Obama Congratulates SBA Award Winners

It’s what led Andy Wells, a member of the Red Lake Ojibwa Tribe, to invest $1,300 back in 1989 — where’s Andy? Right here — $1,300 back in 1989 to found Wells Technology, manufacturing industrial tools and fasteners and creating jobs near reservations in Minnesota, where he lives. In 2008, his company generated $54 million in revenues, and his customers include Coca-Cola and Boeing and Oshkosh.

So small businesses like these are driving our economy. You’re the job creators, responsible for half of all private sector jobs. You’re innovators, producing 13 times more patents per employee than large companies. You’re the starting point for the products and brands that have redefined the market. After all, Google started out as a small business; that was a research project. Hewlett-Packard began with two guys in a garage. The first Apple computers were built by hand, one at a time. McDonald’s started with just one restaurant.

And small businesses don’t just strengthen our economy — they also strengthen our communities. Your customers aren’t just anonymous folks who buy what you sell — they’re your friends, they’re your neighbors. The place where you set up shop often isn’t just your business address, but it’s also your hometown, and sometimes it’s your home. And I know what you do to give back — sponsoring sports leagues and service projects, serving on boards, donating to charities, mentoring other small business owners to help them be as successful as you are.

So with all that you do for this nation, I think our nation’s government should be there to support you — to help you grow and expand and succeed. So I’m pleased that nearly all of you have benefited from SBA’s services — from SBA loans, programs, advice, counseling. And I’m pleased about that, but I’m not satisfied. I think we can do more. We can do more to help small business owners, especially right now.

And that’s why our recovery plan raises the guarantees on SBA loans to 90 percent, eliminates costly fees for borrowers and lenders, and includes a series of tax cuts for small businesses, as well as incentives to encourage investment in small businesses. And that’s why my proposed budget reduces the capital gains tax for investments in small or startup businesses to zero. Zero capital gains tax.

That’s why I intend to pass comprehensive health care reform this year, so we can lower costs, raise quality, and make it easier for many of you to not only get health care for your employees, but also for yourselves.

And that’s why we’re announcing a new SBA loan program — the America’s Recovery Capital, or ARC, program. And this new program will provide up to $35,000 to help struggling, but still credit-worthy, small businesses pay off non-SBA debts — money they can use to pay suppliers and vendors, or pay down credit card debts. And the loans will be guaranteed 100 percent by the SBA, and they’ll be available starting June 15th. And I believe they will be a lifeline to help viable small businesses through these difficult times.

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