Baruah Outlines Five 'New Realities' for Small Businesses

Sandy Baruah gave his first public speech as the new head of the Small Business Administration yesterday in Atlanta where he outlined the agency's philosophy toward economic development and what he sees as the five "new realities" of a 21st century economy.

Baruah, who holds the title of acting administrator until he is officially confirmed by the Senate, cited President Bush as an inspiration and said economic growth is about creating good jobs and that it's the private sector -- not the public sector or the government -- that creates jobs. He added that there is an appropriate role for the government in helping to foster an environment in which the private sector can succeed. "However, one must temper this desire to be too helpful," he said according to his prepared speech, because it can lead to overly burdensome rules and regulations.

The new realities he outlined before the Americas Competitiveness Forum sponsored by the International Trade Administration were:

*We are living in a global economy, which means competitors and partners can be located anywhere;

*The pace of change will continue to accelerate.

*We can no longer pursue the components of competitiveness separately. The idea of workforce development, community development, entrepreneurial support and educational programs can no longer be addressed in separate silos. Also, it's important to look beyond traditional political jurisdictions like a city boundary or a county line and work together.

*Collaboration with the private sector is becoming more critical. He said: "Unless the private sector is ready, willing and able to invest in a community, economic growth simply will not occur, regardless of how much the government spends."

*The ability to innovate is the only possible sustainable competitive advantage. It's not location and it's not the cost of doing business.

By Sharon McLoone |  August 20, 2008; 11:22 AM ET Policymakers
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