Office of Public Engagement

The White House Initiative on AAPIs, Entrepreneurship & Small Business

This coming week the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) will host the inaugural White House Initiative Summit on Entrepreneurship & Small Business Growth. The Summit will take place on the campus of Microsoft, in the heart of Silicon Valley, and provide a forum for Small Business owners and entrepreneurs to engage with policy makers on how to start or expand their small businesses.

The Obama Administration’s commitment to small businesses is unparalleled. President Obama and his cabinet secretaries, from agencies and administrations as diverse as Health and Human Services, the SBA  and the Veterans Administration – to the Departments of Energy, Treasury, Commerce, Defense and Education, among others – recognize that in these tough economic times, Small Businesses and entrepreneurs are indispensible in forging the recovery. Moreover it is through the innovation of our entrepreneurs that new industries and durable jobs will be created.

Since taking office, the President and has signed into law landmark legislation including the Recovery Act, the Health Care Affordability Act, Financial Reform, and the Small Business Jobs Act that provide targeted incentives to Small Business Owners to bolster existing businesses or branch out into new industries via three specific avenues: Access to Capital, Counseling and Mentoring, and Government Contracting.

Perhaps some of the more notable initiatives include the creation of the $30 billion small business lending fund for community development banks, the 16 tax cuts the President signed into law and the increase of SBA 504 loan limits to $5mm for Small Businesses. On the counseling front, the Administration increased the number of Women’s Business Centers and Veteran Business Outreach Centers to train and counsel budding entrepreneurs around the country. And with regard to contracts, the administration recently announced that fully 32% of Recovery Act contracts went to small businesses, with the goal of increasing overall government contracting opportunities for Small Businesses moving forward.

These are but a few ways the government is trying to spur small business job growth. We are looking to make the list longer, and look forward to engaging with you at the WHAAPI Summit.  I am honored to join Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Don Graves, US Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra, HHS Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, Council of Economic Advisers Senior Economist Ronnie Chatterji, and Kiran Ahuja, the Executive Director of the Initiative. Together we wish to celebrate the longstanding contributions of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community to the national economy, and importantly, start to a larger dialogue to discover and discuss issues facing AAPI business men and women at the nexus of policy and business.

Ginger Lew is Senior Counselor to the National Economic Council

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