What Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton Mean for Your Startup

Business.com / Starting a Business / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is elected as the next U.S. President, you're business will be affected. Find out how.

Small businesses and innovative startups account for more than 55 percent of all jobs in the United States, so it’s no wonder that entrepreneurs across the country are worried about the upcoming presidential election.

Mandated health care, taxes, and the economy are hot-button issues that can affect your business’ bottom line. Who ends up winning the election can have serious ramifications for your company’s future.

Startup founders and entrepreneurs are looking for a candidate that supports the interests of small businesses. While the success of startups has not been a key issue to date, both candidates claim to support the interests of small business leaders and their impact on the economy. Below is where both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump stand on the most pressing issues:

Related Article:How Each Presidential Candidate Could Affect Your Business Income


When it comes to businesses, Trump proposes that all companies, regardless of size, never pay more than 15 percent of their business income in taxes, potentially huge savings for both large corporations and solo freelancers. The lower tax burden would help keep companies in the United States rather than going overseas.

Clinton has a different approach. On her site, she recognizes that very small businesses, meaning those with five or fewer employees, spend more than $1,000 per employee to fulfill federal regulations, a burdensome cost. She proposes simplifying filing and providing tax relief to small businesses, but not large corporations.

Healthcare Reform

When it comes to healthcare, Trump is derisive about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Health Insurance Marketplace, claiming that participants are seeing higher premiums, less competition, and fewer choices. He proposes repealing ACA completely and replacing it with a new system based on a free market with insurance being sold across state lines.

Today, small businesses with more than 50 employees are required to offer healthcare coverage to staff or are subject to significant penalties if they do not provide it. If your startup has fewer employees, that doesn’t apply to you, but it is something to consider as your business flourishes and grows.

On the other side, Clinton is a staunch supporter of the Affordable Care Act. She plans to fight any efforts to repeal it, and will instead expand its reach to cover more people and at cheaper costs. In particular, she aims to lower copays and deductibles, so families spend less out of pocket. In some cases, they may mean you need to pick up more of the cost of your employee healthcare plan if you currently have more than 50 employees.

Related Article:Build It Big: 10 Killer Tips to Solve Common Startup Problems


Part of Trump’s position on immigration and the workforce is that he would implement a “hire Americans first” policy. He states that many companies hire foreign workers on H-1B visas and pay them the lowest possible wage; the "Americans first" policy would raise the wages in certain industries, particularly technology fields.

He also believes there should be enhanced penalties for overstaying a visa, illegally crossing the border and would triple the current U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) staff. For some businesses, this will have a significant impact on the workers they can hire affordably and the amount of money they will have to pay in wages.

Clinton supports immigration reform, giving immigrants currently here in the United States illegally a path to citizenship. She proposes significant grants and funding to help immigrants integrate into their new communities, through English classes, adult programs and more. While this will require larger tax dollars, the goal is to make these workers productive members of society, able to hold jobs and be proficient in English. If successful, businesses could expand their workforce to incorporate these people in entry-level roles.


Clinton proposes raising the minimum wage to at least $12 an hour. She also supported President Obama’s expansion of overtime rules, requiring all employees making less than $47,000 eligible for overtime pay. If elected, startups can expect higher wages for employees.

Trump has also said that wages need to be higher, but did not go as far as to say the minimum wage needs to be raised; in fact, he was emphatically against a minimum wage hike in the debates. He plans to make the United States a more attractive option for businesses, therefore bringing higher paying jobs to America, rather than raising the wage minimum.

Related Article:To Outsource or In-house: When Outsourcing Works Best for Startups

In addition, Clinton is in favor of creating a payroll deduction system for employers looking to help employees with their student loan repayment. Currently, student loan repayment assistance is not tax deductible. This would likely change under the Clinton administration. Also, the Democratic nominee has stated that she would like to allow entrepreneurs and startup employees to defer student loan repayment for up to three years while working on their businesses. Trump and the Republican party has not commented on these matters.

Both Trump and Clinton claim to be supporters of small businesses but have drastically different views on several issues essential to startups. What impact each candidate would have on your business is uniquely dependent on the type of startup you run, its size, its products and the levels of employees you hire.

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