As the infrastructure package is decided, the private sector can scale up

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As lawmakers scramble to cut a multibillion-dollar infrastructure bill, it is clear: the public overwhelmingly supports its goals. Americans said that “62 to 32 percent support a $ 3.5 trillion spending bill for social programs such as child care, education, family tax breaks and family expansion. health insurance for the elderly, ”a Quinnipiac poll found. As News week reported, even among Republicans, the package has more supporters than detractors.

The bill tackles a long list of issues, including immigration and border security, clean energy, affordable housing and more. But the full wishlist will not be granted. With some lawmakers pushing to cut the bill, everyone involved seems to have accepted that it needs to be cut to have a chance to pass.

In a sense, this reduction is bad news for startups. As TechCrunch Explained earlier this year, government investments in many arenas “will, directly or indirectly, be a huge boost for a number of startups and large tech companies whose hardware and software services will enable much of the work they do. the Biden administration wants to do. ” Government spending can help fuel the growth of these businesses: less spending means fewer opportunities.

Yet when certain expenses are taken off the bill, business owners and entrepreneurs like me can also look to use the change as an opportunity. As the package arrives, the private sector may step in in a different way.

Popularity shows demand

The popularity of the $ 3.5 trillion bill, along with the separate $ 1.2 trillion bipartisan bill on infrastructure investment and jobs, shows growing demand in America for new solutions to problems. big problems. The reason so many people want big new programs to pass is that they are rightly fed up with them. They have had to deal with years of failure to solve problems that plague so many aspects of their daily lives – not just dilapidated roads and bridges, but lack of affordable food, childcare, professional training and much more.

Sunrise hits the dome of the US Capitol.
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The package is like a model for the priorities shared by millions of Americans. Some of these priorities will not be funded in this bill, at least not as much as many people had hoped. When this happens, entrepreneurs can turn to private investors to show unmet demand. We can say: the American people have made it clear that they want solutions; the government ultimately did not fund those parts of what they are looking for; So let’s exploit this unmet demand. Let’s develop our offers and bring our solutions directly to the people who seek them. Our startups are the offer to meet their demand. After all, many of the most successful businesses were built to solve problems.

My work focuses on servicing mortgages, a slice of the economy that often determines whether people can keep their homes in times of hardship. Mortgage origination has received a lot of attention in recent years, but the service, which may be managed by a company other than the lender, has remained riddled with problems. These struggles are particularly acute for minorities who, according to a Fed study, have suffered “the brunt of the impact of COVID-19 on the mortgage market.” The entire industry is beset by obsolete and often unnecessary technology. Brace is focused on fixing it all.

Looking at the text and the analyzes of the bill, I see that it includes funding aimed at helping people stay at home, especially in areas suffering from high rates of foreclosures, evictions or abandonment. If a final bill passes, I will see what is in it and what is not. And I’ll look to investors and mortgage service companies to show how my startup can help in ways the bill doesn’t.

Entrepreneurs in other fields can do the same. Take agriculture for example. The bill contains funds to help farmers struggling with climate change. It is an opportunity for entrepreneurs who create new agricultural technologies. But even if some of the bill’s public funding is cut, these entrepreneurs can look to private investors and farmers to show how they can help meet unmet demand.

This same idea applies to many areas that are high on the bill’s priorities, from coastal resilience to hard rock mining to clean energy for low-income families.

Build relationships with the public sector

The downsizing of the bill may also present an opportunity for entrepreneurs to forge new relationships with the public sector, including with specific lawmakers who wish to bring solutions to their constituents.

We can show them what our startups do and how they make a difference. We can show them how they might be able to bring these types of solutions right into their home communities, even without the support of the spending bill. We can work towards a win-win for everyone involved.

Successful businesses know how to pivot. Some who were hoping for a boost from the spending bill will have to find it through other means. Adaptability is one of the most crucial business skills a business leader can have. Regardless of Washington over the next few weeks, those of us in the private sector may find a way to move forward and help “build back better.”

Eric Rachmel is founder and CEO of Brace.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.


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