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Small Businesses Key to America’s Future, Obama Says

Small businesses that grow into medium-size and large businesses are the key to America's future, President Barack Obama told an Ohio audience yesterday (Feb.22). That’s because they produce new products, new services and new ideas — and generate new jobs along the way that will help employ Americans who are looking for new careers.

But the success of such businesses don’t have to come at the expense of large companies, Obama said at the Winning the Future Forum on Small Business in Cleveland; it’s a win-win situation for all parties.

The truth, Obama told an entrepreneur breakout session at Cleveland State University event, is that “large companies are critically important to our economy. They export. They employ thousands of people. And they also provide contracts to small businesses.”

“If large businesses are doing well,” he said, “then small businesses also have an opportunity for great success.”

But there are number of things holding small businesses back, Obama said, including access to capital, problems with being able to connect with consumers and markets because of infrastructure and problems with finding the right employees.

We need to cut back on what we don’t need and invest in the future so that America continues to be the best place on earth to do business, Obama said — an America that wins the future.

“So winning the future involves out-educating, out-innovating, out-building, out-hustling everybody else,” he told the forum’s opening session earlier in the day. “And it's entrepreneurs like you who will help America do just that.”

[CEO Roundtable: How Do You Innovate? ]

“We can invest in the things that are critical to our long-term success — in innovation, so that America stays on the cutting edge; in education, so businesses have access to the skilled workers they need; in upgrading our transportation and information networks, so companies can move goods and services quickly and cheaply,” Obama said.

The success of large companies, which he conceded usually get most of the attention, is critical to the success of small- and medium-size businesses as well.

“But it’s small businesses like yours that help drive America’s economic growth and create two out of every three new jobs," Obama said. "And when our small businesses do well, then America does well.”

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.