February 5, 1999


For the past six years, we've worked to bring prosperity to some of our most distressed communities with a new vision of government. It is a vision focused on one fundamental goal -- to empower our people with the tools to make the most of their own lives. Nothing better embodies this new vision of government, nor better conveys our faith in the entrepreneurial spirit of our people, than our efforts to promote microenterprise

President Bill Clinton
February 5, 1999

Today, President Clinton will honor recipients of the 1998 Presidential Awards in Microenterprise Development, discuss the continued strength of the American economy, and how we can expand opportunity to all Americans. The President will announce that unemployment in January remained at 4.3% -- a 41-year peacetime low. The President will unveil an initiative to increase support for domestic microenterprise programs by 159 percent. These programs help microentrepreneurs with access to capital, other financial services, and training. The President will also continue to show global leadership by calling for support of microenterprise worldwide through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

The American Economy Remains Strong -- 245,000 New Jobs Created In January Alone. Six years ago, President Clinton put in place a bold new three-part economic strategy of cutting the deficit to help reduce interest rates and spur business investment; investing in education, health care, science and technology so that America would be prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st century; and opening markets abroad so that American workers would have a fair chance to compete and win across the globe. Today, this plan continues to help the American economy remain strong:

Providing Entrepreneurs With The Tools They Need To Succeed. President Clinton is committed to working with microenterpreneurs, small businesses with 5 or fewer employees and a very low demand of credit, to ensure that they receive training and technical assistance to compete and flourish in our economy. The President's domestic microenterprise agenda increases funding by 159 percent, from $32 million to $83 million, including:

Expanding Microenterprise's International Reach. Early in his Administration, the President launched the USAID Microenterprise Initiative. Today, USAID is the world's leading donor in microenterprise development. This year, the Administration will continue to provide global leadership in microenterprise through USAID, including:

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