(Portsmouth, NH) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, visited local businesses in Portsmouth today, including Cup of Joe, La Maison Navarre, Kilwins Chocolate, Fudge & Ice Cream Shoppe and the Drift Collective. Chair Shaheen was joined by the New Hampshire District Office for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Portsmouth Mayor Deaglan McEachern and local officials to tour small businesses, hear their concerns and encourage Granite Staters to shop small.

“In New Hampshire, 99 percent of employers are small businesses, and they hire nearly 50 percent of our state’s workforce. As we approach the holiday season, I encourage all Granite Staters to join me in supporting our small businesses by shopping small and local,” said Chair Shaheen. “From the Seacoast to the Lakes Region, up to the North Country, over to Western New Hampshire and back down to the Southern Tier, our state is brimming with incredible local businesses who all could use our support this holiday season.”

Chair Shaheen is a fierce advocate for New Hampshire’s—and America’s—small businesses. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Shaheen went to bat for small business owners who were among the most severely impacted by the public health crisis. She worked to provide small businesses with the resources they needed to weather and recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading negotiations on provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which established the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and expanded the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, both of which were lifelines for businesses throughout New Hampshire and the country. President Biden signed into law a Shaheen-led bill to require the SBA to create a centralized website that houses compliance guides pertaining to federal regulations impacting small businesses. Biden also signed into law two other Shaheen-led bills that help small businesses with cybersecurity and recover from natural disasters.

This month, Shaheen introduced the Heroes Business Opportunity Act to help veteran small business owners access capital. The legislation waives the SBA’s guaranty fee for veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs) on 7(a) loans of up to $1 million. Shaheen also convened a hearing on the state of veteran small business ownership, the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) current veteran small business programs and the ways the federal government can continue to support veteran entrepreneurs.

Earlier this year, Shaheen introduced the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) Improvement Act, which would reauthorize the STEP program, improve reporting to Congress about the program’s effectiveness, increase flexibility for grant recipients and make the grant process easier to use for States. Shaheen also introduced the Small Business Broadband and Emerging Information Technology Enhancement Act in July, which would improve coordination of SBA resources to help businesses with maximizing the benefit of high-speed internet, artificial intelligence and other technologies.