“Access to Markets” Initiative Launches to Elevate the Threat Posed by Dominant Corporations and Advance Policies to Secure Fair, Democratic Markets

Washington, D.C. — With the governing power of dominant corporations growing by the day, the American Economic Liberties Project today announced the launch of a new initiative called “Access to Markets.” Designed to elevate the ways dominant corporations use their market power to block entrepreneurs and other businesses from competing and to help build political will to establish a fair system of commerce for all, the Access to Markets Initiative includes an informational website that features testimonials, key research, and a tip-line for entrepreneurs, businesses, and investors to share their experiences with anti-competitive conduct.

The initiative’s launch is also coupled with the release of a new paper, “The Other Red Tape: Market Concentration and the Rise of Private Gatekeepers.” Authored by Access to Markets Co-Leads Denise Hearn and Nidhi Hegde, and Economic Liberties’ Matt Stoller, “The Other Red Tape” documents how dominant corporations function as de facto private regulators, imposing arbitrary rules on markets, stifling innovation, and preventing younger businesses from getting a foothold, and lays out how policymakers can restructure markets to be open, fair, and competitive.

The Access to Markets Initiative is supported by an advisory board featuring business owners, investors, and advocates, including:

  • Binta Niambi Brown, Head of Operations & Strategy at Keep Cool/RCA Records and co-founder of the Black Music Action Coalition;
  • Brandi Collins-Dexter, visiting fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy;
  • Derek Peebles, Executive Director of the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA);
  • John Arensmeyer, Founder & CEO of Small Business Majority;
  • Jules Pieri, Co-Founder & former CEO of The Grommet and Author of How We Make Stuff;
  • Rodney Foxworth, CEO of Common Future; and
  • Taylor Sekhon, Director at Social Capital Partners. 

"Interrogating power and holding it accountable is at the core of Economic Liberties’s Access to Markets Initiative,” said Rodney Foxworth, CEO of Common Future. “Monopolies and duopolies suffocate opportunities for innovation to emerge from diverse entrepreneurs and independent businesses—unrestrained monopolistic power makes it nearly impossible to achieve a fair and inclusive economy, and ultimately, concentrates market power into the hands of just a few corporations. Entrepreneurs, independent businesses, and communities deserve not only access to markets, but an equitable distribution of control of them."

"Having built a ground-breaking platform to level the playing field for entrepreneurs, the case for strengthening the rules that govern our economy and providing individual opportunity via business formation is clear,” said Jules Pieri, Co-Founder & former CEO of The Grommet and Author of How We Make Stuff. “Alas, also quite clear are the destructive forces and anti-competitive actions from overly powerful eco-system players. Continuing to ignore those dynamics threatens the economy as a whole and entrepreneurs specifically."

“Across our economy, a few large firms have bought enough market power to systematically exploit small and growing businesses,” said Taylor Sekhon, Director at Social Capital Partners. “The Access To Markets Initiative will give a platform to these business owners to share their experiences. It will serve as a call to action not just for policy makers, but also for responsible investors who can influence how market power is acquired and exercised."

"Small businesses, particularly those serving under-resourced communities, are essential to a thriving and equitable economy," said John Arensmeyer, Founder & CEO of Small Business Majority. "In order to ensure a strong economic recovery, they must be free to compete and access markets on a level playing field. We're proud to support this effort to encourage policymakers to support our nation's job creators by promoting fair and equal access to markets."

To learn more about Access to Markets or share information about anti-competitive conduct that you’ve experienced, please visit AccessToMarkets.org.

Read “The Other Red Tape: Market Concentration and the Rise of Private Gatekeepers” here, and learn more about the American Economic Liberties Project here

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