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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release June 2, 1997


     Celebrating Small Business Week, the Vice President Announced
     the Small Business Person of the Year and Other Award Winners

Vice President Gore today (6/2) announced three actions to help small business: an IRS notice to ease electronic filing requirements, steps to increase procurement opportunities, and efforts to provide helpful information to develop pension plans for their workers.

In a morning ceremony at the Old Executive Office Building to celebrate the 34th Annual National Small Business Week, June 1-7, the Vice President also announced that the National Small Business Person of the Year is David Giuliani, owner of Optiva Corporation, of Bellevue, Wash.

"The President and I have worked hard to ensure that our small businesses can continue to be the engines of economic growth," the Vice President said. "We hope the steps announced today will offer some common-sense help."

Specifically, the Vice President announced that:

The Internal Revenue Service will provide a six-month extension, until December 31, 1997, of the time in which small businesses will not have to pay penalties for failing to file their payroll taxes through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). Without the IRS' action, small businesses would have been subject to penalties for not using EFTPS starting July 1.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is launching a one-stop on-line procurement service, called PRO-Net, to enable small businesses -- especially women-, minority-, and small disadvantaged-owned small businesses -- to more easily find procurement opportunities in the Federal Government and private sector. PRO-Net will help small businesses better market their companies and increase their share of procurements, and help the Federal Government meet its small business goals and procurement goals for women, minority, and disadvantaged business owners.

The SBA, working with the Labor Department, has developed a five-point program to help small businesses develop pension plans for their more than 32 million workers who now lack retirement benefits. The five-step program includes the creation of a hotline number at 1-800-998-7542 and three Labor Department publications that will describe simple pension options.

Along with announcing Giuliani as National Small Business Person of the Year, the Vice President also honored the first runner up, Georgia Berner of Berner International Corp., in New Castle, Penn.; and the second runner up, J. Marvin Hess of Hess Pumice Products, in Malad City, Idaho.

Giuliani is chief executive officer of Optiva Corporation, which manufactures the Sonicare brand of sound wave-powered toothbrushes. Begun in 1988 as a technology transfer from the University of Washington -- and then assisted by the SBA Small Business Innovative Research Program -- the company has grown from 10 to 250 employees with over $50 million in sales in 1995.

Optiva's "built in the USA" strategy has created over 1,000 jobs indirectly for small- and medium-sized businesses in the Pacific Northwest. Optiva provides extensive employee training, promotes personal and career development, and offers free "English as a Second Language" classes on-site during lunch hour.