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New report shows U.S. small business thriving

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President Bill Clinton May 5 transmitted the latest edition of "The State of Small Business: A Report of the President" to the Congress, noting, "I want my administration to be on the leading edge in working as a partner with the small business community," according to a news release from the Small Business Administration.

The president's message highlighted the administration's recent accomplishments that will benefit both small business and the economy.

In the data year covered by the report, 1995, the number of businesses filing tax returns grew to a record 22.6 million, the release stated. Proprietorship earnings increased 8 percent; corporate earnings, 10.8 percent.

The number of business bankruptcies and failures declined, and industries dominated by small firms increased employment at a rate 1.6 times the national rate of increase of 1.6 percent, according to the SBA release.

Commercial and industrial loans from small banks increased at an annual rate of 11.7 percent, compared with 5.1 percent in 1994. Overall bank and finance company lending to small firms , as well as initial public offerings, were up significantly according to the report, and funds raised by venture capital firms reached a new high of $4.4 billion, SBA stated.

Small businesses won $66.7 billion in federal contract awards, or 33 percent of the total $202.3 billion awarded by the government in FY 1995. Small, minority-owned businesses won contracts worth $1.5 billion, a 16.1 percent increase, and women-owned businesses won $508.7 million in federal procurement dollars, a 22 percent increase, according to the release.

The report includes chapters on self-employment as a small business option, progress on the recommendations of the 1995 White House Conference on Small Business, regulatory relief and federal programs supporting innovation in small firms.

The U.S. Small Business Administration, established in 1953, provides financial, technical and management assistance to help Americans start, run and grow their businesses. With a portfolio of business loans, loan guarantees and disaster loans worth more than $45 billion, SBA is the nation's largest single financial backer of small businesses.

Last year, SBA offered management and technical assistance to more than 1 million small business owners. SBA also plays a major role in the government's disaster relief efforts by making low-interest recovery loans to both

homeowners and businesses.

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