All Articles Tagged "small business administration"

New SBA Initiative Offers More Access To Government Contracts For Minority Small Business

October 16th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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A new U.S. Small Business Administration initiative promises to make the path to government contracts easier with a much smoother process. The administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Maria Contreras-Sweet, who is a member of President Obama’s cabinet, has announced the launch of Destination: HUB.

The HUBZone program has been offered for more than 17 years, one of SBA’s signature initiatives helping small businesses in urban and rural communities get preferential access to federal procurement opportunities. Now Destination: HUB aims to better promote HUBZones for opportunities in federal procurement. According to a press release, it will boost the SBA’s effort to improve access to capital and close opportunity gaps in communities of color, by empowering entrepreneurs and small business owners economic and social mobility through employment and business growth.

“More than any other SBA initiative, the HUBZone Program has been a critical resource, creating jobs, alleviating poverty and reducing unemployment in our nation’s most vulnerable communities.  The program has had a transformational effect on small businesses all across the country. SBA’s Destination:HUB will put a spotlight on our underserved small businesses and promote HUBZones as ideal places for government contractors to do business,” said Contreras-Sweet.

“In our 2013 scorecard, we reported that HUBZone businesses only received 1.7 percent of federal contracts – well short of our 3 percent goal. This new initiative is an example of how the SBA actively working to achieve that goal.” said Contreras-Sweet.

The goal of Destination: HUB is to ensure local economic development boards, government officials, federal buyers, and prime contractors work hand-in-hand to bring more sole-source and set-aside awards directly for these HUBZones, according to a press release.

Destination HUB will have three parts:

–an in-depth examination of successes and needs in the HUBZone program

–analysis of ideal situations for successful HUBZone collaboration, using the power of its public-private partnerships and market research to recruit more firms for HUBZone participation

–the launching of a broad grassroots educational initiative, that will work with community organizations, faith leaders, local economic development, and key stakeholders, to urge participation in and inspire collective ownership of, the HUBZone program, at both the regional and national levels.

It’s National Small Business Week! Check Out The #SmallBiz Events Coming To A City Near You

May 12th, 2014 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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The hashtag #SmallBiz is buzzing around the Twittersphere for National Small Business Week. May 12 through May 16 is dedicated to saluting the 23 million super-small businesses around the country. Supporting America’s entrepreneurial spirit, The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE), an advocate for small business owners, is launching a series of #SmallBiz events in four major cities!

Partnering with the Small Business Association (SBA), NASE has already kicked off its tour at Twitter’s HQ in San Francisco, CA on Monday. The free event informed guests on how they can amp up their marketing strategy with useful social media tips. NASE invited “leaders from the small business, government, consumer and high-tech communities,” according to their page, to help entrepreneurs grow and succeed.

“America’s smallest businesses, the self-employed and micro-businesses, are the true engine of our economy,” Katie Vliestra, VP for Government Relations and Public Affairs, said in a press statement. “We at NASE are proud to stand with the SBA and sponsor this national effort devoted to our small business community. It is important that we help these new and existing entrepreneurs grow and succeed. . .”

If you’ve already missed the San Fran kick-off, don’t worry! NASE is coming to three more cities near you — Kansas City (May 13), Boston (May 15), and Washington D.C. (May 15-16). Kansas City will touch upon small business loans, contracting with the government, and growing your #SmallBiz into a #BigBiz. Boston will delve into online marketing strategies, energizing your work staff, and gaining capital for your business. Lastly, the nation’s capital will discuss Obamacare’s impact on small businesses.

The selected speakers include Eddie Kennison, a NFL wide receiver-turned-business guru and Gail Goodman, the female CEO of Constant Contact — an online marketing company that serves more than a half a million customers.

If you’re not able to physically make it to any of these events, don’t sweat it. NASE will be livestreaming several events so that you can soak up some small-business knowledge in the comfort of your own home. Learn about achieving customer loyalty, how businesses are evolving in a mobile world, and more. Click here for the upcoming webinars and online events for National Small Business Week.

The SBA has been putting mom-and-pop shops and the self-employed in the spotlight for every year since 1968. Maybe it’s time that you took advantage of what National Small Business Week has to offer.

A Handy Guide To Choosing An Institution For Your Small Business Banking

December 10th, 2013 - By Lauryn Stallings
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The financial responsibility that comes with owning a business is excruciating. Manage the pain, frustration and confusion by drawing a line between your personal income and company expenses. But before rushing to the nearest credit union, do your research. Business banking is an investment in itself. Here’s what you should look for when choosing a bank.

Can They Survive The Government Shutdown? Black Businesses Could Be Hit Hard

October 14th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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Black small businesses are expected to feel the brunt of  the government shutdown. “A shutdown has a ripple effect throughout the economy as many federal services come to a grinding halt. One such service is the U.S. Small Business Administration, also known  as the SBA. The SBA provides loans and many black businesses access these loans and other services.  Just earlier this year the SBA business loans budget was cut by 5 percent, or by $24 million, from the sequester,” reports The Grio.

There are many small businesses that are also government contractors. They will also feel the impact from delayed loans and work stoppage. And many of these government contract workers are black-owned small businesses.

“Black businesses are impacted at a higher number than the general population,” said Representative Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), who serves on the Small Business Committee in Congress.

One such person is Staci Redmon, who is president and CEO of Strategy and Management Services based in Springfield, Virginia. Her 95-employee firm has six new federal contracts scheduled to start on October 1st. Her company, which receives SBA loans and participates in other programs under the SBA, generates 100 percent of its revenue from federal contracts.

Redmon will probably have to lay off 10 percent of her staff.

Redmon is just one of the many African-American small business owners whose companies will be hurt by the shutdown. The question is, how many will be able to survive?

President Obama Declares This Week Small Business Week

June 17th, 2013 - By fjacobi
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Image: iStockphoto

Image: iStockphoto

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

April 12th, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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Marie_JohnsNow 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.

Small Business Administration Chief Stepping Down

February 12th, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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Image: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Image: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Karen Mills, who has been head of the Small Business Administration since 2009, is stepping down from her post.

We’ve covered the work of the SBA a number of times in the past few months, including here and here. The Huffington Post has a good, succinct overview of what the agency does:

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

December 17th, 2012 - By Vernetta Freeney
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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.

Black Businesses Get A Larger Portion of SBA Loan Money in the DC Area

November 26th, 2012 - By Tonya Garcia
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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.

For Black Businesses, Thinking Beyond Small Business Saturday

November 24th, 2012 - By Tonya Garcia
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President Barack Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia shopping at an Arlington bookstore today. Rex Features via AP Images

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?

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