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December 16, 1998

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Our economy today is now stronger that it has been in a generation. As a result, businesses all across our nation are being presented with new opportunities to invest in some of the fastest growing markets in our country.

Vice President Al Gore
December 16, 1998

Today at the White House, Vice President Al Gore meets with Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, Small Business Administration Administrator Aida Alvarez and CEO's from leading American corporations and small businesses. The Vice President will announce a new partnership between the federal government and America's business community to encourage large businesses to work with small business owners and entrepreneurs, especially in America's cities and in economically distressed areas.

Building Partnerships Between The Private And Public Sectors. At today's meeting, the Vice President will announce the formation of BusinessLINC (Learning, Information, Networking, and Collaboration), a cooperative effort between the public sector, large business, and small business and entrepreneurs, to encourage investment and partnerships between large and small business. The Vice President will announce a series of new initiatives to support BusinessLINC:

  • HUBZone Empowerment Contracting Program. Under this program, up to $6 billion in new federal contracts will be targeted to small businesses and distressed areas by the year 2000. In addition, it will widen the pool of potential government contractors and create an estimated 25,000 new jobs in over 7,000 distressed communities;
  • Department of Treasury Mentoring Program. The Department of Treasury will create a mentor-protégé program -- Success Partnerships -- that will help increase the participation of small, disadvantaged and women-owned businesses as contractors and sub-contractors by offering technical advice, financial and management skills, endorsement credibility, and one-on-one advice from large companies;
  • Small Business Administration Mentoring Program. The Small Business Administration (SBA) will create a mentor-protégé program to enhance the capabilities of participants in the agency's 8(a) business development program, and to improve their ability to compete and receive federal government contracts. Also, SBA will expand ACENET (Angel Capital Electronic Network) that helps link minority and women-owned businesses with investment capital. In addition, Bell Atlantic will commit $1.8 billion through a partnership with SBA, to increase purchasing and subcontracting with minority and women-owned businesses;
  • BusinessLINC Leadership Coalition. The Vice President will announce the formation of a BusinessLINC leadership coalition of experts, comprised of both public and private sector representatives. The coalition will work to expand business-to-business relationships between large and small businesses and will provide businesses with on-line information, resources, and a database of companies in mentor or protégé programs.

The Clinton/Gore Administration Is Committed to Building Strong Business Partnerships. Today's meeting is the second in a series of White House Business and Entrepreneurial Roundtables that the Vice President has held on different aspects of the role the private sector can play in cities and distressed communities. At the first meeting, the Vice President announced several new private sector commitments to invest in low-income communities, and he directed Secretary Rubin and Administrator Alvarez to conduct a series of regional meetings on BusinessLINC and report back to him at the meeting being held today. These efforts are part of the Vice President's work as chair of the President's Community Empowerment Board, that oversees the Administration's Community Empowerment Agenda, which includes a series of initiatives to provide greater opportunity in, and expand the competitiveness of, our distressed urban and rural areas.

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