All Articles Tagged "small business administration"
President Barack Obama hailed small business owners as the economy’s engine and our biggest source of new jobs.
The President declared June 16-22, as National Small Business Week and stated, “America’s small businesses reflect the best of who we are as a Nation—daring and innovative, courageous and hopeful, always working hard and looking ahead for that next great idea.”
The President’s proclamation states: “In America, we believe that anyone willing to work hard and take risks can get their good idea off the ground and into the marketplace. It is a notion that has made our Nation bold and bright, and the best place to do business for generations — from small-town storefronts to pioneering startups that keep our country on the cutting edge. This week, we celebrate America’s entrepreneurial spirit, and we recommit to helping our small businesses get ahead.
To read more about the President’s proclamation, click through to Black Enterprise.
Black Business Owners, Civil Rights Groups Support Marie Johns For Next Head Of The Small Business Association
Now that Karen Mills is stepping down as chief administrator of the Small Business Association (SBA), there’s an opening at the top of this important government agency. According to the Trice Edney News Wire (via the Florida Courier), “at least 80 Black business and civil rights organizations, representing nearly 30 million small businesses” sent a letter to the the Presidential Personnel Office advocating for the appointment of Marie Johns to the position.
Johns is currently deputy administrator of the agency, managing the agency and working on programs and policies for the agency. She was appointed to her position in June 2010 and, according to her bio, the “SBA had a record year in 2011, supporting more than $30 billion in lending to more than 60,000 small businesses across the country. That is the most capital going to small businesses in the history of the SBA.”
“Hope for the selection of Johns is said to be based on her established record of work for inclusion of Black and other minority-owned businesses, which have been hit hardest during the economic downturn,” writes Trice Edney. The wire says the National Bankers Association, the National Association for Black Veterans, and the National Urban League are among the organizations that signed on to the letter.
Mills will remain in her post until a successor is named. The SBA took on renewed importance during the Obama administration, re-gaining Cabinet-level status and stepping in to help small businesses in the wake of the Great Recession. According to USA Today, $106 billion has been lent to 193,000 small businesses since Mills became head of the agency. Click that link to read a Q&A with Mills and learn more about the agency.
Karen Mills, who has been head of the Small Business Administration since 2009, is stepping down from her post.
The SBA arranges loans, loan guarantees and other assistance to small businesses. Most recently, the SBA stepped in to assist businesses hurt by Superstorm Sandy, approving more than $1.1 billion in disaster loans to residents and businesses in states affected by the storm.
Politico says Mills will be staying put until a new person is appointed to the spot, which is Cabinet-level. President Obama gives Mills credit for helping with passage of the Small Business Act and playing “a leading role in my administration’s efforts to support start-ups and entrepreneurs.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis are among the other administration members who are stepping down for Obama’s second term.
Unemployed? The SBA, Department of Labor Launch a Website to Help States, Job Creators, and Job Seekers
The White House has announced a new website, created by the Small Business Administration and the Department of Labor, that will help states create programs to aid companies seeking new staff members.
“On the website, you’ll find model legislation that your state can use to enact these programs, as well as a new online toolkit from the Small Business Administration, which offers courses and training on how to start a business,” the White House press release reports. “There are also courses on obtaining money for small businesses, entrepreneurship and business planning, entrepreneurial marketing, developing entrepreneurial work styles, as well as a host of other topics including accounting, marketing, legal facets, sales and taxes.”
Back in February 2012, President Obama signed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Jobs Creation Act of 2012, the first update to the unemployment insurance rules in 40 years. If you’ve heard of it, it’s probably because of the push behind the small business component, which was discussed a lot during the election. But another key component is the Self-Employment Assistance Program, or SEAP, which helps individuals receiving unemployment benefits create a job for themselves.
SEAP includes a training program where unemployed individuals receive counseling and training to help them create a business. The program also provides grants for individuals to launch or grow a business. The government has proposed $35 million dollars to be distributed to all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Each state has a different set of requirements concerning who is eligible to participate. There are a few states, such as Texas, that have laws that put restrictions on the ways in which residents participe in these programs. So check with your state to learn more about this program and how it’s being implemented where you live. Not only is it a viable alternative for the present, it would also be a wise investment to avoid future layoffs. Many companies — and entire industries — have cut positions that will not be coming back. As a recent graduate, you may also find this option as a way to begin your career. Starting a business today has many different paths available.
As early as May 2012, five states began to implement this reform. If you live in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maine, or Oregon they have active Self-Employment Assistance Programs and are ready to begin to give grants to their residents.
Vernetta R. Freeney is a Houston-based entrepreneur and award winning blogger. You can follow her @womengamechange.
The Small Business Administration, which talked up Small Business Saturday late last week, is putting its money where its mouth is with respect to black businesses.
During fiscal year 2012, black businesses were the only ones in the Washington DC area to see an increase in the number of loans they received from the government body, and the group to see the smallest decrease in the amount of money lent for the period.
According to the Washington Business Journal, African Americans got 14.5 percent of the loans administered for the year ending September 2012, an increase from the 10.4 percent the year before. (Black businesses had received 31.3 percent of the loans given in 2008 before taking a huge drop the following year to 17.6 percent.)
Moreover, the amount of money that was lent was up to 7.1 percent of the total given, up from 6.3 percent the two previous years.
The Washington Business Journal also lists the top lenders; the three biggest were M&T Bank (19 loans totaling about $1.8 million), BB&T (10 loans totaling $1.675 million), and Business Finance Group (five loans totaling $3.7 million).
Black businesses typically struggle for funding despite the entrepreneurial spirit that thrives in the African-American community. Let’s hope that other cities will see similar results.
With the nation’s sentiment turning somewhat sour about Black Friday (many complained that store openings on Thanksgiving night intruded on the family gatherings for both shoppers and workers) the time was right this year for Small Business Saturday. Add to that the focus on small businesses — supporting them was a big talking point during the presidential election — and you have buzz for the day unlike any that’s likely been experienced in the past.
New York’s Mayor Bloomberg announced today that a matching grant program worth $5.5 million will be available for small businesses impacted by Hurricane Sandy. A total of more than $45 million in loans and other financial assistance will also help.
President Barack Obama and the rest of the White House has been crowing about Small Business Saturday on Twitter today. The President and the First Daughters Sasha and Malia were out shopping today at a local Arlington bookstore (he bought 15 children’s books, according to Reuters) to support the day.
And American Express — which founded Small Business Saturday in 2010 — and Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills were on the Today show yesterday talking up the opportunity to shop at local businesses. (Video below.)
Widely reported numbers say that small businesses created two out of three jobs in this country over the past 20 years. American Express founded the day three years ago and says more than 100 million people came out last year.
For black businesses, Small Business Saturday could be just the thing to jump start businesses. Pointing out the many difficulty that black retailers have — from the troubles with financing, lack of a strong network, or old-fashioned racism — The Huffington Post’s Jessica Cumberbatch Anderson talks with entrepreneurs who are trying to capitalize on the special day and all of the digital avenues available to small business owners nowadays.
“It drives traffic both to our Internet business and to our brick-and-mortar business,” Jamyla Bennu, owner of Baltimore’s Oyin Handmade, told the website.
The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in the black community (“the number of black-owned businesses in the U.S. increasing by 60.5 percent between 2002 and 2007,” HuffPo quotes the Census Bureau’s latest Survey of Business Owners), but the means to get businesses off the ground or stay afloat aren’t always there.
The Grio provides a list of small black-owned businesses that you can try out for Small Business Saturday and beyond. Did you shop at a black-owned business today?
The U.S. Small Business Administration has teamed up with the U.S. Black Chamber to help minority-owned small businesses gain access to opportunities that will lead to federal contracts. That includes networking with larger businesses and in-person meetings.
“During several scheduled forums, small businesses will learn how to market themselves to the federal government and go after federal contracting opportunities,” reports Black Enterprise. “The forum also will offer help with strategic alliances, joint venture opportunities, and mentor-protege arrangements within the [SBA’s 8(a) Business Development program].”
The two organizations kicked off their partnership with an event on October 10 at the Carnegie Library in Washington DC, the National 8(a) Training, Business Matchmaking and Awards Ceremony.
It’s October 1, which means it’s the start of National Women’s Small Business Month. Huzzah! And while we’ve reported that resources can be hard to come by (microloan anyone? maybe a crowdfunding campaign?) there are signs that things might be turning around just a bit, for minority women business owners specifically and for black entrepreneurs, in general.
Wayne Sutton, founder and CEO of PitchTo, a company that creates tools for investors and entrepreneurs, argues on TechCrunch that now’s the time for minorities to not just be entrepreneurs, but also investors. Citing research from The Center for Venture Research, Sutton shows that there is a small but robust community of women and minority entrepreneurs who are seeking and getting angel investment.
Add to that an increased interest in startups among African-American entertainers, athletes and other assorted celebrities. “The fact that celebrities and athletes are getting more active in the tech startup space could also continue the increase in minority entrepreneurship in various cultures, especially for African-Americans who often look to the sports and entertainment industries for careers,” Sutton writes. “Now there are conferences such as Venture Draft, which educates and connects athletes to venture capitalists in the hopes of providing the necessary information that could spark investment opportunities to entrepreneurs in markets outside of Silicon Valley.”
Still, Sutton makes the appeal for more angel investors in minority businesses. In some ways, there’s simply the need for more investors to see the value in minority- and women-owned businesses; to be confident in the fact that these are capable entrepreneurs and you will make a return on your investment. In other ways, minorities and women are still growing in areas of entrepreneurship. Every day, women and minorities are learning more about the business world and making strides to capitalize on the profits and satisfaction it has to offer. This new breed of high-level businessperson will attract investors.
By way of helping, and in honor of the aforementioned National Women’s Small Business Month, the Small Business Administration (SBA) is hosting four webchats this month, where tips and advice will be available. We’ll also suggest that you keep an eye on the National Women’s Business Council, which is hosting a big event this week and, throughout the year, has the ear of government members and the SBA. If there’s something happening for women business owners that you can take advantage of, they’ll probably know about it.
Your business has been steadily growing. New opportunities keep rolling in. It’s time to go to the next level. With the right strategy you can make your small business a big business.
1. The Small Business Administration (SBA) website advises that small business owners forecast growth. “Maintaining your momentum means looking forward even as you focus on the present. Forecasting and planning are critical to your continued success,” the site says. (You can also check out the site for financing options to help generate growth.) In an online interview, Shirlene Head, founder of creative brand marketing and events company Heads Up Marketing told us, “I’ve found the best way to broaden my brand… is that I’m always researching, networking and pitching out of my box.”
2. Look into market segmentation. This “simply means picking a sub-set of the entire marketplace that you can organize your sales efforts around. Out of all the people in the world, who will you try to sell to?,” business consultant James Clear, founder of Passive Panda, writes on the American Express Small Business forum. “Most big businesses are good at carving out their corner of the market. Then they do whatever they can to own that space,” he says.
3. Partner with others. Clear admits that small businesses are at a disadvantage when it comes to vendor relationships. But, just like the big guys, you can “leverage partnerships” for maximum effect, perhaps finding your spot along the supply chain.
4. “If your business model is easily replicated,” according to the SBA, franchising your business is a good growth option. Or, go shopping. “Perhaps the primary way that most big businesses grow is through acquisitions,” says Clear on the Amex forum. “First, acquisitions are tough. You can easily break the bank with one bad purchase. That said, acquisitions can be a massive source of profit and a means to growth if you make a few key moves.”
5. Take the lead. “Become a leader in the industry,” writes Clear. “Big businesses often make their name by leading an industry. They make moves when other businesses sit by the wayside.”
6. Make a to-do list to ensure that tasks both big and small get done. This is critical for a busy small business owner who doesn’t have a staff to delegate to. “Take a page from big business and develop process lists or checklists for specific tasks and jobs. Give yourself a guide to success and a reminder to do the essentials each day. I know that branding is just as important for small businesses as it is for big names,” writes Annie Mueller on the Amex forum.
7. Stay tech competitive. That means using social media and online resources to all of their advantages. “Not only use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, but blogs and networking organizations are very resourceful for gathering leads and getting insight on ways to brand and get leads,” said Head in an online interview with us.
8. Always be on call. “Promoting your brand is a 24/7 job –all the time and everywhere,” Head told Madame Noire.
Everyone is talking about Bill Clinton’s speech at the DNC last night (including its length), tossing in some chatter about Massachusetts Senatorial candidate Elizabeth Warren and a little extra for women’s rights advocate Sandra Fluke. Overlooked by many were the brief remarks from the top administrator for the Small Business Administration, Karen Mills.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re familiar with the SBA and all of the information it provides for those launching a new company. (If you’re not, check it out here.) President Obama has been accused by the Republicans repeatedly of not only standing in the way of small business owners, but discouraging small business ownership through his policies, including the new healthcare law. The mantra of the Republican convention — “We built that” — even stems from a willful misinterpretation of a comment President Obama made with reference to small businesses. The Washington Post reports on a poll showing that the President trails Romney by a significant margin among small business owners.
Last night, Mills set the record straight.
“President Obama understands that small businesses are the backbone of our economy,” she said, noting the impact that small businesses have on our economy. Half of Americans work for or own a small business, according to Mills, and they create two-thirds of all jobs.
When President Obama took office, the economy was a mess and “credit was frozen.” He has cut taxes 18 times for small business owners, made it easier for small businesspeople to adhere to rules and regulations and shortened the time it would take for them to get paid by the federal government, she said.
“He understands that Washington doesn’t create jobs; small businesses do. Government’s role is to put the wind at their backs,” she said. You can read all of her comments and watch a clip of her speech here.
We have no doubt that the President supports small business. The fact remains, however, that minority-owned and women-owned businesses are still having a problem with funding and other resources. We’ve covered that topic here, and went into detail about one alternative, microloans, here. Maybe it’s an issue he’ll address further in his second term.
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