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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 30, 1997




America was built on the enterprise of our people -- on their ideas, their energy, their willingness to take risks, and their willingness to pursue their dreams. Throughout the decades, men and women of independence, optimism, and determination have come to our shores, confident in the knowledge that in America they could build a life for themselves and their families through their own initiative, creating and developing businesses in every field of endeavor.

The success of the small business community has been a hallmark of our free enterprise system, helping to drive the engine of America's economy as we compete in the global marketplace. The invaluable contributions of small business owners to the strength of our economy are reflected in some extraordinary statistics. The recent record growth of the small business community has resulted in 840,000 new employer firms over the past year -- the highest number ever, and a 2-percent increase over the last record set in 1995. Small businesses employ 53 percent of America's private work force, account for 47 percent of all sales in the country, and generate more than half of our private gross domestic product; and industries dominated by small business produced almost 1.5 million new jobs in the last year alone.

Our challenge now is to help America's small business community build on this phenomenal record of success. My Administration is committed to giving small business men and women the opportunity to realize their dreams. The Small Business Administration has a portfolio guaranteeing over $27 billion in loans to 185,000 small businesses that otherwise would not have access to such capital. We are encouraging microenterprise through the Department of Treasury's Community Development Financial Institution Fund, an initiative that makes it easier for prospective entrepreneurs to obtain the training and financing they need to start their own businesses. Working in partnership with State governments, we are striving to help modernize our Nation's small and medium-sized manufacturers and removing regulatory barriers to the adoption of new technologies in such fields as telemedicine, building and construction, and environmental technologies. We have also developed a National Export Strategy to help America's small and medium-sized businesses realize their export potential and compete effectively in the global marketplace.

As we observe Small Business Week, I join all Americans in saluting the men and women who have embraced the opportunities our country offers, whose hard work is transforming their communities, and whose energy and initiative are building our country into the kind of Nation we want to be in the 21st century.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 1 through June 7, 1997, as Small Business Week. I call upon Government officials and all the people of the United States to observe this week with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs that celebrate the achievements of small business owners and encourage the development of new enterprises.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of May, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-first.


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