(Washington) -- Legislation spurring rural entrepreneurship passed in one portion of Congress Tuesday.
By a 413-to-7 vote, the U.S. House approved the Expanding Access to Capital for Rural Job Creators Act. Iowa Congresswoman Cindy Axne was the among the bill's sponsors. Speaking on KMA's "Morning Line" program Wednesday morning, Axne says the bill would ensure financial resources are available to grow small businesses.
"Rural entrepreneurs have a tougher go at accessing capital than folks starting up businesses in our urban areas," said Axne. "As a matter of fact, that's what the data shows. According to surveys of businesses led by the Federal Reserve Bank, rural small businesses are less likely to grow than their urban counterparts, and nearly half of rural small businesses show sufficient financing."
The West Des Moines Democrat says the bill would also ensure rural entrepreneurs and small business owners have a seat at the table as federal policy makers consider new rules that govern investment and capital.
"This will give that opportunity at the federal level for policy makers to have the data and research behind the difficulties rural entrepreneurs face in accessing capital and growing their businesses," she said. "So, it sets rural entrepreneurs aside for a special understanding of how their businesses operate, so we hope that we're going to have better tax rates, policies, etc., that can help rural businesses access capital."
Axne, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, gave examples of small business success stories in the 3rd Congressional District.
"Iowans are about as innovative as it gets," said the congresswoman. "So, we've got some great small businesses out there, like Primrose in Corning, or places like Nutriom that I just visited in Panora. There's a lot of businesses that can't make a go of it, because they might not get an opportunity to get initial seed money."
In addition to a lack of capital, Axne says rural entrepreneurs face other obstacles, such as the lack of younger workers.
"A lot of your people want to be entrepreneurs," she said. "So, we're having a harder time retaining people in our rural areas. One of the other difficulties is infrastructure with broadband, and infrastructure in general. So, those are all issues that rural entrepreneurs face."
Congressional delegations from Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri supported the bill. Democrat Doug Jones of Alabama and Republican John Kennedy of Louisiana have introduced a companion version in the U.S. Senate. You can hear the full interview with Cindy Axne on our "Morning Line" page at kmaland.com.