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"SMEs to Help Revive U.S. Economy"   


In early 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama brought a total of US$30 billion from Wall Street and created the 'Small Business Lending Fund.'

SMEs are indispensible to the fields of energy efficiency, transportation, Smart Grid, carbon capture and separation, renewable energy production, scientific innovation, environmental clean-up, etc.

As of April 19, 2010, SMEs in the U.S. gained access to about US$5.4 billion in financial support in forms such as subsidy, contract, loan and loan guarantee, and preferential treatment in taxation, according to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). This support plays the role of complementing the total of 2,800 loans (equivalent to US$656 million) that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved for SMEs in renewable energy fields between 2006 and 2009.

Due to the SME support measure under ARRA, creation of innovation is expected to accelerate in various fields of the U.S. clean energy economy. Owing to the ARRA support, more opportunities will be given to clean-tech industries and subsequently, more jobs will be created. With several energy efficiency-related initiatives being implemented, SMEs are receiving subsidies through a large number of projects to increase energy efficiency in the ICT (Information and Communications Technology) sector. Also, a great number of advanced R&D projects, including next-generation high-efficiency SSL (Solid-State Lighting), are granted subsidies. Payment of such subsidies have created 500,000 direct jobs and more indirect jobs, so the SSL manufacturing infrastructure is expected to strengthen.

In ARRA, the U.S. government earmarked a total of US$3.4 billion for R&D related to technologies pursuing cleaner and more efficient use of coal, arrangements, etc. From this budget, SMEs are receiving subsidies to carry out site specialization of desirable geological formations capable of storing CO2 permanently. Among a total of 11 subsidies, SMEs received three, amounting to US$13.8 million, which accounts for 27% of the total.

Under support for loan guarantee, subsidies, preferential taxational treatment, etc., furthermore, SMEs are receiving support for development of regional renewable energy projects and establishment of renewable energy manufacturing industrial infrastructure. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) plans to support SMEs with an 'Advanced Manufacturing Tax Credit' policy targeting renewable energy manufacturing businesses.

In the clean energy economy, there is a possibility of creating many new opportunities for SMEs. U.S. DOE intends to strengthen SME accessibility to its existing programs and introduce new programs for SMEs. The U.S. government plans to place even more focus on the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program for commercialization of technologies. The EM program also is set to provide more opportunities to SMEs in the subcontracting field.



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