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(Manchester, NH) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) said today while touring New Hampshire small businesses that Congress should put partisan politics aside and focus on job-creating initiatives and economic growth. Shaheen met with small business leaders at Wilcox Industries in Newington, Gentex Corporation in Manchester and Corfin Industries in Salem who have grown their businesses and created new jobs with support from federal programs including export promotion initiatives.

“We should be doing everything we can to promote small business growth and job creation,” Shaheen said. “Congress ought to build off of the bipartisan agreement reached this week for future action focused on strengthening our economy and creating jobs.”

“We need to particularly focus on supporting our small businesses, which are the backbone of New Hampshire’s economy,” Shaheen added, noting 96 percent of New Hampshire’s employers are small businesses.  “If we help them grow, we help them create jobs.”

Shaheen has been an advocate for small businesses throughout her career; she has been a champion of policies that help small businesses in New Hampshire and the U.S. innovate, grow and create jobs.

Exports represent a promising opportunity for growth and job creation in the New Hampshire economy, and for years Shaheen has been an active proponent for streamlining the outdated U.S. export control system and helped create the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant program to assist small businesses expand into emerging global market places.  STEP grants recently helped Gentex Corp. and Corfin Industries break into overseas markets, and Corfin Industries saw a 10 percent increase in its workforce because of expanded sales.  Earlier this year, Shaheen also introduced the bipartisan Small Business Export Growth Act  to help small businesses capitalize on export opportunities by removing red tape and improving federal export assistance programs for small businesses. Last year, exports of New Hampshire products totaled nearly $3.5 billion, providing a critical boost to many local businesses.

As a member of the Small Business Committee, Shaheen also helped craft the landmark Small Business Jobs Act which provided unprecedented support for small businesses. The bill cut billions of dollars in taxes for small businesses and helped small companies get access to overseas markets. Earlier this year, the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee passed Shaheen’s bipartisan legislation to permanently reauthorize the SBA 504 refinance program which helps small companies refinance their mortgages and lock in low interest rates.  Shaheen has also won long-term reauthorization for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) which is a program that allows more small, innovative businesses to compete for federal research and development programs.