President Trump “Year 1”:  Entrepreneurs Remain Optimistic, Await Key Reforms

By at 8 November, 2017, 12:08 pm


Washington, D.C. –  On November 8, 2016 Donald J. Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States of America.  He was sworn into office on January 20, 2017.  The assessment of “year-one under Trump” has begun with his Election Day victory as the starting point for measuring the President’s impact.  Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) president & CEO Karen Kerrigan reviewed President Trump’s impact to date, noting the strong influence his election and policies have had on the outlook of entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Kerrigan observed:

“As demonstrated by an assortment of surveys measuring small business optimism both after the election and throughout 2017, it is clear that President Trump’s policies, actions and intentions have a had a major positive effect on small business outlook and confidence.  After the election, entrepreneurs felt confident that 2017 would offer a better business environment given the new policy direction that candidate Trump promised during the campaign.  Since the election, the economy and financial markets have responded positively to this change, as we have seen record numbers on Wall Street and now two consecutive quarters of GDP growth at 3% or higher.

“For small businesses, the dramatic shift in policy has allowed entrepreneurs to plan with confidence as a variety of uncertainties have been lifted. This is especially the case with regulation.  To be able to look forward and operate with certainty rather than having to react or worry about the next big regulation coming out of Washington has been very liberating for small business owners.”

According to Kerrigan, President Trump has had the biggest impact on the regulatory environment. With 15 congressional review act (CRA) resolutions passed and signed into law, and major work underway in the federal agencies due to his executive orders, President Trump is transforming and modernizing the regulatory state to one that is more accountable and responsive to small businesses.

“With regulation and red tape being a top issue of concern for small business owners over the past five years or more, President Trump’s policies and actions in this area have been tremendous. And there is much more to come,” noted Kerrigan.

On other key issue areas, namely tax reform and relief from painful health coverage costs, obviously much work remains.  According to Kerrigan, many small business owners and entrepreneurs are allowing President Trump until the end of 2017 or early 2018 to more fully assess his effectiveness.

“Small business owners understand that everything takes longer in Washington, but they did have high expectations for President Trump getting more things done at a faster clip. That is what he said he would do. They are expecting a signed tax reform bill.  With the failure of health care reform, they are now looking at his executive orders on health coverage to bear some fruit,” said Kerrigan.

Kerrigan said a signed tax reform bill will fuel small business confidence into 2018, which will positively affect owner decisions to invest and take more risks.  In terms of the state of entrepreneurship, Kerrigan pointed to stronger self-employment data for three straight months, which is a very positive sign for the economy moving forward. (see SBE Council’s release on the October jobs report, which includes those numbers.)

On trade and global market access, there were positive items already in the pipeline to make the process of going global easier and more efficient for small businesses. However, there is concern about the direction of U.S. trade policy.  The NAFTA trade re-negotiations are going less than smoothly, and there are no bilateral agreements in the works to make up for the loss of the Transpacific Trade Partnership (TPP) and other agreements.

“The President’s trip to Asia should provide us with clarity on what this Administration plans to do to open global markets for entrepreneurs and small business owners. America needs to lead on trade to stay globally competitive and provide our businesses with growth opportunities. U.S. leadership on trade with regard to forging new agreements must accelerate,” added Kerrigan.

Karen Kerrigan,, 703-242-5840

Raymond Keating, Chief Economist,, 631-909-1122

SBE Council is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy, research and education organization that works to protect small business and promote entrepreneurship. For nearly 25 years SBE Council has worked to successfully implement a range of policy and private sector initiatives to strengthen the ecosystem for startups and small business growth. To learn more, visit SBE Council’s website: Follow on Twitter: @SBECouncil


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