opportunity to build wealth and become your own boss for those from all backgrounds.

The 21st Century Entrepreneurship Act would require the Small Business Administration (SBA) to develop an entrepreneurship curriculum for 21st Century Community Learning Centers and encourage SCORE Volunteers to form partnerships with these programs.

This legislation is supported by the Center for American Entrepreneurship, Afterschool Alliance, and BUILD.