US Mayor Article

Irvington Mayor Sara Bost Hosts First Partner America™ Conference for Small and Mid-Sized Businesses

By Jennifer Johnson
May 29, 2000

Partner America™, the nation’s first small business partnership of Mayors, government agencies and private enterprise, kicked-off of its national tour with a small business conference hosted by Mayor Sara B. Bost in Irvington, NJ, May 16, 2000. For the approximately 30 Irvington area business leaders that participated, the event offered information about small business resources including government programs, private sector technical expertise, and procurement opportunities.

"Small businesses are responsible for today’s strong national and local economy," said Bost. "The contribution of providing jobs, products and services strengthens the local community’s economic and social infrastructure by increasing the tax base and generating funding for the cities and towns in which they do business." In Irvington, approximately 1400 of the 65,000 plus population is made up of small business owners.

"Every year the federal government sets aside $35 billion for small businesses, but little goes beyond the Washington beltway," said George Cloutier of American Management Services, Inc. Most small businesses never compete for the contracts because they don’t know about them. This is the first ever private-public partnership for small and mid-size companies."

The seminar included a discussion on private sector resources led by American Management Services Chairman and CEO, George A. Cloutier and two Irvington business leaders, Lewis Polk, President of Aristo Crafts Trains and Howard Woliver of Sasson’s Youthworld. Topics included small business growth and expansion with personal anecdotes from the two successful local small businesses. The second was a panel discussion that dealt with federal, state and local programs and procurement opportunities available to small business. Representatives from the Newark offices of the Small Business Administration and the Department of Commerce Export Assistance Center, the Export-Import Bank of the US, the New Jersey Commerce Department and the Economic Development Authority provided overviews of the programs and resources that are available to small businesses.

"Small businesses are responsible for today’s strong national and local economy. The contribution of providing jobs, products and services strengthen the local community’s economic and social infrastructure by increasing the tax base and generating funding for the cities and towns in which they do business," said Irvington Mayor Sara Bost.

An estimated 25 million small businesses in America employ more than fifty-percent of the country’s private work force; create two of every three new jobs; and generate a majority of America’s innovations. Through Partner America™, the Conference, American Management and local Mayors will aggressively advocate for small business development and growth.

The Partner America™ small business events are designed to promote growth and development for small business owners across the United States. Mayor Sara Bost was the first to host a Partner America™ event after expressing interest during the leadership meeting in Key West, FL.

Partner America™ is the US Conference of Mayors small business initiative, a public-private partnership between the Conference and American Management Services, Inc. offers management expertise, technical assistance, education and government procurement opportunities to eligible small and mid-sized businesses. This long-term exclusive partnership of the Conference and American Management combines the resources from federal and local government agencies with the small business expertise of American Management to offer profit-improvement programs and services over the next decade to Mayors and their small business constituency. Partner America™ will be rolled-out in hundreds of cities across the nation over the next decade. Initially it begins in cities throughout the eastern United States and migrates to cities in the West.

U.S. Conference of Mayors Announces Rochester and Akron Mayors to Head Small Business Task Force

Rochester Mayor William A. Johnson and Akron Mayor Donald L. Plusquellic will co-chair the Conference’s newest task force on small business. The US Conference of Mayors Small Business Task Force will oversee Partner America™ the nation’s first partnership of mayors, government agencies, and private enterprise – to promote business growth and development for small business owners across the U.S.

In announcing the appointments, Conference executive director J. Thomas Cochran said, "I’m so pleased that we have found two mayors of this caliber to lead the task force. Mayors Johnson and Plusquellic have repositioned their cities as vital economic engines, and have helped recast the role of mayors nationwide as CEO’s of their respective cities. Their leadership bodes well for Partner America’s™ success.

Upon accepting the appointment, Mayor Johnson said in a prepared statement, "Partner America™ will position cities and metropolitan areas across the U.S. as the center of and for business commerce; revitalize cities and metropolitan areas to create more jobs and a more robust tax base. I am pleased to accept a leadership role in this ambitious project."

Mayor Plusquellic remarked, "Small businesses are responsible for today’s strong national economy. Partner America™ reflects our strong commitment to work with respected small business supporters from the SBA, Commerce, Export-Import Bank, and private enterprise, to help American businesses realize maximum profitability and take advantage of the billions of federal resource dollars earmarked each year for small businesses."

Through Partner America™, the Conference and its private sector partner American Management Services, Inc., the program will aggressively advocate for small business development and growth. American Management will provide its implementation-based, profit improvement programs to interested firms, and will facilitate participation in federal resource and private capital access programs determined appropriate for the business.

"Businesses cannot simply finance their way to profitability. It can only be achieved through effective and committed management. Our role will be to help businesses achieve all of the profits they deserve and take full advantage of the billions of dollars of federal resources earmarked for small businesses," remarked George A. Cloutier, Chairman/CEO of American Management.

Mayors Johnson and Plusquellic will give a Partner America™ presentation in Seattle during the Saturday opening plenary session, including a report on the program and its accomplishments since it was announced at the annual winter meeting.    

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