Remarks at the Presentation Ceremony for the Small Business Person of the Year Awards
Well, I'd like to welcome Senator Abdnor and the State Small Business Persons of the Year, whom we're honoring today. And I think you recognize my bodyguard here -- [laughter] -- the Vice President.
as some of you know, my admiration for President Calvin Coolidge has often been
All of us can be very proud of the contributions of this nation's 18 million small businesses. The record, quite simply, is incredible. Small business provides well over two-thirds of all new jobs; about 40 percent of our aggregate national output; the bulk of new products and technologies; most of the jobs generated for younger, older, and female workers; and over 66 percent of all first jobs, and, consequently, the initial on-the-job training in basic work skills. And just to take one area, almost every energy-related innovation of this century has come from small business, including the air conditioner, the gasoline engine, and the electric light.
Today about 13 million Americans are engaged in some entrepreneurial activity, either full-time or part-time. The number of part-time entrepreneurs has increased fivefold in recent years. We've seen in the past 5 years the longest unbroken period of peacetime growth on record. The climate necessary to nurture small business development has never been better.
Clearly the economic policies of the 1980's, which have led to an unprecedented turnaround in inflation, from 12 percent to about 4 percent, coupled with commercial interest rates coming down by more than half since we took office, have made it immensely easier to start up a small business and keep it going.
the 7th annual report on small business, which I am sending to the Congress
this week, shows the unparalleled growth of small business not only in the past
year but in each year since 1980. Small business has driven this country ahead
with over 4.4 million new business starts. And I'm especially pleased that
small business has been the first path of economic success for unprecedented
numbers of women and minorities, people who started small businesses and became
a part of
the next 25 years small business will provide nearly three-fourths of the 43
million new jobs this country will require. Small business will meet this
challenge by virtue of its quicker response time, its flexibility, its
willingness to take risk, and its willingness to face the very real possibility
of failure. In the
Let me leave you with this thought: Small business is about hopes and dreams. It's about making dreams come true -- the dreams of men and women who lie awake at night and consider how they can improve their lot in life. Those dreams, those hopes, are a singular and great natural resource.
Today I have the happy duty to announce the Small Business Persons of the Year. This process, culminating in this selection, has been difficult and competitive. There are many fine contestants, and they're to be heartily commended. As in any event -- in business, in sports, in politics -- someone must be declared the winner. Now, it doesn't mean necessarily that the other contestants have lost, because all of them are winners in their own right and well worthy of being finalists in this event. And that includes many of you who are here today.
And this 1988 Small Business Persons of the Year are Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield truly stand out as an example of what American free enterprise is all about. Just 10 years ago, they gave up working for others and founded Ben and Jerry's Homemade, Inc. Beginning with 2 employees in 1978, the company now employs 200, and the $8,000 in startup money now generates annual sales of $30 million, selling in grocery stores in 35 States and in 45 ice cream parlors around the country. And now, I'm going to quit talking and present the awards. Thank you, and God bless you.
Reporter. Mr. President, will you continue to allow astrology to play a part in the makeup of your daily schedule, sir?
The President. You asked for it. I can't, because I never did.
Note: The President spoke at in the Rose Garden at the White House.