Small and midsize businesses in the U.S. benefit from government and private sector initiatives that support them from the start-up stage through enterprise development stages and beyond, according to a new report from the Association of Chartered and Certified Accountants and Delta Economics.

Venture capital, angel investors and crowdfunding all help encourage a thriving business environment in the U.S., according to the report, which was commissioned by the ACCA and prepared by Delta Economics. Strong regional cluster programs employ 80 million workers across the country.

The report, The Growth Challenge, finds that unlike some other markets, small and midsize enterprises, or SMEs, enjoy good support structures in the U.S. and a wide range of initiatives to help them not just at birth or in the early stages of business development, but throughout their growth stage and even at the point of exit and reinvestment. SMEs account for 99.7 percent of all U.S. businesses.

“In many other markets, the support is loaded toward the start-up phase,” said ACCA USA head Warner Johnston in a statement. “In the U.S., a highly efficient SME cycle is geared toward not only nurturing start-ups at birth, but also toward creating an incredibly positive SME environment that ensures that appropriate structures are in place to help them grow. A number of respondents in the U.S. mentioned a plethora of mentoring schemes, strong links with universities, and good access to finance as critical for their businesses.”

Researchers examined SME development by interviewing practitioners, financial services professionals, and other experts in China, India, Nigeria, South Africa, Singapore, the U.S., the United Kingdom, Germany, and France. In addition, they reviewed business support literature, analyzed online evidence, and obtained quantitative and survey data to support their findings.

The report notes that many initiatives aimed at supporting the U.S. SME community come from the federal Small Business Administration and focus on start-up businesses. However, SMEs benefit from many more incentives throughout their lives, including research tax breaks from the Internal Revenue Service and state-level incentives for angel investment for SMEs at a more developed stage.

U.S. SMEs highlighted strong regional cluster programs as important to their growth. These local business clusters employ 80 million people, while trade clusters (those that provide goods and services across the country) provide jobs for another 30 million. The research also reveals an emphasis on local and often informal collaboration and skill sharing among small businesses in the U.S. today.

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