President Donald Trump has spent a lot of time during his first days in office prodding American businesses to invest in manufacturing at home. Pat Nye would like to see more attention paid to innovation and emerging technologies. Nye is Executive Director of the Small Business Development Center Network, a non-profit that helps guide and support small companies in LA, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. If he could speak to Trump, he’d tell the president to look forward, not backward.
Pat Nye: I would like to see a business climate that really focuses on building the future economic opportunities, especially around a start of new technology and emerging industries. I feel like there’s a lot of focus on our nation’s legacy industries, and I would like to see if much or more attention on our future.
KCRW: What kind of attention do you think that startups need that they don’t get? What kind of support?
PN: Lowering some of the barriers to being able to get funding and figuring out ways to leverage federal programming to really support startups that may not have a lot of assets when they begin to really help them gain funding and get through the R&D phase and prototyping and trying to align some of the federal programs that are out there to really serve the startup in the industries.
KCRW: A lot of the focus that we’ve seen from the Trump administration so far appears to be on these vigorous you call them legacy industries these are industries that are well established in some cases some people would say some of them are past their peak, and there have been efforts to save jobs there’s been talk about lowering taxes for them. Would these help small businesses or are there more concrete issues where small businesses like, “Hey don’t forget about us?”
PN: I feel it’s the latter, your more in line with, ‘hey don’t forget about us.’ Small business tends to be out in the front line really pushing the envelope of new and emerging technologies. I feel if we’re focusing too much on larger well-established industries that that might pull away from our ability to really invest in things like new emerging technologies green clean tech things like that. I feel like there’s been a good deal of momentum around that over the past several years especially here in California.
KCRW: There’s been a lot of talk about a possible infrastructure investment program in an effort to shore up bridges roads and so on, but also the idea of helping to stimulate the economy. Do you feel like you want to say, “Hey! Hey! How about sending some of that money over here?”
PN: Absolutely, and I would say making those types of projects available to small business vendors. And I think there a lot of local small businesses that could do quite a bit in infrastructure. But it takes creating a process in really fostering a way for those businesses to engage and propose in potentially win those bids against much larger organizations that might be better prepared to bid on that.