By Muhtar Kent and Ram Charan
The opinions expressed are their own.
While the long-term fundamentals of our economy remain strong, America is struggling to recover from the Great Recession. With unemployment rising to 9.1 percent in May, we need more jobs, and we need them now. The good news is that we can create them by encouraging more small businesses and entrepreneurs to compete and win in the global economy.
Here’s the reality today: two out of three new American jobs are created by companies less than five years old. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are powerful — indeed essential — engines of economic growth and job creation, not to mention tax revenues.
Unfortunately, not enough SMEs are geared toward competing internationally, despite the vast potential that exists in many global markets.
One of the great, largely untold economic stories of our time is the mutual dependency between America’s multinational corporations and small and medium-sized enterprises. Today, large U.S.-based global businesses directly employ 22 million Americans and support more than 41 million additional American jobs through their supply chains. That’s nearly one in three American workers.
Ironically, too much of our national discussion about job creation and tax policy separates small businesses from big, public multinationals. Most state governments, which are on the front lines of attracting and retaining key businesses, are better equipped to recognize this mutual dependency and create policies conducive to growth across the board.