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The Cabinet of Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi endorsed a legislation package to invigorate small and medium-size enterprises and boost the number of venture businesses and startups.

Coupled with legislation to revise the 1963 Small and Medium Enterprise Basic Law, which cleared the Lower House Tuesday, the bills are expected to help small and medium-size companies change into “leaders” of the economic recovery, trade chief Takashi Fukaya told Friday’s news conference.

The bills were submitted to the Diet later in the afternoon.

One bill is designed to revise seven laws to make it easy for small and midsize firms to raise funds, simplify procedures for cooperative associations to turn into corporations, and beef up measures to support corporate technological research and development.

The other bill concerns a revision of the law for facilitating the creation of new businesses by encouraging ventures to go public.

With the legislation, the government aims to triple the number of companies going public from the current 60 or so annually within five years, officials of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry said.

Specifically, the legislation consists of measures to:

1) Enable government credit guarantee associations to guarantee privately placed bonds;

2) Help venture businesses raise funds by providing loans of up to 600 million yen;

3) Ease restrictions on companies that need interest-free loans from the government to modernize their plant and equipment;

4) Allow companies to grant a greater amount of stock options to secure talented people;

5) Promote “angel” investors and venture capitals.

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