In the fall of 2011, after 30 straight months of unemployment above 8 percent and no signs of improvement, we began looking for new ways to spur growth in the American economy. We were both relatively new to the Senate and belonged to different political parties, but found we had a common goal: to grow our economy and help Americans find work. So we decided on a new approach, one that is based on a proven track record of success—the success of the American entrepreneur.

Research conducted by the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City has shown that between 1980 and 2005, companies less than five years old accounted for nearly all the new job growth in the United States. In fact, new firms have been consistently creating about 3 million jobs each year since the 1970s. However, while the United States once ranked among the top five countries in the world for “start-up friendliness,” in recent years, the United States has dropped out of the top 10, landing at 13th in 2012 according to analysis conducted by the World Bank.

The numbers are staggering. In 2010, more than 394,000 new businesses were created in the United States; however, this was the smallest number created in a single year since data collection began in 1977. Though these new companies created more than 2.3 million jobs, that figure is well below the historical average and represents the third smallest number of jobs created by new businesses in more than 30 years. Entrepreneurs, who have more choices than ever ...

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