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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Details of Next Week's Obama Small Business Conference Remain a Mystery

November 12, 2009

Petaluma, Calif. – On October 21, President Barack Obama announced he would convene a small business conference to address increasing access to capital for small businesses. Yet less than a week before the conference is set to convene on Wednesday, November 18, the Administration has refused to release any information regarding the event's location, time, agenda or attendees.

The American Small Business League (ASBL) is concerned that the administration is withholding details on the conference as a means of preventing legitimate small business concerns, small business advocates and the media from attending.

"This is a clear indication that President Obama has no intention of adopting any policies that will actually benefit legitimate small businesses. My guess is that this is going to be a love-fest for his venture capitalist buddies and the Fortune 500 firms he is giving small business contracts to every day," ASBL President Lloyd Chapman said.

The ASBL is predicting that the meeting could actually propose creating a loophole that would divert federal small business contracts away from legitimate small businesses and into the hands of wealthy venture capitalists under the guise of "increasing access to capital" for small businesses. The ASBL is concerned that in a worst-case scenario President Obama may even try to wind down federal small business contracting programs under the guise of bolstering the SBA by combining it with the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The ASBL questions the motives of President Obama and the legitimacy of the conference as a whole.

"Obviously they don't want media coverage of their sham small business conference and they clearly don't want any input from legitimate small business advocates," Chapman said. The administration's strategy may be to prevent input from small business groups that have complained about the Obama Administration awarding millions of dollars a day in federal small business contracts to Fortune 500 corporations, including stimulus dollars, according to the ASBL.

The ASBL points to the fact that the Administration has allocated less than 1 percent of stimulus funds to small businesses.

In a recent post, blogger Arianna Huffington criticized President's Obama's plan to hold a small business conference and took aim at his priorities by stating, "If this [small business lending] were really a high-priority for the administration, it could, you know, actually do something about it."

"If President Obama really wanted to help small businesses he would have honored his February 2008 campaign promise to, 'end the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants,' but he hasn't done that has he?” Chapman said.


Please click here to watch a short clip about the ASBL's concerns regarding the Obama Administration’s small business conference:

Christopher Gunn
Communications Director
American Small Business League
(707) 789-9575

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