By Cathy Martine, AT&T EVP-Small Business Solutions & Alternate Channels

Last week, President Obama signed the monumental Small Business Jobs Act, a major victory for small businesses that will help them to expand their businesses and create jobs–something sorely needed in these tough economic times.   AT&T sees this bill as a positive step for small businesses because of the tax relief it provides and simplified tax deductions for cell phones for small businesses.  Specifically, the Act removes wireless devices from the IRS’ listed property rules, which should make it easier for businesses to purchase cell phones for employee use.   That’s great news for businesses that are looking for ways to cut costs and run more efficiently. ‪

We recognize the importance of small businesses and we’re ready to support them. In fact, on the heels of this significant new law, we’re proud to announce that AT&T Capital Services, our financing subsidiary, is starting a new program to provide capital loans to small businesses that are aiming to deploy new wireless solutions or upgrade existing services.   I made the announcement last week at the annual conference for Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) in Washington, D.C.  

We believe this new program is a win-win for our economy.  Small businesses get access to the capital that they need, and they’ll use it to deploy new wireless solutions, which can be a cost-saver and force-multiplier for small businesses.  With this combination, small businesses can be a strong force in putting more life back into our economy. According to a study by the Center for Women’s Business Research in 2009, the economic impact of women-owned businesses in the U.S. is $2.86 trillion; they employ 16% of the U.S. workforce and, if they were their own country, they would have the 5th largest GDP, ahead of France, Italy and the UK.

We also announced last week the new AT&T Women’s Entrepreneur Forum – a group that will bring together more than 30 leaders of women-owned businesses from across the country to discuss members’ business communications technology needs, future trends in their respective industries, and to provide a look into how AT&T can help their businesses grow. ‪

Both of these announcements are exciting for us at AT&T because we’re supporting small business growth opportunities, which in turn will help keep the country’s economic engine running.

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