Small businesses employ nearly half of the U.S. workforce, create hundreds of thousands of new jobs each year, and serve as the backbone of our local economies. Today, I am proud to recognize America’s entrepreneurs as we celebrate National Small Business Week.
The FCC has a keen interest in helping our small businesses thrive. Put simply, high-speed connectivity is essential for success in the 21st-century economy. Broadband-enabled services help small businesses do everything from running more efficiently to marketing their products and reaching new customers. That’s why the FCC is working to make sure that small businesses everywhere have the secure, high-speed connections they need to thrive in the digital age. At the same time, we want to make sure that small businesses have a fair shot to compete and succeed in the communications sector.
The FCC’s Office of Communications Business Opportunities (OCBO) is leading this charge through a variety of efforts to promote the development of small and diverse businesses in the telecommunications industry. This team helps to open doors for women and minority-owned businesses by facilitating discussions with industry leaders about access to capital, mentoring, business incubation, and procurement at a high-level. Recognizing that small businesses don’t have the resources available to them like larger businesses, OCBO also does extensive outreach to help small entities weigh in on and comply with the Commission’s newly adopted rules.
Most recently, OCBO has been stepping up its efforts to help small businesses grapple with the emerging challenge of cybersecurity. The majority of small businesses report breaches that stopped daily productivity, and fully recovering from a breach routinely takes months. Through its Cybersecurity for Small Businesses initiative, OCBO provides online resources and tools such as the Small Biz Cyber Planner tool, network safety tips, and cybersecurity alerts. Just weeks ago, OCBO leaders met with a multinational delegation of government and private-sector leaders to share best practices.
OCBO is also a key contributor to the Commission’s new cross-agency task force to combat digital discrimination. Your zip code shouldn’t determine your access to broadband. This task force’s work to tackle digital discrimination and redlining will help to make sure all small businesses have access to the infrastructure we all need for success.
As we mark National Small Business Week 2022, I wanted to use this occasion to thank OCBO for all that they do to expand opportunities for small, women-owned, and minority-owned communications businesses. With their outstanding new Director Joy Ragsdale at the helm, I’m expecting big things in the days ahead.
And, of course, I’d like to offer one more salute to America’s small business owners and entrepreneurs. May they continue to dream big, take courageous risks, and keep pushing our country forward.