VP Harris celebrates National Small Business Week in Richmond
The vice president toured Babylon Micro-Farms and discussed a new report released by the White House
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) -Vice President Kamala Harris celebrated National Small Business Week by touring a local manufacturing business and touting what she described as a ‘business boom’ under the Biden-Harris Administration.
Taking center stage in front of dozens of politicians, business owners and community stakeholders, Vice President Kamala Harris recognized the importance of small manufacturing businesses in Virginia and throughout the country.
“I strongly believe that small businesses and small business owners are the backbone of our economy,” Harris said.
Shortly before her remarks, Harris toured Babylon Micro-Farms, a cutting-edge manufacturing company in the farming industry. Babylon uses modern technology to empower and help customers grow fresh produce on-site, indoors and year-round.
Instead of soil, the micro-farms operate using hydroponic systems, a water-based nutrient solution technique.
CEO and Cofounder Alexander Olesen said it is a process that uses 90% less water without pesticides or harmful chemicals.
“This is an essential tool for food security and climate change,” said Olesen. “Each micro-farm is 15 sq. ft. but has the capacity of 2,000 sq. ft. of farmland.”
Olesen and Graham Smith are both founders of the revolutionary business. Together, they built their first hydroponic farm in 2016 while students at the University of Virginia.
Last year, the Biden administration invested $150,000 through its State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) to help the company expand production, hire more employees and continue to shape the future of the farming industry, according to Harris.
“I believe this is the kind of technology that will feed millions of people around the world,” Harris said.
During her visit, the vice president touted a new report on the administration’s Investing In America Agenda. Since the start of the administration, Harris said 10.5 million applications were filed for new small businesses in 2021 and 2022.
She said small businesses have created 3 million jobs.
”There’s a small business boom,” Harris said.
While there’s been progress in job growth, Harris is aware of concerns over barriers like access to capital, and it is a priority to make it easier.
”All across our nation, there are folks who want to hire more employees, want to open more stores, fill their stock,” Harris said. “But, sadly, they don’t always have the capital to do that.”
The vice president said one way to expand access to capital is by investing in community banks.
”As many of you know, community banks provide capital and financial support to small businesses, and in particular, businesses that are overlooked and in underserved communities,” Harris said.
Harris also vowed that the administration would rebuild America’s manufacturing sector, as over 70% of manufacturing companies are small businesses.
“When we invest in small businesses, we invest in America,” Harris said.
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