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President Obama Lauds Small Business Owners

President Obama told Small Business Administration award winners in the White House East Room Tuesday afternoon that small businesses are "the job creators responsible for half of all private sector jobs."

"You're the starting point for the products and brands that have redefined the market," he said. "After all, Google started out as a small business, as a research project. Hewlett-Packard began with two guys in a garage. The first Apple computers were built by hand, one at a time. McDonald's started with just one restaurant."

The president praised those who founded small businesses, saying their work strengthens communities, and argued that "our nation's government should be there to support you, to help you grow and expand and succeed."

He noted that the economic stimulus package improves upon Small Business Administration services and announced a new SBA loan program. That program, called the America's Recovery Capital program, "will provide up to $35,000 to help struggling, but still credit-worthy small businesses pay off non-SBA debts," he said.