Obama says business success takes a village. But do owners agree?

Over the weekend President Obama said that small business success is a group effort. But some small business owners disagree, reminding the President that they are the ones who take the risk to launch the business, who do not get paid if something goes wrong.

Seth Wenig/AP
Costas Tsamas, originally from Greece, talks on the phone in front of his food cart in New York in this June 2012 file photo. Data shows that 18 percent of small business owners in the US are immigrants. President Obama offended some business owners this weekend with comments about who deserves credit for a business's success.

In case you missed it over the weekend, President Obama said the following about entrepreneurs: “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

Now I am the first to say that entrepreneurs do not build a business alone. They need help from employees, customers, investors, suppliers, family members, and the broader community.

That being said, entrepreneurs are the ones who take the risk to launch the business. They are the ones who do not get paid if money is tight. They are the ones who personally guarantee the business’s loans.

NFIB President and CEO Dan Danner nailed it today when he said, “His unfortunate remarks over the weekend show an utter lack of understanding and appreciation for the people who take a huge personal risk and work endless hours to start a business and create jobs. “I’m sure every small-business owner who took a second mortgage on their home, maxed out their credit cards or borrowed money from their own retirement savings to start their business disagrees strongly with President Obama’s claim.”

Entrepreneurs do not owe any of their success to what politicians do in Washington.  They do not owe their good fortune to government.

It is the government that owes its successes to the entrepreneurs who built our once mighty economy through the pursuit of free enterprise.

Amy Payne at the Foundry put it this way: “The slap in the face to hard-working Americans conveyed Obama’s belief that it takes a village—a heavily subsidized village—to create that venture you’re profiting from.”

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.