Obama administration works to help small businesses

By Elise Roberts - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Monday, President Barack Obama presented his latest plans to help small businesses. The President detailed several measures to get more credit flowing to businesses owners.

With Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner by his side, President Obama said the nation should thank small businesses for many of the new jobs over the last decade. The president also said that small businesses are critical to any economic recovery.

Since Hurricane Katrina, the small business sector has struggled in South Mississippi. While many new businesses emerge, others are forced to shut down. But some businesses are thriving in the wake of the economic storm.

Alvin Mays is the owner of a Gulfport furniture rental and retail store. He says he opened the business one year ago without much help from small business loans.

"I did approach some banks, however, they couldn't fit me in their structure," said Mays.

The entrepreneur still managed to get his Gulfport store up and running. And just six months later, he opened a second store in Orange Grove.

"Even in the economic times that are down, my customers are responding because we have great products, great customer service and I put my customers first," said Mays.

A series of new initiatives announced by President Obama will help business owners like Mays. They include allocating $15 billion of the stimulus to try and unfreeze the credit market, reducing lending fees and increasing loan guarantees, not to mention, easing the tax burden.

"Banks now have an opportunity with President Obama to get behind some people like myself that's really trying to re-establish the South Mississippi Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina," said Mays.

Right now Mays employs ten South Mississippians. Horice Wilson is his newest hire.

"I came here and these guys provided me with an opportunity to excel in this business and this field," said Wilson.

Before joining the furniture store, Wilson had been out of work for more than three months. Now he has a new job, with a new company that has its sights set on rebuilding South Mississippi.

"I want to be the entrepreneur that continues to stimulate the Gulf Coast and the place where I live and where I grew up and where I want my kids to grow up," said Mays.

Click here to read more about the President's recovery plan for small businesses, including answers to some of the most frequently asked questions from small business owners.

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