Committee Examines Role of “Green” Entrepreneurs in Spurring the Economy

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Members of the House Committee on Small Business today heard from a panel of experts who discussed the many economic benefits brought on by this dynamic new business sector.

That spirit—of ingenuity and relentless commitment to quality—defines the green entrepreneur of the 21st century. We must give these firms a chance to grow the economy yet again. This time, it’s to the benefit of the environment and—as always—in the best interest of every American.

American small businesses bring constant innovation to the marketplace—including cutting-edge “green” technologies. In fact, entrepreneurs already make up 90% of the renewable-energy sector and lead the way in the harnessing of wind and solar power. That success, coupled with new commercial opportunities for traditional small firms, offers solid evidence that green entrepreneurship is not just good for the planet, it can jumpstart the lagging U.S. economy. Members of the House Committee on Small Business today heard from a panel of experts who discussed the many economic benefits brought on by this dynamic new business sector.

“Green technology has taken on an important new role—that of market stimulus, and entrepreneurs are levering it to forge a clear path to economic recovery,” said Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez. “That’s definitely good for the environment, but it also means new jobs and increased economic activity.”

Green firms add $933 billion to the economy each year and employ more than 11 million workers. In fact, in 2006 alone, these small businesses hired eight million new workers. By 2030, the number is expected to reach 40 million employees—or 25% of the American workforce. Most of the jobs are in traditional small business industries, including farming, construction, plumbing, and electrical engineering.

“Transforming the U.S. into the world’s leading green economy is a defining challenge of our time, and all workers—from PhDs to blue collar employees—can benefit from this revolution without switching careers or being re-trained,” said Chairwoman Velázquez.

Witnesses at the hearing also noted that global demand for alternative energy systems is on the rise, and that if American firms can meet the needs of the international market, the U.S. economy stands to reap trillions of dollars in export revenue. At home, meanwhile, the continued expansion of green firms has led to lower costs for consumers. In fact, while oil prices continue to soar, the price for wind-powered energy and other alternative fuel technology has fallen more than 80%. The result is lower prices for Americans and greater global market share for U.S. companies.

“During the economic slow down of the 1990’s entrepreneurs had the foresight to improve people’s lives through online services. Their work pulled us out of a difficult time and laid the foundation for the nation’s financial prosperity,” said Chairwoman Velázquez. “That spirit—of ingenuity and relentless commitment to quality—defines the green entrepreneur of the 21st century. We must give these firms a chance to grow the economy yet again. This time, it’s to the benefit of the environment and—as always—in the best interest of every American.”

Click here to view witness testimony.
Click here to view video of the hearing.

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