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Corporations Promise Obama They'll Pay Small Businesses Faster

President Barack Obama (center), National Economic Council Director Jeff Zients (left) and White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett meet with more than 40 company executives and their small business suppliers in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on July 11 in Washington
President Barack Obama (center), National Economic Council Director Jeff Zients (left) and White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett meet with more than 40 company executives and their small business suppliers in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on July 11 in WashingtonPhotograph by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Here’s good news for business owners accustomed to waiting months for corporate customers to pay their bills: 26 companies, including Apple, FedEx, and Johnson & Johnson, pledged to pay Main Street suppliers more quickly in a deal announced by the White House today.

The initiative, which the White House is calling SupplierPay, can mean a lot to small businesses. The amount of time it takes for an auto-parts maker or a catering company to get paid determines how quickly they can take on the next big job—or when they can add workers or new equipment. Getting paid sooner may also mean the business owner doesn’t have to take costly financing to bridge the gap.