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The Associated Press December 8, 2011, 10:26AM ET

White House outlines small-business outreach

In its latest executive action, the White House announced new steps Thursday to spur start-up businesses and help them access $2 billion in resources.

The U.S. Small Business Administration said it would move forward with a previously announced effort to launch a $1 billion fund to provide matching capital to early-stage small businesses. The project, called "Startup America," is aimed at harnessing innovation and entrepreneurship by leveraging private-sector investment.

Separately, the White House said a private-sector partnership connected to the Startup America program was announcing $1 billion in services -- from free software and consulting to legal services -- to 100,000 start-up companies during the next three years. The partnership is led by AOL co-founder Steve Case.

The help to small business is the latest step by the Obama administration to use executive action to get around congressional Republicans, an approach dubbed "We can't wait."

In a statement, President Barack Obama urged Congress to move forward with pending legislation to help small businesses, saying, "America's small businesses can't wait for these important tools to grow and hire faster."

Other new steps outlined by the administration include an online policy challenge to encourage entrepreneurs to offer new ideas to foster innovation, educational programs and commitments from more than 100 community colleges to promote entrepreneurship.

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