President Barack Obama called Saturday for new steps to support America's small businesses, saying they are key to rebuilding the economy on a new, stronger foundation and creating jobs.

"These companies represent the essence of the American spirit - the promise that anyone can succeed in this country if you have a good idea and the determination to see it through," Obama said in his weekly radio address.

The president said last year, his administration had taken measures that supported over 47,000 loans to small businesses and delivered billions of dollars in tax relief to small business owners. But he argued that more must be done.

Obama said he had proposed taking 30 billion dollars from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) fund originally used for bailing out Wall Street investment banks and create a new Small Business Lending Fund that will provide capital for community banks on Main Street.

"These are the small, local banks that will be able to give our small business owners more of the credit they need to stay afloat," the president noted.

He said the government should also continue to waive fees, increase guarantees, and expand the size of loans for small businesses.

Obama said he had also proposed a new tax credit for more than one million small businesses that hire new workers or raise wages "to give these companies greater incentives to grow and create jobs"

The president also called for "targeted support" for small businesses with the greatest potential to export new goods and products.

Obama urged members of Congress, who will start debating many of these proposals next week, not to create obstacles to their passage.

"The proposals I've outlined are not Democratic or Republican; liberal or conservative," he argued. "They are pro-business, they are pro-growth, and they are pro-job."

This video was published to the Web by the White House on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010.

With AFP.