The U.S. House Small Business Committee held a hearing today examining the challenges and opportunities faced by digitally enabled entrepreneurs in rural America. For over 20 years, eBay has empowered independent small businesses, particularly in rural and remote areas, to reach customers across the world. As a result, they are able to maintain and even grow their physical presence and employment in their local communities.
Bill Ingersoll, an eBay seller and owner of Bikes, Trikes, and Quads, testified at the hearing. Bill opened his eBay store in rural Sloanville, New York in 2010 and sells Motocross and ATV equipment to customers across the U.S. and increasingly around the world. Bill was a recipient of one of the 2018 eBay SHINE Awards for Small Businesses, which recognizes some of eBay’s most inspirational sellers across the U.S.
Bill testified to the Committee how an injury in a Motocross crash in 2008 left him paralyzed and unable to work construction or do many of the other things he had done previously. Determined to move forward with his life, Bill looked to turn his hobby of fixing up old ATVs with his grandfather into a business. After buying some ATV parts on eBay, he decided to give selling a try and his business took off from there. Today, Bill runs the business out of a warehouse on his property and has three employees.
Being 23 years old with minimal education in a poor rural area never fostered good odds for an able-bodied person, let alone someone who was now disabled. eBay, and being able to run an online business, has given me a life that I might not have otherwise enjoyed.
In his testimony, Bill discussed the importance of rural communications infrastructure, such as high-speed and affordable broadband, and how it is essential to ensuring rural small businesses can take advantage of the latest technologies that marketplaces like eBay have to offer to reach customers around the world. He also stressed the importance of the reliable, affordable and universal postal service to his business, and that cutting access to these services and/or raising United States Postal Service prices for rural package delivery would be disastrous. Finally, Bill explained how reaching global customers has been key to the success of his businesses and these opportunities would not be possible without Internet-enabled platforms such as eBay. He also highlighted the importance of trade policies that cut red tape for low-value shipments and urged the Committee to support higher de minimis thresholds throughout the world.
eBay would like to thank Bill for taking time away from his small business to testify before the House Small Business Committee on behalf of all Internet-enabled small businesses. The eBay Government Relations team will continue to encourage Congress to support rural communications infrastructure development; a strong and viable United States Postal Service; and, trade policies that remove barriers for small business and reduces transaction costs.
Video of the hearing is available here