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ICYMI- Community Viewpoint: An Internet-Powered Small Business Renaissance

The News & Advance
Community Viewpoint: An Internet-Powered Small Business Renaissance
Posted: April 7, 2013 6:00 AM

Although it may not be readily apparent when strolling down Commerce Street in Lynchburg, most small businesses here are using the Internet to power their business. In a short period of time, the Internet has grown into one of the greatest engines for economic growth and prosperity the world has ever known.

In only 15 years, the Internet increased per capita GDP as much as the Industrial Revolution did in its first 50 years. The Internet is not just in Silicon Valley anymore. The Internet impacts every small town, every city, every congressional district and every state; businesses and consumers are now connected with just a click of mouse.

Last year, nearly 80 percent of Americans accessed the Internet. Of the 244 million Americans who used the Internet, almost all (97 percent) went online to find local products and services. With such a large volume of users, it is not much of a surprise that the fastest growing sector in our economy is Internet-enabled.
As small business owners are getting online, more and more are growing and creating jobs. Last year, small businesses accounted for half of all goods and services and two-thirds of job creation nationwide. Businesses that take advantage of Internet technologies grow an average of 40 percent faster and create twice as many jobs than those that do not. This trend continues to surge.

Some members of Congress have proposed harmful ideas to regulate the Internet. Fortunately, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Sixth District, understands the local economic benefits of a free and innovative Internet.

As chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Goodlatte has jurisdiction over significant issues that impact the Internet. We believe his continued leadership on Internet policy is critical not just for Internet innovation, but also for every American small business and the online community.

For instance, Goodlatte is dedicated to addressing important issues such as patent trolls. These entities, often formed solely to sue companies and individual users for money, harm small business on a daily basis. Patent trolls are detrimental to our growing economy, and it is critical that we find a solution to this problem. We look forward to working with him and the rest of the Virginia Delegation to protect the Internet for you and the great people of Virginia.

On Monday, Goodlatte will join The Internet Association on Main Street for our “Small Business Internet Crawl.” Together, we will visit small businesses and hear how the Internet has enhanced their sales, productivity, and brand awareness.

The Internet will continue to drive economic growth and job creation while improving lives. Lynchburg small businesses are an exceptional example for other Main Streets as the Internet continues to provide content to hundreds of millions of people nationwide — free of charge and free of political interference.