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Remarks at the Annual Government-Business Forum on Small Business Capital Formation

June 18, 2020

Good morning and welcome everyone to what I am pretty sure is the thirty-ninth annual, but first ever virtual, Government-Business Forum on Small Business Capital Formation. I attended the past two forums, in Columbus and Omaha, and think of them as among the best events the SEC has held. Each drew knowledgeable and diverse participants, had panels that discussed great ideas, and helped shape my own thinking and appreciation for entrepreneurship.

I have been particularly looking forward to this year’s Small Business Forum, and it comes at a critical time. Like many, I have been thinking a lot about our nation’s small businesses and the immense challenges they have faced over the past few months. The number of businesses whose operations have been curtailed or completely shut down amidst the pandemic is staggering. While public policy efforts such as those through the CARES Act appear to have provided some help, great uncertainty still prevents many from being able to know when, how, or if they will be able to carry on their work.

I know that today’s agenda does not focus directly on these matters. But, I am very interested in hearing how these events have affected the way our small businesses have been able to operate, including by raising capital to weather the storm. So, I hope that those participating today will not be shy in sharing what you can, including your ideas about what regulators can do to help in the long-term and perhaps in the immediate future. We may not be able to address all of these issues, but it is certainly our jobs to try.

I see that today’s agenda includes a wide array of topics, and discussions will touch on all of the life stages and sizes of small businesses. We will also hear from individual founders who may have distinct experiences given their backgrounds and geography. I look forward to hearing about the successes and challenges such entrepreneurs have faced at the different points in the business lifecycle.

Thank you to Martha and the hardworking team from the Office of the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation for hosting today’s event. Thank you also to the incredible Information Technology team and Office of Public Affairs at the SEC—I know that transitioning to a virtual forum was no small feat. Finally, thank you all for being with us today. I am sure this will be a fantastic event.

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