Small businesses employ more than half of our private sector workers, and during the past 17 years, small businesses have created 65 percent of the new jobs in this country. It's clear that America's economic health depends on the strength of its small businesses.
So today at DOT, our Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization is hosting a Small Business Day. The 300 small businesses attending will have the opportunity to meet with DOT Small Business Specialists, other federal OSDBU offices, and state and local transportation agency representatives. They will also learn about new developments in the DOT Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program. And they can talk with more than 40 prime contractors to learn about potential procurement and partnership opportunities.
Since President Obama came into office, DOT has worked very hard to make sure small businesses have a fair shot, and we have developed several initiatives to help small business owners achieve success, create jobs, and strengthen our economy:
- The Bonding Education Program gives small businesses expert guidance to help them qualify for the commercial financing they’ll need to win major infrastructure projects.
- DOT’s new Mentor-Protégé Pilot Program teams budding entrepreneurs with successful contractors who can show them the ropes.
- Our Short Term Lending Program helps small businesses gain access to short term working capital they need to complete transportation projects.
- And our Disadvantaged Business Enterprises task force is made up of leaders from across DOT, who meet regularly to ensure that this program is as effective as it can be.
I hope the businesses attending our Small Business Day find the sessions productive and can get to work right away applying the information they learn and the contacts they make.
Our private sector employers--large and small--are at the heart of President Obama's vision of an America built to last. And at DOT--whether it's putting contractors to work building roads or making it easier for companies to ship their products to market--we're doing what we can to help America's businesses succeed.