Jessica Dudley: Florida small businesses are powered by tech

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Policymakers must recognize the critical role technology plays in the success of these small businesses.

May is recognized as Small Business Month, and as we reflect on what drives success and growth for America’s entrepreneurs, technology is playing an increasingly important main-stage and behind-the-scenes role in supporting the small business sector.

Whether it’s point-of-sale software, e-commerce platforms, social media or artificial intelligence (AI)-driven products, technological innovations have not only transformed entrepreneurship but have empowered individuals like me to launch successful entrepreneurial endeavors, opening up a world of opportunities for Americans from all walks of life.

Technology has evolved into a critical resource for business growth; entrepreneurs can leverage the web, digital tools, and online platforms to start and scale a business. And tech innovations don’t just unlock possibilities and opportunities for a typical business owner you may think of, they also help artists, musicians, chefs, and so many others break into spaces that otherwise may not have been available to them.

In the Sunshine State, there are 3.1 million small businesses, representing 99.8% of Florida’s businesses. According to WalletHub, Florida is the third-best state to start a business, due in large part to booming local economies financed by small businesses and has the fourth-largest state economy in the nation.

But Florida’s continued growth and success aren’t possible without technology. Entrepreneurship is never easy. It requires time, access to capital, dedication, sacrifice, and the ability to remain nimble while navigating uncertain times and economic conditions — from inflation to supply chain challenges.

A recent small business survey from American Express found that Main Street is struggling to navigate economic headaches, with price hikes and cash flow topping their list of concerns, but also finds that 85% are satisfied with their business and see a positive future for small business ownership, due largely in part to taking steps to implement new tools to remain competitive in the growing marketplace.

Of these new tools, AI is one of the top business areas small businesses are most excited about. Whether AI tools focused on financial management, email marketing or inventory management, AI drives revenues, increases efficiencies, and frees up small-business owners’ time. According to a Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council study, 83% of small-business owners plan to invest in AI-tech tools within the next 12 months.

However, access to these vital tools isn’t always guaranteed. Washington lawmakers are considering policies that could potentially undermine the technology tools that small-business owners like me rely on. Policymakers must understand that such changes could significantly impact small business growth.

Eighty-five percent of small-business owners feel that Congress must balance policies and AI innovation. The same balance must also be struck regarding technological innovation as a whole. Pursuing policies that risk handcuffing America’s best and brightest innovators will impact the small businesses that rely on these tools.

American technology companies are driving innovations and developing the tools and platforms small businesses use for free or at low costs. Without these investments, tools, and innovations, small businesses will be left behind in today’s digital economy. They will be less competitive, unable to keep up with market trends and customer demands, and facing even more obstacles that will cost them time, money, or even their business.

Policymakers must recognize the critical role technology plays in the success of these small businesses. By strengthening the U.S. tech innovators that bring these tools to lifepolicymakers can support small businesses and help uplift local, state, and national economies.


Jessica Dudley is the Chair of Posts For Possibilities. She is a web and social media-powered entrepreneur with close to a decade of experience using these platforms to operate a small business in the beauty and cosmetics industry.

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