Jobs & The Economy: Putting America Back to Work

“It is our generation’s task, to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth —
a rising, thriving middle class,”

— President Barack Obama

Jobs & The Economy: Putting America Back to Work

Business in America News

  • Small Business Owner Says Payroll Tax Cuts Are "Game Changers"

    President Obama was in Scranton, Pennsylvania today to talk about the importance of extending the payroll tax cut for all working Americans and their families, and for the strength of the overall economy. These tax cuts will also have a tremendous impact on America's small businesses, 91.5 percent of which have fewer than 5 employees. The White House Business Council spoke to the owner of one such business in Knoxville, Tennessee who says the President's plan will help her business grow by freeing up her own capital, and that of her potential and existing clients as well.

    The tax code and creativity are not commonly linked in the minds of most people. Not so for Jenny Hines, President of Hines and Company Accountants, located in Knoxville, Tennessee.  “I was always interested in taxation not simply because of the planning and number crunching,” says Jenny, “but because that planning required a certain level of creativity.”

    After graduating from the University of Tennessee with a Masters Degree in Taxation, Hines went to work for one of the largest CPA firms in the country.  But after watching many of the firm’s small business clients unable to afford its services, she decided to strike out on her own.  “There was an attitude at the large firm – and it certainly wasn’t everybody, but still – that was ‘How little work can we do, and still charge the client?’ People and their businesses were too often treated like commodities." 

  • Montana Entrepreneur Says President Obama's Plan Will Help Her Create New Jobs

    The White House Business Council invited small business owners and entrepreneurs from across the country to a forum we hosted with Business Forward earlier this month. While they were here, we spoke to some of the people we met about the secrets of their success, and found out how the American Jobs Act will enable them to grow even more quickly in 2012.

    Sarah Calhoun, the CEO of Red Ants Pants, a Montana clothing manufacturer, wants Congress to pass the American Jobs Act:"We are growing rapidly here and will need to continue hiring new employees. The payroll tax breaks included in the American Jobs Act would allow me to hire new employees sooner than I otherwise would be able to do so. Every new job, even in rural Montana, is a new job for America."   

    Calhoun is an unlikely fashion tycoon. Raised on a farm, her first jobs were working the fields with her father and leading wilderness expeditions for Outward Bound. The inspiration for Calhoun’s business was no Fashion Week runway; she started her company in 2006 after identifying a real gap in the marketplace: sturdy pants for hardworking women like herself. “I was constantly putting down my tools, yanking on my pants- and getting totally fed up.” 

    In high school, Calhoun had cut and re-sewn her father’s old work pants to wear on the job and while they stood up to the rigor of the work, the fit was never right. Her Red Ants Pants have a gusseted crotch, reinforced knees, are made from durable cotton canvas, have been designed especially to fit the female shape and come in 70 sizes and two main styles. They are produced in Washington state, at a manufacturing company also owned by a woman, and they are sold online, out of a storefront in White Sulphur Springs, Montana and through a mobile effort involving an Airstream trailer and client-hosted sales events that’s been dubbed the Tour de Pants.

    Even the company’s name is a tribute to hard working females, of the insect variety, anyway: Calhoun says she was inspired by the social structure of red ant colonies, which are made up of primarily female workers, "meaning that it’s the women who do all the work!"

  • Bargain Hunters Be Wary

    As Americans kick off the holiday shopping season, it's a good time to remember the importance of making responsible purchases and rejecting counterfeits that pose a threat to American jobs, safety and health. Today I joined Attorney General Eric Holder and other Administration officials at the White House to announce progress we’ve made cracking down on intellectual property theft crimes, and to launch a public awareness campaign to combat the purchase and sale of counterfeit and pirated products.

    As President Obama has said, in order to win the future in the global economy America must out innovate our competitors. Intellectual property theft undermines our nation's innovators and entrepreneurs. The new campaign will educate the public about the full range of intellectual property crimes we confront, from counterfeit consumer goods and fake pharmaceuticals laced with potentially dangerous substances to illegal downloads, while highlighting the potential threat these crimes pose to economic prosperity and public safety. The campaign will include a television PSA, materials delivered through social media, and radio, web, and print ads. 

    The Administration has been proactive on multiple fronts in order to increase intellectual property enforcement. We have increased law enforcement efficiency, advocated for legislative reform, informed the public about the negative impacts of intellectual property theft, and engaged the private sector to foster cooperation and create voluntary solutions through productive conversations. Today’s announcement marks an important milestone in the Administration’s ongoing efforts to curb intellectual property theft that harms the economy, undermines job creation, undermines innovation, and jeopardizes the health and safety of American consumers.  

    At the event, Attorney General Holder and I were joined by Acting Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank, who discussed the ways in which counterfeit goods impact the everyday lives of American families. Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement John Morton was also in attendance to discuss ongoing Administration law enforcement efforts concerning counterfeit goods and intellectual property crimes. And Ann Harkins, National Crime Prevention Council President and CEO, was on hand to unveil the products of the campaign that will help build awareness about the harm caused by counterfeit goods and engage the public in stopping intellectual property theft. 

    For more information about the campaign, visit:

  • Employee-Owned Texas Aviation Company Says Passing the American Jobs Act Will Help their Community

    The White House Business Council invited small business owners and entrepreneurs from across the country to a forum we hosted with Business Forward earlier this month. While they were here, we spoke to some of the people we met about the secrets of their success, and found out how the American Jobs Act will enable them to grow even more quickly in 2012.

    An employee-owned company in Texas says the American Jobs Act will help their company, and their community. “The employer portion would allow for us to have more funds to invest in growth and capital equipment in 2012,” explains David Ickert, VP of Finance  at Air Tractor, Inc. “The worker tax relief would allow for more available cash in the pockets of US workers which could be used for purchases to help in a positive manner in the local economy.” 

    Air Tractor has always taken its role as a community leader very seriously, in fact community support launched the company in the first place. In the early 1950s, Leland Snow spent summers building agriculture airplanes from scratch in his mother’s garage in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, the birthplace of the aerial agriculture industry. His reputation in the nascent field grew so quickly that, in 1958, 58 city and business leaders in Olney, Texas decided to take a chance on this young man, and signed guarantees at the local bank to give Snow a working capital line of $50,000.00 enabling him to start his aircraft manufacturing company in their town.

    Snow’s first agricultural aircraft was named the Snow, next  came the Thrush,  then in 1972 Snow built the first Air Tractor, the AT-300, which later became the AT-301. In 1977, Air Tractor introduced the first turbine powered aircraft and in 1990, Snow created the world’s largest agriculture aircraft. According to Snow’s family, he built a “53-year legacy of aircraft design and innovations that ushered in the era of the modern agricultural spray plane.”

    Today Air Tractor Inc produces the world’s most popular aerial spray aircraft as well as single engine air tankers that are used in aerial firefighting. The company’s sole mission is to “provide aircraft, parts and services to help feed and protect the world and to provide stable jobs for their employee owners.”  Air Tractor is a 100% employee owned company which has been able to expand to new international markets while expanding job opportunities in Olney, Texas.  

    In 2010, international sales accounted for more than 50 percent of Air Tractor’s business, and the company has been able to help those in remote areas of the world increase grain production. Of all their accomplishments, Ickert says the company is most proud that they are able to simultaneously meet the food needs of people around the world while meeting employment needs on Main Street in his community.

    This crafty Nevada business owner says the American Jobs Act would remove a roadblock to growth
    NY CEO says America can't wait to address our economic problems
    North Carolina entrepreneur says the American Jobs Act will help expand her business

  • Crafty Nevada Business Owner Says the American Jobs Act Would Remove a Roadblock to Growth

    The White House Business Council invited small business owners and entrepreneurs from across the country to a forum we hosted with Business Forward earlier this month. While they were here, we spoke to some of the people we met about the secrets of their success, and found out how the American Jobs Act will enable them to grow even more quickly in 2012.

    Laura Zander and her husband Doug left San Francisco and their jobs as software engineers at the end of the dot com bubble. They first settled in a small California town and poured their savings into Zander’s store, Jimmy Beans Wool in 2002.  “Jimmy” is Laura’s nickname from her husband after their favorite musician. The “Beans Wool” described the store itself: part yarn shop, part coffee shop. While the coffee was good, it was the yarn that became the hit, and Zander sold the espresso machine on eBay six months later. Knitting had been Zander’s hobby. It was now her business.

    Now located in Reno, Nevada, Jimmy Beans Wool is taking off. Zander expects to sell more than $6 million worth of products this year, an almost 600 percent sales improvement over five years. Zander strives to make the online shopping experience like the real thing. Items ship within 12 hours of purchase seven days a week and customers can browse 1,000 video product reviews. Zander is also committed to corporate social responsibility. Jimmy Beans Wool sponsored six college scholarships last year and is an official sponsor of the US Snowboard and Freeskiing Teams. This summer Zander will release a book featuring celebrity-designed knitwear to launch the “Stitch Red” campaign against heart disease.

    According to Zander, the President's plan to create jobs will further fuel her company’s success. “Our business is self-financed and debt free – we want to keep it that way. The only thing preventing our additional growth is the cash flow to purchase more inventory and sell more products. Through a reduction in payroll taxes, the American Jobs Act would help remove a roadblock. To put it simply, for every dollar that the American Jobs Act would save us in payroll taxes, we can increase our revenues by $2.”

  • Support Your Local Businesses on “Small Business Saturday”

    Ed. note: This was cross-posted from the Small Business Administration's Open for Business blog

    You’ve heard of Black Friday. And Cyber Monday. But did you know that this Saturday is Small Business Saturday? We’re encouraging everyone to visit a small business to do some holiday shopping this Saturday.

    As President Obama said in a message out to all Small Business Saturday supporters:

    From the mom-and-pop storefront shops that anchor Main Street to the high-tech startups that keep America on the cutting edge, small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the cornerstones of our Nation’s promise.  These businesses create two out of every three new jobs in America, helping spur economic development in communities across our country and giving millions of families and individuals the opportunity to achieve the American dream.  Through events such as Small Business Saturday, we keep our local economies strong and help maintain an American economy that can compete and win in the 21st century.

    When you walk down Main Street in any city in America, you can often find great restaurants, service providers, and handcrafted, Made-in-America products from local shops. It’s wonderful to simply go in and visit with local business owners and hear what’s happening in the community. 

    There are many people in my life that appreciate a unique gift from a local business, like the blueberry jam I pick up at the Farmers’ Market in my hometown of Brunswick, Maine. This Saturday, I’m planning to go back to that market early in the morning, and then I will travel to Roslindale, Massachusetts, to celebrate Small Business Saturday with Boston Mayor Tom Menino. Many other top-level officials throughout the Administration are also “shopping small” this Saturday.

    Everyone knows that your dollar goes a long way at when you buy a product or service from a small business. That money goes right back into the local economy. And that’s important, because half of working Americans either own or work for a small business, and small businesses create two out of every three new jobs.

    It’s great to find the perfect gift from a small business. Often, when you carry it to the counter, you can see the business owner’s eyes light up. They tell a story about how that gift was made. Or where it came from.  Or how it’s a one-of-a-kind.  And the gift immediately becomes even more meaningful and special. Moments like that are what makes the holidays magical.

    In addition to our support for Small Business Saturday, the SBA is working hard to make sure even more small businesses can keep growing. For example, we had an all-time record for SBA loans this year, with over $30 billion in lending support that helped about 60,000 small businesses buy a new building, get more equipment, or hire more workers. And, right now, the President is calling on Congress to cut in half the payroll taxes for small businesses as part of the American Jobs Act.

    Let’s all do our part to support America’s small businesses as they continue to strengthen our economy and create jobs. Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Small Business Saturday, and Happy Holidays. 

  • NY CEO Says We Can't Wait to Address Our Economic Problems

    The White House Business Council invited small business owners and entrepreneurs from across the country to a forum we hosted with Business Forward earlier this month. While they were here, we spoke to some of the people we met about the secrets of their success, and found out how the American Jobs Act will enable them to grow even more quickly in 2012.

    e2e Materials was founded in 2006 with a simple premise: Soy-based biocomposite furniture, cabinetry and other wood-based products could be stronger, lighter, safer, cheaper and more sustainable than those made from other wood composites. In just 5 years, President and CEO Patrick Govang, formerly a director at Cornell University’s Center for Materials Research and an 18-year veteran of the automobile industry, has grown the company from a one-man operation to a business supporting 24 full time employees. 

    “From our technology to our production processes our team innovates on all fronts, and taken together, we have the potential to create a tremendous amount of value, says Govang. “Our raw materials can all be grown in one year, rather than 20 for a tree.  Our processed materials are both stronger than the competition and biodegradable, and can be processed to complex and custom shapes, minimizing waste and cost.  Our products contain no formaldehyde or toxins. And we use only 19 percent of the energy that’s required to produce comparable wood-based products. Better products, American innovation and outrageously green.” 

    As it grows, e2e plans to source all of its agricultural raw materials from within 100 miles of their Ithaca, NY-based production facility.  In the next four to five years, e2e plans to meet its growing demand with a major production operation that will support up to 200 manufacturing jobs and as many as 1,500 related agricultural jobs in New York State.  

    Govang believes his company will grow even more quickly if Congress embraces the President’s plan to create jobs. “The tax credits for both equipment investment, and the payroll tax breaks contained within the American Jobs Act will be critical as we look to greatly expand our production in the coming years.”

  • A More Sustainable Future

    All across the country, thousands of Americans spend a great amount of time commuting to their jobs. This is precious time that could be spent with their families and not sitting in traffic.  As our families grow and our lives get busier, living close to work becomes vital to our quality of life. We are constantly looking for a better solution, something to make things just a little bit easier. 

    Now, thanks to nearly $96 million in Sustainable Communities Awards announced this week, 27 communities and 29 regions across the country will be able to establish a more livable, equitable, and economically competitive future. These funds, awarded to two grant programs, are poised to help change the face of communities across the country.

    The Community Challenge Grants aim to reform and reduce barriers to achieving affordable, economically vital and sustainable communities. Awarded to large and small communities, these funds will help address local challenges to integrating transportation and housing. Funds awarded to communities may also be used to retrofit main streets to provide safer routes for children and seniors and to preserve affordable housing and local businesses near new transit stations.

    The Regional Planning Grants allows grantees to support efforts that integrate housing, land-use, economic and workforce development, transportation, and infrastructure developments. This will empower regions to consider how all of these factors work together to create more jobs and economic opportunities. 

    As a direct result of this funding thousands of jobs will be created and will impact the lives of 45.8 million Americans. This means that 45.8 million Americans will be able to spend less time in their cars and more time at home with their families.

    Read a complete summary of each grant awarded funding today.

  • Hiring Vets Is Smart Business

    20111121 Jason Hansman

    Today is a historic day for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. When President Obama signs the VOW to Hire Heroes Act into law, an entire generation of new vets will be provided much-needed practical support to transition from combat to careers.  As an Iraq vet I am privileged to lead the membership team at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the country’s first and largest nonpartisan organization committed to our newest veterans. And I speak for all of us when I thank the lawmakers who worked so hard together, putting aside party, to get this bill passed. We also thank the President for his leadership on the issue - for acting so quickly on this legislation and for bringing national attention to the veterans’ unemployment crisis.

    Some 240,000 young vets were out of work in September 2011 alone, and with the Iraq War set to end in two months, a surge of troops will be returning home. And most of them will be looking for work. 

    There are moral and patriotic reasons to care for returning combat vets. But hiring vets is also smart business. The hundreds of combat patrols they’ve been on may not mean much to a civilian employer, but the millions of dollars of equipment, complex planning and logistic they had responsibility for should. 

    Take my story, for example. I served in Iraq as a proud noncommissioned officer in the Army from 2004-2005, managing hundreds of reconstruction projects in a Civil Affairs company that totaled millions of dollars. Armed with that experience and a political science degree from the University of Washington, I entered the civilian job market in 2008 with a solid resume. Yet after nine months and 375 resumes sent out, I only received one interview request – from a temp agency, looking to fill a night mall cop position. 

    I took that job, with drive and resolve. Vets tend not to make excuses and whine about employment prospects. We learned in the military that all jobs deserve attention and respect. But security is not what I wanted to do. And I think it’s fair to say I deserved different opportunities. I wanted opportunities that would utilize my potential as a leader, my schooling, and my experiences in the Army. My generation of vets grew up learning how to save lives, build roads and schools, negotiate with the local community, and work with a team - all while under fire. We’ll certainly be able to handle the worst the civilian world can throw at us, but we need a foot in the door first. That’s why the VOW to Hire Heroes Act is so important. The tax credits for employers should get employers’ attention and open the door. Once in, we can take it from there. We’ll deliver. 

    The time for America’s economic revival is now. And like our grandparents before us, it’ll be another Greatest Generation leading the way.

  • Transportation Executive "Can't Wait" for Congress to Pass Tax Cuts in the American Jobs Act

    The 100% expensing provision of the American Jobs Act will enable Ray Land to purchase 20 additional motor coaches for his business, creating work for the company that builds them, and jobs for more drivers in Florida. In addition, Land says “the new tax provisions are great. In particular, we more likely than ever to hire the long-term unemployed.”  

    Ray Land has always exhibited a passion for getting people where they need to go. As one of the youngest motor coach operators in North America and founder of Fabulous Coach Lines, Land has dedicated himself to providing his customers with a safe and “fabulous” travel experience. 

    Land’s experience in the motor coach business began early in life when he began planning field trips for his middle school classes and then later planning trips throughout high school for local community organizations. Continually underwhelmed by the operating conditions of the motor coaches he chartered, Land decided he could provide a more enjoyable and reliable travel experience by operating his own motor coach.  At the age of 17, and with a little help from his parents, Land did just that, purchasing his first motor coach over the Internet. Fabulous Coach Lines was born. 

    Since founding the company in 2004, Land has grown Fabulous Coach Lines into a regional leader that now boasts a fleet of 30 motor coaches. “My team and I constantly strive for excellence, and most importantly, make keeping people happy our number 1 goal.”  In keeping with this commitment, Land contacts every customer after their trip to get vital feedback on ways to improve his company’s travel experience.  It is this type of steadfast commitment to customer satisfaction that has underscored Fabulous Coach Lines’ development and growth. Land has also demonstrated an ability to adapt to changing times. In June 2009, Land launched his “Breezeways” service line, providing a safe, enjoyable, and more economical travel experience to groups unable to afford his Fabulous Coach line. It soon became the preferred travel option for school groups, youth camps, and family reunions, providing Land with a steady revenue stream. 

    This crafty Nevada business owner says the American Jobs Act would remove a roadblock to growth
    NY CEO says America can't wait to address our economic problems
    North Carolina entrepreneur says the American Jobs Act will help expand her business


  • Wisconsin Brewery Owner Says Passing American Jobs Act Is "Way Overdue"

    The White House Business Council invited small business owners and entrepreneurs from across the country to a forum we hosted with Business Forward earlier this month. While they were here, we spoke to some of the people we met about the secrets of their success, and found out how the American Jobs Act will enable them to grow even more quickly in 2012.

    The 100% expensing provisions in the American Jobs Act are just the incentive Deb Carey needs to kick off a major upgrade at her Wisconsin brewery. In 2012, New Glarus Brewing Company will invest almost $2 million in a new 15,000 square foot warehouse, new kegs, a gift shop addition, new manufacturing equipment to improve energy efficiencies and production upgrades. 

    “The tax cuts in the American Jobs Act will make it more cost-effective to expand our employee base by 10 percent and give out annual raises. It will also help us write off over $1 million of new equipment investments, and ultimately, create more jobs and economic activity in our community,” says Carey. 

  • Transportation Executive Says the American Jobs Act Will Enable Him to Hire

    The White House Business Council invited small business owners and entrepreneurs from across the country to a forum we hosted with Business Forward earlier this month. While they were here, we spoke to some of the people we met about the secrets of their success, and found out how the American Jobs Act will enable them to grow even more quickly in 2012.

    Aaron Tennant, who owns Tennant Truck Lines, Inc., says passing the American Jobs Act will create jobs in his company. “Cutting the payroll tax in half and creating a payroll tax holiday for 2012 are very powerful and will help my decision to hire. Most employees don’t understand the additional cost we incur to provide jobs. We can use this windfall to invest back into the business, in our case means investing in additional trucks which require drivers and support staff."

    Tennant Trucking Lines, Inc. is a third generation industry leader that had a deceptively modest beginning. In 1946, Sydney Tennant started “hauling swine on a milk run” from rural Iowa and Illinois to Chicago, according to his son, Bob Tennant. With the help of his supportive family, Tennant turned his dream of creating a profitable trucking company that provided jobs for hardworking folks in the rural Midwest into a thriving business. Today that business is run by Aaron Tennant, Bob’s son and Sydney’s grandson, who continues to execute his grandfather’s vision of success.

  • Life Sciences Supply Company Says the American Jobs Act Will Help Drive Growth

    The White House Business Council invited small business owners and entrepreneurs from across the country to a forum we hosted with Business Forward earlier this month. While they were here, we spoke to some of the people we met about the secrets of their success, and found out how the American Jobs Act will enable them to grow even more quickly in 2012.
    Mickey Blake and Peter Kegel of Mt Baker Bio

    Mickey Blake and Peter Kegel launched Mt Baker Bio in Washington to "green up" the biomedical community. Since 2009, the company has developed 17 eco-friendly plastic alternatives for biomedical laboratories and diverted nearly 50,000 lbs of recyclable plastics out of the landfill.

    After 15 years in the biomedical industry, Mickey Blake became frustrated by the sheer amount of laboratory waste produced every day.  Two years ago, she and her partner Peter Kegel set out to identify the largest unregulated laboratory waste products. Turns out it was single-use plastics; in fact  Blake estimates that more than 500,000 tons of single-use plastics are going into the landfill each year, creating a long-term pollution problem. This discovery led to the launch of Mt. Baker Bio in Everett, Washington.

    “Identifying this was a challenge because there were little to no metrics in place. Next to water and energy consumption, plastics are one of the most significant forms of waste, but there was no direct infrastructure in place to help deal with the issue. There is a huge push to conserve water, energy and safe chemicals usage but virtually nothing addressing plastics.” Blake and Kegel designed environmentally friendly alternatives that are recyclable, reusable or can be recognized as a food source by microorganisms in a biologically active landfill.

  • Ambassador Kirk Updates the President's Export Council on 2011 Trade Updates and Initiatives

    Earlier today I had the opportunity to participate in a meeting of the President’s Export Council (PEC) at the White House. Members of the PEC gathered to strategize and discuss ways to reach the President’s goal of doubling our nation’s exports by the end of 2014. In addition, the private sector members of the PEC presented Administration officials with letters of recommendations on topics such as expansion of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), Middle East/North Africa commercial engagement and workforce readiness. We thanked them for their ideas, and underscored the importance of their input to the Administration’s efforts to boost exports. 

    During the meeting I emphasized the milestone we reached with the signing of the recent trade agreements with Korea, Colombia,and Panama,as well as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  Additionally, I highlighted the importance of the work with Congress that lies ahead to terminate the application of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment to Russia now that it will be formally invited to join the World Trade Organization next month. 

    Other senior officials joining me in today’s meeting were Commerce Secretary John Bryson, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Small Business Administrator Karen Mills, Chairman of the Export-Import Bank Fred Hochberg,and Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro; along with White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley and Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett.  Today’s meeting was live streamed on

    The PEC was established in 1973 by President Richard Nixon.  The initial group consisted of 20 members, all of whom were business executives.  Six years later, in 1979, President Jimmy Carter reconstituted and expanded the PEC.  Council membership grew to the current roster of 48 members and was extended to include leaders of the labor and agriculture communities, members of Congress, and members of the executive branch.

  • America's Small Business Owners Can't Wait for Congress To Act

    Watch small business owners talk about the American Jobs Act here

    On Thursday, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate did the right thing and voted to pass tax credits that will encourage businesses to hire America’s veterans. A group of business owners who recently met with the White House Business Council say they hope that Congress will pass the other provisions in the American Jobs Act and support their efforts to grow their companies and create jobs in their communities.

  • More Resources for America’s Veteran-Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners

    Ed. Note: Cross-posted with the Small Business Administration blog.

    Like many Americans in my generation, my father was a World War II veteran.  My life has been shaped and influenced by his service.  Now, as Deputy Administrator at the SBA, I am committed to supporting America’s veteran entrepreneurs and business owners as they grow their business and put America back to work.

    Just yesterday, I hosted a forum for young veterans on the campus of San Diego State University as part of SBA’s Young Entrepreneurs Series and National Entrepreneurship Month. I was happy to meet so many young veterans who are using the skills and leadership they learned in the military to start and run a business.  

    We talked about a number of important issues facing veteran-entrepreneurs who are part of America’s small business community.  We discussed important American Jobs Act proposals such as the call that President Obama made yesterday for Congress to provide large tax credits to businesses that hire veterans and service-disabled veterans.  This is something that everyone can and should support.

    Today, we’re putting forth even more ideas to support veteran business owners as they grow and hire with a report from the Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development, which the President created and I have the honor to chair.  The Task Force came up with 18 recommendations across three priority areas: 

  • Holly Petraeus Talks the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the Senate

    This morning, Holly Petraeus -- the assistant director for the Office of Servicemember Affairs in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau -- testified before the Senate Banking Committee.

    She was there to talk about the way that predatory lenders often target servicemembers and how military families cope with economic hardships -- especially during deployments.

    She told Senators

    In my role as a military family member, I have seen the problems that can arise for our servicemembers who may experience “too much month and not enough money.” I have also seen first-hand the devastating impact financial scams and predatory lending can have on servicemembers and their families. Unfortunately there are still too many young troops learning about wise spending through hard experience and years of paying off expensive debt.

    Her remarks make a powerful argument for the ways that the CFPB will help combat the lenders who try to take advantage of consumers -- and underscores why it's so important that the Senate confirm Rich Cordray.

    Take a minute to check them out:


  • By the Numbers: 44 Million

    44 million

    Entrepreneurs and the businesses they create play a critical role in sparking new industries, expanding our economy, and generating new job growth across the country. Companies less than five yeas old created 44 million new jobs over the last three decades. In fact, these firms accounted for all net new jobs created in the United States during that time. Huge Fortune 500 companies like Apple, FedEx, and Boeing all began as startups from entrepreneurs with big ideas.

    Entrepreneurship has long been a cornerstone of America's economic power. Helping entrepreneurs access the capital and support they need to get new businesses off the ground in these tough economic times is one of the most important things we can do to help our economy grow. That's why President Obama included help for entrepreneurs in the American Jobs Act and introduced the Startup America Initiative earlier this year. Both the Jobs Act and the initiative help entrepreneurs cut through regulatory red tape and access the investment capital they need, enabling them  to turn new ideas into new businesses and new jobs more quickly and easily. The President also signed the America Invents Act in September of this year to fast-track startups and help them put their products on the market more efficiently. enable them to put their products on the market more quickly.

  • Five Facts About a National Infrastructure Bank

    20111102 Construction workers listen as the President speaks at the Key Bridge

    Construction workers listen as President Barack Obama delivers remarks at Georgetown Waterfront Park in Washington, D.C., regarding the infrastructure piece of the American Jobs Act, Nov. 2, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Yesterday, with the Key Bridge, which connects Washington, DC with Arlington, Virginia, as a backdrop, President Obama discussed the ways that the American Jobs Act will invest in the nation's highways, airports, roads, and bridges -- and create new jobs for construction workers.

    Today, the Senate is set to take up one idea that the President touted -- the creation of a national infrastructure bank.

    Here's how it would work:

    1) Congress would appropriate an initial $10 billion in startup money to capitalize the bank.

    2) The new bank would identify transportation, energy, and water infrastructure projects that lack funding, offer a clear benefit for taxpayers, and are worth at least $100 million or $25 million for rural projects.

    3) Loans made by the bank would then be matched by private sector investments or money from local governments -- so that the infrastructure bank provides half or less than half the total funding.

    4) Each project would generate its own revenues to help ensure repayment of the loan.

    5) Decisions would be made by a seven-person board of governors -- of whom, no more than four could be from the same political party -- and a CEO chosen by the President.

    One bonus fact: The legislation that would create the bank has serious bipartisan backing -- and the support of both the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO.

  • Weekly Address: We Can’t Wait to Create Jobs

    President Obama says that we can’t wait for Congress to take action to grow the economy and create jobs -- and highlights actions he took to help families refinance their mortgages, put veterans to work, and lower the cost of student loans.

    Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

    Watch President Obama's full remarks here