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Listening to American Businesses

The administration is having a conversation with businesses through roundtables held in 100 communities in all 50 states to get ideas on generating growth, creating new American jobs and increasing U.S. economic competitiveness.

Helping U.S. companies grow and create new American jobs is a singular priority for all of us in the Commerce Department and the Obama Administration. 

But you can’t do it all from Washington, DC. You’ve got to get out and hear from the entrepreneurs and business owners doing the producing, innovating and hiring in our economy. That’s a lot what I've been doing as Commerce Secretary. In the last few weeks alone, I’ve met with business leaders in Minneapolis, Columbus, Dallas and Los Angeles.

These business leaders understand the challenges and opportunities in today's global economy. And trust me, they aren't shy about suggesting what they want to see more of -- or less of -- from Washington.

This type of business outreach has been occurring throughout the administration, but now, it’s being taken to the next level.  Yesterday, 130 senior officials from dozens of agencies throughout the Obama administration met to kick off a series of “Winning the Future Roundtables with American Businesses.”

Starting today, with events in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Tucson, Arizona, Obama administration officials will be visiting at least 100 communities in all 50 states to hear from businesses across America, and they’ll bring what they hear back to Washington.

The two main goals of these roundtables are to:

  • Obtain feedback from American businesses on the effectiveness of federal resources and programs and how they can be further improved; and
  • Provide information to American businesses about Administration policy and the resources and programs available to support their growth and success.

In short, we'll be hearing from business owners about what's working, what isn’t and where we need to focus our economic policymaking in 2011 and beyond. We’ll be making sure that we aren’t leaving jobs on the table because businesses don’t know about programs and resources that can support their growth and success.

The final step will be to bring these ideas back to Washington and turn them into concrete action that can generate growth, create new American jobs and increase U.S. economic competitiveness.

In his State of the Union address, President Obama spoke about the need to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build our foreign competitors in order to sustain our leadership and secure prosperity for all Americans.

Although winning this global competition is a national imperative, there's no one-size-fits-all solution.  No one has a monopoly on the best ideas, and we need to hear solutions from our communities and our businesses.    

These roundtables will help generate those ideas – ideas America needs to win the future.