en A Bank's Gift Demonstrates the Power of Small Business Innovation <p><span style="font-size: 13px;">Today on Capitol Hill, I joined leaders of JP Morgan Chase as they announced a five-year, $30 million philanthropic investment to support the pioneering work of American small businesses joining &ldquo;regional clusters.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13px;">Clusters are public-private partnerships that convene a region&rsquo;s corporations, small businesses, universities, investors and regional economic organizations to achieve synergies and productivity levels that a single company could not. Chase&rsquo;s commitment is believed to be the largest private-sector contribution to date in support of clusters.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13px;">SBA was the very first federal agency supporting this regional growth strategy back in 2010. Since then, we&rsquo;ve played a leading role in interagency efforts to create and support clusters. We&rsquo;ve provided more than $21 million in government grants and contracts, and we&rsquo;ve organized forums for cluster leaders to discuss strategies to increase the commercialization of new technologies created by small businesses.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13px;">Clusters are supporting entrepreneurs who work in some of the key emerging industries of the 21</span><sup>st</sup><span style="font-size: 13px;"> century. This matters, because it&rsquo;s our small businesses that have emerged as America&rsquo;s leading innovators, producing 13 times more patents per employee than large firms. Small businesses employ more than 40 percent of America&rsquo;s high-tech workers, and their size and nimbleness allows them to quickly adapt to emerging science and changing commercial realities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13px;">While smaller firms house some of this nation&rsquo;s brightest minds, what they usually don&rsquo;t house are large development departments that specialize in securing grants and new contracts. As a result, highly qualified small businesses often miss out on opportunities to gain entry into promising new markets.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13px;">That&rsquo;s where clusters come in. They convene all the major players, who pool resources and expertise to attract funding and research dollars, which in turn helps small firms scale up and hire. Clusters also train the local labor pool in specific skills sets that are in high demand &ndash; usually, in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and math). In short, clusters help regions harness what makes them special to drive breakthroughs in emerging industries with the potential to help power the American economy for generations.</span></p> <p>The SBA currently supports clusters focused on advanced power and energy in Minnesota, geospatial technologies in Mississippi, defense and aerospace in Alabama, smart grid technologies in Illinois, electrochemical energy storage in Connecticut, cyber security and defense technologies in San Diego, and flexible electronic products in Ohio.</p> <p><span style="font-size: 13px;">A third party evaluator just completed the </span><a href="" style="font-size: 13px;">third year of a performance report</a><span style="font-size: 13px;">, comparing small businesses that participated in an SBA-funded cluster with their local competitors that did not. Entrepreneurs in clusters created jobs and grew their payrolls four times faster than their industry peers.&nbsp; And over the three-year period, they attracted an additional $161 million in private capital and grants to support their work. Nearly 9 in 10 entrepreneurs said they were unable to obtain similar support outside of the cluster.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13px;">Chase&rsquo;s commitment is powerful evidence that major players in the finance world are now seeing the light on clusters. And that&rsquo;s good news for the small businesses that are quietly powering our economy&rsquo;s high-tech transformation. These are exciting times to be both an innovator and an entrepreneur in America. Who knows where the next Silicon Valley may spring up?</span></p> Open For Business Financing Managing Tue, 22 Jul 2014 20:00:33 +0000 Maria Contreras-Sweet 1099731 at My 100-Day Progress Report <p>It has been an exhilarating first 100 days on the job. When I was sworn in as SBA Administrator in April, I promised to &ldquo;get more loans into the hands of entrepreneurs who reflect the diversity of America by making it easier for community banks and microlenders to become our partners.&rdquo;</p> <p><span style="font-size: 13px;">Following up on this promise, I recently announced a transformative new plan to automate SBA lending and streamline and simplify the agency&rsquo;s underwriting process to attract more lending partners and open up new markets for small business owners who need capital to expand and grow.&nbsp; Days after this announcement, which will ease the burdens on lenders approving small-dollar loans to entrepreneurs, I appeared at a Clinton Global Initiative conference in Denver to help announce an exciting commitment called the Century Club. Eight Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) each pledged to make at least 100 small business loans a year for the next 10 years, which will inject $1 billion of additional capital into America&rsquo;s small business ecosystem.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13px;">Last week, we continued our progress in expanding access to capital. At the White House, I joined President Obama to announce a new initiative called <a href="">SupplierPay</a>. More than two dozen major corporations pledged to pay their small business suppliers faster and offer other creative financing solutions to get entrepreneurs access to affordable working capital so they have the payment certainty to make new hires and grow their companies.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13px;">We&rsquo;ve also been focused on creating new opportunities for our veterans who wish to translate their military leadership skills into opportunities to serve their country as civilian job creators. We &ldquo;rebooted&rdquo; our popular <a href="">Boots to Business </a>entrepreneurship program &ndash; a two-day crash course in starting a small business followed by an eight-week, instructor-led online course. We&rsquo;re now conducting this program for transitioning service members at more than 200 military installations worldwide. And last week at the White House, we expanded this initiative to serve veterans who&rsquo;ve already transitioned out.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13px;">At Twitter headquarters, the SBA launched a new <a href="">competition for entities</a> &ndash; university incubators or local nonprofits &ndash; that help seed start-ups by offering up office space, mentoring, networking, business-plan assistance, and sometimes startup capital, too. We&rsquo;re exporting the Silicon Valley support model to communities in Middle America. The competition will fund up to 50 accelerators that are focused on key industries like clean energy and health care, as well as those focused on underserved populations, including women entrepreneurs, minorities, and small business owners in distressed urban and rural areas.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13px;">In recognition of the reality that there are still communities disproportionately struggling in the aftermath of the Great Recession, I also launched <a href=";mode=form&amp;id=23bc2de2cb2b37e5b9c12e86667c5da5&amp;tab=core&amp;_cview=0">Scale-Up America</a> &ndash; another competitive program that will bring intensive SBA assistance to up to 14 cities with strong small business growth potential. We&rsquo;re excited about this program, because more than 90 percent of new jobs generated by small businesses come from the expansion of existing businesses.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13px;">Finally, as an immigrant myself, I was proud to represent the United States in El Salvador to meet with the country&rsquo;s new leadership and recognize the peaceful succession of President Salvador S&aacute;nchez Cer&eacute;n. I had the opportunity to meet with Salvadoran small business owners, who provide 70 percent of the country&rsquo;s jobs, and promote the bilateral Partnership for Growth plan signed by both nations in recognition of the increasingly important role Latin American nations are playing in the global economy.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13px;">These first 100 days have been a whirlwind, and I am buoyed by the energy and optimism of all the entrepreneurs I&rsquo;ve met in cities across America. There&rsquo;s still so much more to do. I hope you&rsquo;ll contact me on Twitter <a href="">@MCS4biz</a> to keep the dialogue going as we continue our forward momentum into the fall.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Open For Business SBA News and Views Tue, 15 Jul 2014 18:15:04 +0000 Maria Contreras-Sweet 1097851 at A New Strategy to “Drive” Small Business Growth <p>Three years ago, entrepreneur Maurice Brewster made one of the best business decisions of his life: He signed his limousine company, Mosaic Transportation, up for IBM&rsquo;s Supplier Connection &ndash; a collaboration between small businesses and the supply chains of Fortune 500 corporations</p> <p>It was a wise decision because small firms that enter the supply chains of major corporations grow their revenue by an average of 250 percent and their workforce by an average of 150 percent.</p> <p>In three years, Maurice has signed contracts with seven major corporations, grown Mosaic from 20 to 46 employees, and tripled his annual revenues. His company had lost half of its business during the Recession, but now it is reaping record profits. Maurice credits this remarkable turnaround to two things: he joined a corporate supply chain, and all seven of his new clients pay him up front with a corporate credit card.</p> <p>Unfortunately, most Mosaic clients take far longer to pay; it took one company seven months to cut his check. Maurice says if every client paid him on time, he would expand tomorrow to New York and Los Angeles and create dozens of new jobs.</p> <p>This is a common complaint from America&rsquo;s small business owners. Timely payments and the cost of working capital can make or break a small business. And these ingredients are essential to job creation and economic growth.</p> <p>Today, SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet joined President Obama at the White House to announce the launch of <a href="">SupplierPay</a>. It&rsquo;s a new project dedicated to giving America&rsquo;s entrepreneurs access to affordable, consistent working capital. It&rsquo;s about paying them on time and keeping their interest rates low, so they can invest in new equipment, new products and new people.</p> <p><a href="">Twenty-six major corporation</a>s have already signed up. They&rsquo;ve pledged to shorten payment times or provide other creative financing solutions, so their small business suppliers have the confidence to hire more workers and expand their operations.</p> <p>SBA will take the lead in recruiting additional corporations to join this endeavor.&nbsp; We have a great case to make, because SupplierPay is a win-win for small businesses and their corporate partners. Supply chains are often shared across an entire industry, so there&rsquo;s a positive spillover effect when capital costs are lowered. It reduces the price of goods and services. It allows investments in human capital that reduce preventable errors. It increases returns on cash and improves the overall stability of supply chains.</p> <p>President Obama promised the American people he would use the power of his office to make progress on their behalf. Whether you&rsquo;re a limo company, an auto parts maker or an IT services company, getting paid faster and on more favorable terms is a surefire way to drive job growth and help put America on the road to a more prosperous future.<br /> &nbsp;</p> Open For Business SBA News and Views Fri, 11 Jul 2014 16:17:36 +0000 John Spears 1096721 at SBA Hosts Youth Entrepreneurs from Junior Achievement for Forum on Entrepreneurship <p>Last Wednesday, June 18th, SBA had the pleasure of hosting <a href="">Junior Achievement USA </a>and the teen competitors of Junior Achievement&rsquo;s National Business Plan Challenge. Junior Achievement is the world&#39;s largest organization dedicated to educating students in grades K-12 about entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs. The organization has a reputation for preparing America&rsquo;s best and brightest youth for entrepreneurship and business ownership and I was thrilled by their visit. We were able to talk to the students about how the SBA can help them be successful as they start and grow their businesses. These students embody all of the characteristics great entrepreneurs have&mdash;they are smart, inquisitive, dedicated and goal oriented&mdash;which should set them up for success in the future.</p> <p>During their visit, I had the opportunity to sign a Strategic Alliance Memorandum with Junior Achievement USA to solidify our mutual commitment to preparing our country&rsquo;s young people for entrepreneurship and financial success. SBA&rsquo;s Office of Advocacy&rsquo;s&nbsp;<a href="">April 2014 Newsletter</a>&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 13px;">noted that youth entrepreneurship has dropped around 23% over the last ten years and that only 2% of people under age 25 are self-employed. However, studies also show that a record number of young people are interested in entrepreneurship.</span></p> <p>The SBA is constantly looking for ways to encourage young people to consider entrepreneurship and small business ownership. One way to do that is by helping young people see the possibilities available to them through entrepreneurship at an earlier age, and we are proud to count Junior Achievement USA as an ally in that effort.</p> <p>Any young person who is interested in starting a business should seek support along the way. SBA has several resources to assist. Additional resources for young entrepreneurs can be found at<a href=""></a>. We&rsquo;re also excited to be introducing new initiatives for youth in the upcoming weeks so stay tuned!</p> Open For Business Mentoring and Training SBA News and Views Fri, 27 Jun 2014 16:05:28 +0000 Tameka Montgomery 1092821 at Celebrate Pride Month by Making Your Workplace LGBT-Inclusive; SBA Sponsoring Events for LGBT Business Owners and Allies <p><span style="font-size:14px;">In honor of LGBT Pride Month, the SBA is teaming up with the Human Rights Campaign, America&rsquo;s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality, and the National Gay &amp; Lesbian Chamber of Commerce to provide free trainings for small business owners.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:14px;">A schedule and instructions on how to sign up are below:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:14px;"><a href=";do=register&amp;t=71">Webinar: Making Your Small Business Workplace LGBT-Inclusive</a></span></p> <ul> <li> <span style="font-size:14px;">Wednesday, June 25 at 2:00 PM ET</span></li> <li> <span style="font-size:14px;">SBA is teaming up with the Human Rights Campaign to present a free training for small business owners on making your workplace inclusive for LGBT employees. Attendees will learn:</span> <ul> <li> <span style="font-size:14px;">Why fostering an inclusive workplace can make employees more productive,</span></li> <li> <span style="font-size:14px;">How to provide safeguards for you and your employees by creating a non-discrimination policy, and</span></li> <li> <span style="font-size:14px;">Where to find the latest information about changing laws and regulations.</span></li> </ul> </li> </ul> <ul> <li> <span style="font-size:14px;"><a href=";do=register&amp;t=71">Register now</a></span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size:14px;">National Gay &amp; Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Conference Calls</span></p> <ul> <li> <span style="font-size:14px;">Along with the National Gay &amp; Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, SBA will present three conference calls for LGBT business owners and allies on key topics:</span> <ul> <li> <span style="font-size:14px;">Securing Federal Contracts &ndash; Monday, June 23 at 1:00 PM ET</span></li> <li> <span style="font-size:14px;">Accessing Capital &ndash; Tuesday, June 24 at 1:00 PM ET</span></li> <li> <span style="font-size:14px;">Innovation and New Programs (SBIR, Accelerators, Crowdfunding) &ndash; Thursday, June 26 at 1:00 PM ET</span></li> </ul> </li> <li> <span style="font-size:14px;">To register for any of the NGLCC conference calls, please email Theara Coleman at <a href=""></a> and include your name, company, and which presentation you are registering for.</span></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> Open For Business Business Laws Managing SBA News and Views Thu, 19 Jun 2014 18:48:11 +0000 Stephen Morris 1090531 at A Flag Day Salute to U.S. Veterans <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">This Saturday, we celebrate Flag Day, a day that commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777.&nbsp; The United States Army also celebrates its 239<sup>th</sup> birthday on June 14, 2014.&nbsp; The U.S. Small Business Administration wants to take this opportunity to wish the Army a Happy Birthday, while expressing our gratitude to all the men and women, in every branch of U.S. military service, who serve our country.&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Veterans deserve to live the American Dream they helped to defend, and the SBA is committed to ensuring that veterans have every opportunity to succeed as business owners.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><a href="">SBA&rsquo;s Office of Veteran Business Development (OVBD</a>) is devoted exclusively to promoting veteran entrepreneurship.&nbsp; Through veteran-entrepreneurship training programs, a network of localized Veteran Business Outreach, and specialized loan programs through SBA partners, OVBD works to provide veterans, service-disabled veterans, reservists, active duty service members, transitioning service members and their spouses, dependents and survivors with the training, counseling and access to capital they need to start and grow a small business.&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Take a look at this video about opportunities for veterans through SBA&rsquo;s Office of Veteran Business Development:&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//" width="560"></iframe></p> <p><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Visit <a href="" style="font-size: 12px;"></a> to learn more about how SBA helps veterans succeed with their business ventures. &nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> Open For Business Mentoring and Training SBA News and Views Wed, 11 Jun 2014 19:52:22 +0000 Rhett_Jeppson 1086411 at Success With Online Reviews Tour = Great Success! <p dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 12px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', 'Helvetica Neue LT Std', 'Helvetica LT Std', Helvetica, arial, sans-serif; line-height: 21px;"><em>Editors note: This article was originally posted on the <a href="">Official Yelp Blog</a>.</em></p> <p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-c08e6edd-d216-140d-2cf0-a38f9f4dadf7" style="margin: 0px 0px 12px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', 'Helvetica Neue LT Std', 'Helvetica LT Std', Helvetica, arial, sans-serif; line-height: 21px;">Yelp and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) hit the road&nbsp;<a href="" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; color: rgb(59, 101, 167);">back in January</a>&nbsp;to educate small business owners across America on what it takes to have success in a world where more consumers are using online reviews to make&nbsp;<a href="" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; color: rgb(59, 101, 167);">purchasing decisions</a>.</p> <p class="rtecenter" dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 12px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', 'Helvetica Neue LT Std', 'Helvetica LT Std', Helvetica, arial, sans-serif; line-height: 21px;"><img alt="DCB_8759BenHider140113.jpg" class="rtecenter" src="" style="background-color: transparent; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 21px; margin: 5px; padding: 0px 0px 5px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; max-width: 100%; display: block; width: 400px; height: 267px; float: left;" /></p> <p dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 12px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', 'Helvetica Neue LT Std', 'Helvetica LT Std', Helvetica, arial, sans-serif; line-height: 21px;">We concluded our Success With Online Reviews tour last week in Miami, where we were joined by partners from the Small Business Development Center, the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, and 880 AM the Biz radio host, Pete De La Torre, who broadcasted live from the event. Our panelists included Vic Ruiz, owner of&nbsp;<a href="" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; color: rgb(59, 101, 167);">Sweet Dogs</a>, the highest rated hot dog joint on Yelp in Miami, and Julio F. of the&nbsp;<a href="" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; color: rgb(59, 101, 167);">Miami Yelp Elite squad</a>. Vic told the audience he built his online reputation by focusing on solid customer service and a great product. As he puts it, &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t ask for reviews, I let my food speak for itself.&rdquo; Julio (who has written over 200 reviews) says he&rsquo;s motivated to write reviews for the same reason many other Yelpers get involved on our site -- a desire to share his experiences with the community in the hopes it helps them find great local businesses.</p> <p class="rtecenter" dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 12px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', 'Helvetica Neue LT Std', 'Helvetica LT Std', Helvetica, arial, sans-serif; line-height: 21px;"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: small; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;"><img alt="Collage of business owners" src="/sites/default/files/images/PicMonkey Collage.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 500px; margin: 5px;" /></span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 12px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', 'Helvetica Neue LT Std', 'Helvetica LT Std', Helvetica, arial, sans-serif; line-height: 21px;">From Portland, OR to Atlanta, GA, the Success With Online Reviews tour hit seven major cities and featured two nationally webcasted events. Several thousand small businesses registered for these workshops and attendees walked away with some valuable insights.</p> <p dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 12px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', 'Helvetica Neue LT Std', 'Helvetica LT Std', Helvetica, arial, sans-serif; line-height: 21px;"><span style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px;">Want to learn more but didn&rsquo;t get a chance to join one of these events? Don&rsquo;t worry, there are still plenty of opportunities for small business owners to learn valuable online marketing tips. Yelp hosts free webinars every other week which businesses can register for&nbsp;</span><a href="" style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; color: rgb(59, 101, 167);">here</a><span style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px;">. Meanwhile, the U.S. Small Business Administration just announced the schedule of events for&nbsp;</span><a href="" style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; color: rgb(59, 101, 167);">National Small Business Week</a><span style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px;">&nbsp;which will be held May 12-16, 2014. For future updates on the Success With Online Reviews initiative, be sure to check out&nbsp;</span><a href="" style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 21px; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; color: rgb(59, 101, 167);"></a></p> Open For Business Managing Marketing Mentoring and Training SBA News and Views Wed, 11 Jun 2014 18:36:04 +0000 Stephen Morris 1086361 at SBA Announces Boots to Business: Reboot <p><span style="font-size:12px;">The <a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">Small Business Administration (SBA)</a> will host <a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">Boots to Business: Reboot, </a>an entrepreneurship training course for Veterans in twelve cities across the U.S.&nbsp; Each event, led by SBA Resource Partners and industry experts from Syracuse University&rsquo;s Institute for Veteran and Military Families (IVMF), will host up to 100 Veterans for a two-day Introduction to Entrepreneurship class.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">Boots to Business: Reboot, will introduce veterans to the fundamentals of business ownership, and lead participants through the key steps for evaluating business concepts and developing a business plan.&nbsp; The program will also introduce participating Veterans to a network of lifetime&nbsp; business support available locally across the U.S. by introducing them to SBA&rsquo;s network of <a href="">Veteran Business Outreach Centers,</a> <a href="">Women&rsquo;s Business Centers,</a> <a href="">Small Business Development Centers</a> and <a href="">SCORE Counselors. </a></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">Boots to Business: Reboot will adapt the curriculum from the SBA-sponsored <a href="">Boots to Business:</a> From Service to Startup, a worldwide program offered as a component of the <a href="">Department of Defense&rsquo;s redesigned Transition Assistance Program (TAP) renamed Transition GPS.</a>&nbsp; The curriculum, developed to introduce transitioning service members to business ownership and connecting them to resources in their local communities, will now be available to more than 22 million Veterans who have already transitioned into civilian life.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">Following the two-day training, participants will also be eligible to register for &ldquo;Foundations of Entrepreneurship&rdquo; an eight-week, online course led by instructors from IVMF that offers in-depth instruction on the elements of a business plan and techniques and&nbsp; tips for starting a business.&nbsp;&nbsp; After completing Boots to Business: Reboot, participants will have the tools and knowledge they need to identify a business opportunity, draft a business plan, connect with local resources and launch their small businesses.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">The Boots to Business: Reboot events will kick off at the White House on July 11 -12, 2014 and culminate on August 25 -26, at the American Legion National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.&nbsp; Throughout the month, ten additional events will be held in the following cities:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><strong><u>CITIES AND DATES</u></strong></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">July 11 &ndash; 12: Washington, D.C.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">July 24 &ndash; 25: Dallas- Fort Worth, Texas</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">July 29- 30: Miami, Florida</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">July 31 &ndash; August 1: Chicago, Illinois</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">August 1&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 11.818181991577148px;">&ndash;</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;2: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">August 5 &ndash; 6: Boston, Massachusetts</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">August 6 &ndash; 7: Albuquerque, New Mexico</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">August 8 &ndash; 9: Kansas City, Missouri</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">August 13 &ndash; 14: Detroit, Michigan</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">August 15 &ndash; 16: Los Angeles, California</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">August 20 &ndash; 21: Seattle, Washington</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">August 25 &ndash; 26: Charlotte, North Carolina</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">For more information, or to register for the events visit the <a href="">Boots to Business: Reboot event website.</a></span></p> Open For Business SBA News and Views Tue, 10 Jun 2014 17:17:58 +0000 Rhett_Jeppson 1085741 at Are You Prepared to Be A Leader When A Disaster Hits Your Small Business? <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Most employees at small businesses worry about their safety in the event of an emergency, according to a <a href=";p=irol-newsArticle&amp;ID=1937172&amp;highlight=">recent survey by Staples, Inc.</a>&nbsp; And those fears range from &ldquo;does my company have an emergency plan in place?&rdquo; to &ldquo;what happens to my paycheck if this place had to close for a few days because of a power outage?&rdquo;</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">The Staples survey&mdash;conducted online in May 2014&mdash;found that workers at businesses with fewer than 50 people are less sure of who is in charge of emergency planning than employees at larger companies.&nbsp;&nbsp; Most of the more than 400 office workers interviewed said their companies were less likely to do safety drills, and didn&rsquo;t have the plans or equipment in place to deal with catastrophic events like earthquakes, hurricanes or tornadoes.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">As a small business owner, you know that everything begins and ends with you. You also understand that your responsibility as a leader extends to your clients and your employees.&nbsp; Protecting them is essential, and failing to do so is a cause for the failure of your company.&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Building a disaster preparedness plan is essential to the survival of any small business. But having a plan is not enough:&nbsp;</span></span></p> <ul> <li> <span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Your employees must understand the disaster plan, while also having a good grasp of your company&rsquo;s critical functions, systems and processes.</span></span></li> <li> <span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">The emergency plan must be rehearsed. Doing an annual exercise will help your team uncover flaws in the system.</span></span></li> <li> <span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Put the plan on paper, and stick to the plan, while building contingencies, considering worst-case scenarios.</span></span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong style="font-size: 12px;"><u>Webinar</u></strong></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">There&rsquo;s a lot more to establishing yourself as a leader your employees and clients trust to lead them and the community through a crisis.&nbsp; Join the SBA and Agility Recovery on Tuesday, June 17 at 2 p.m. EDT for the free &ldquo;Leading with Resiliency During a Disaster&rdquo; webinar.&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Former Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator R. David Paulison will discuss how he managed the leadership challenges he faced when he joined FEMA during the Hurricane Katrina recovery.&nbsp; He&rsquo;ll also share tips on how to provide calm leadership and smart direction when a crisis hits.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Please sign up soon, since space is limited. The webinar will be recorded and archived on Agility&rsquo;s <a href="">PrepareMyBusiness</a> site.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong>Date:</strong> Tuesday, June 17, 2014</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong>Time:</strong> 2 &ndash; 3 p.m. ET</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong>Register:</strong> <a href=""><strong></strong></a></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">In the meantime, you can get a head start by visiting <a href="">Agility Recovery&rsquo;s disaster planning</a> page.&nbsp; There you&rsquo;ll find practical checklists that can help you with crisis communications, risk assessment, and disaster planning for specific disasters--be it earthquakes, fires, floods, tornadoes or hurricanes.</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Open For Business Emergency Planning SBA News and Views Thu, 05 Jun 2014 21:27:11 +0000 Carol Chastang 1083311 at Recognizing AAPI Community Leaders and Organizations <p>In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, the SBA&rsquo;s Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives highlighted the role of AAPI community leaders in promoting and assisting local economic growth on Main Street, strengthening America as a global leader and helping develop the next generation of startup entrepreneurs and business leaders.<br /> <img alt="AAPI" src="/sites/default/files/images/AAPI(2).jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 184px; float: right;" title="AAPI" /><br /> As President Obama stated in his <a href="" title="proclamation">proclamation</a>&nbsp; &ldquo;During Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we celebrate the accomplishments of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, and we reflect on the many ways they have enriched our Nation. Like America itself, the AAPI community draws strength from the diversity of its many distinct cultures -- each with vibrant histories and unique perspectives to bring to our national life. Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders have helped build, defend, and strengthen our Nation -- as farm workers and railroad laborers; as entrepreneurs and scientists; as artists, activists, and leaders of government. They have gone beyond, embodying the soaring aspirations of the American spirit.&rdquo;</p> <p> The SBA is proud to support and work with Asian American and Pacific Islanders across the country. AAPI community leaders and organizations are crucial partners as educators, conveners and advocates for small business networks at the local and national level.</p> <p> On May 20, I was honored to participate on a panel at the Korean Churches for Community Development Annual Legislative Summit in Washington, DC&nbsp; to share our commitment to the AAPI community, and highlight some of the important programs where we are working closely together:&nbsp; the <a href="" title="8(a) Business Development Program">8(a) Business Development Program</a> that assists disadvantaged businesses in their growth, the <a href="" title="HUBZone Program">HUBZone Program</a> that encourages business development in historically underutilized business zones through contracting opportunities, and the <a href="" title="Community Advantage Loan Program">Community Advantage Loan Program</a>&ndash; just to name a few.</p> <p> I was particularly excited to meet with and hear from a group of student Ambassadors from colleges and universities across the country as many are graduating this month and were interested to learn more about how the SBA is helping launch and support&nbsp; the next wave of entrepreneurs and startups.</p> <p> The highlight for me was serving as a judge in a mock funding pitch competition, and getting to hear many of the students&rsquo; incredible ideas and impressive launch, marketing and growth strategies.</p> <p> We know how important training and mentorship opportunities like this can be for young professionals and hopeful entrepreneurs, and recognize organizations like KCCD and many others across the country that help support and facilitate them.</p> <p> You can learn more about SBA resources at <a href="" title=""></a>.</p> Open For Business SBA News and Views Wed, 04 Jun 2014 17:02:47 +0000 Sarah Bard 1081271 at SBA National Ombudsman Meets with Small Businesses in Missouri and Pennsylvania To Discuss Regulatory Issues <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong>NOTE: This blog is by Brian Castro, SBA National Ombudsman</strong></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">In May, the <a href="">Office of the National Ombudsman</a> joined SBA&rsquo;s District Offices in celebrating our nation&rsquo;s small business owners through a series of outreach events in Regions III and VII.&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">In addition to honoring the Small Business Week Winners for Eastern Missouri at a ceremony and awards dinner in St. Louis, Region VII Regulatory Fairness Board Member Cynthia Brown and National Ombudsman Brian Castro hosted a roundtable discussion on the campus of Webster University to hear directly from local small businesses.&nbsp; Participants at the St. Louis forum included small business owners, local representatives of federal agency partners, and members of the academic community.&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">The National Ombudsman also visited the Veterans Business Resource Center in St. Louis and toured the Riverside Innovation Center in Pittsburgh, where he learned about some of the exciting work these resource partners are doing and explored barriers they and their clients face due to federal regulations.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">In Pittsburgh, more than 70 members of the small business community participated in a regulatory fairness roundtable hosted by Region III Regulatory Fairness Board Member Marilyn Landis, the Office of the National Ombudsman, and the SMC Business Councils of Pennsylvania.&nbsp; &nbsp;Attendees identified a range of federal regulatory concerns impacting small businesses in the region, including:</span></span></p> <ul> <li> <span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Environmental regulations concerning water run-off</span></span></li> <li> <span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">The GSA federal supply schedule</span></span></li> <li> <span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Proposed crowd funding regulations</span></span></li> <li> <span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">IRS rules on independent contractors versus employees</span></span></li> <li> <span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">New patent legislation</span></span></li> <li> <span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Dodd-Frank Act regulations relating to component parts containing &ldquo;conflict minerals,&rdquo; materials originating in a conflict region</span></span></li> <li> <span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Implementation of the Affordable Care Act</span></span></li> <li> <span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Government contracting with service-disabled, veteran owned small contractors</span></span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">In partnership with other federal agencies, the ONO is assisting small business owners in obtaining expedited agency review of these regulatory compliance and enforcement matters.&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Our federal agency partners also provide critical support to our work on behalf of small business owners through local agency representatives who participate in our outreach events around the country. The following agencies participated in these events:</span></span></p> <ul> <li> <span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Department of Commerce, U.S. Commercial Service</span></span></li> <li> <span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Department of Labor, Department of Wage &amp; Hour</span></span></li> <li> <span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Department of Labor, Occupational Safety &amp; Health Administration</span></span></li> <li> <span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Internal Revenue Service, Self-Employed and Small Business Division</span></span></li> <li> <span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Internal Revenue Service, Taxpayer Advocate Service</span></span></li> <li> <span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Department of Agriculture</span></span></li> <li> <span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Equal Employment Opportunity Commission</span></span></li> <li> <span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Army Corps of Engineers</span></span></li> <li> <span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Consumer Product Safety Commission</span></span></li> <li> <span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">National Labor Relations Board</span></span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Providing the opportunity for establishing personal connections between small business owners and their local federal agency representatives is another important part of the outreach we do.&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Regulations keep Americans safe and protect the public health, national security, and our environment.&nbsp; At the same time, we are focused on cultivating an environment for small business that promotes growth, innovation, and job creation.&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">That&rsquo;s why the Office of the National Ombudsman works every day to support smart, effective, and innovative approaches to the regulation of small business and to assist small business owners facing regulatory enforcement actions and compliance issues.&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">If we can assist your small business with a regulatory fairness issue, please visit <a href=""></a>, email us at <a href=""></a>, or call 888-REG-FAIR.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Congratulations to all of our Small Business Week Award Recipients!&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong>Note:&nbsp;</strong> The SBA&rsquo;s Office of the National Ombudsman exists to help small business owners as they seek to understand the requirements of federal regulations, comply with those mandates, resolve disputed matters with federal regulators, and ultimately thrive.&nbsp; Ten Regional Regulatory Fairness Boards around the country work with the National Ombudsman to identify and address regulatory barriers for small businesses and to connect small business owners with SBA resources.&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></span></p> Open For Business SBA News and Views Tue, 27 May 2014 19:47:57 +0000 ngoriel 923081 at Recapping National Small Business Week 2014 <p>The U.S. Small Business Administration, along with President Obama, federal agencies, and private partners recognized <a href="">National Small Business Week</a>, May 12-16. During this time the true engines of the U.S. economy were celebrated: small businesses.</p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">With five eventful days of panel discussions, webinars, and networking opportunities, National Small Business Week (NSBW) kicked off at Twitter&rsquo;s headquarters in San Francisco and ended with awards ceremonies honoring the accomplishments of state and national small businesses in Washington, DC.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">Speaking at NSBW events during the week, Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet declared that &ldquo;it is time to celebrate the risk-takers who make the wheels of the economy turn.&rdquo; She added that America&rsquo;s 28 million small businesses employ half of the private sector workforce and create nearly 2 out of every 3 jobs in our economy.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">These small businesses are not only supported by the SBA, but by other federal agencies as well:</span></p> <ul> <li> <a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">NASA</a><span style="font-size: 12px;"> has increased its prime awards to small businesses by $100 million each consecutive year over the last four years.</span></li> <li> <span style="font-size: 12px;">The </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">Department of Commerce</a><span style="font-size: 12px;"> awarded approximately 40 percent of all its contracts to small businesses last year, totaling $3 billion.</span></li> <li> <span style="font-size: 12px;">The </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">Treasury Department</a><span style="font-size: 12px;"> shows its support for small business growth and innovation through its Small Business Lending Fund and the State Small Business Credit Initiative.</span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">Although, National Small Business Week has come to a close we are still celebrating and supporting small businesses across the nation.&nbsp; If you missed any of last week&rsquo;s events you can watch the recorded sessions </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">here</a><span style="font-size: 12px;">.</span></p> <p></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="390" src="//" width="640"></iframe></p> Open For Business SBA News and Views Fri, 23 May 2014 16:08:09 +0000 Stephen Morris 850731 at V-WISE Invites Female Veterans and Military Spouses to Pursue Their Dreams of Entrepreneurship <p>Next month Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) will host 200 female veterans and military spouses at a three-day conference to realize their goals of business ownership through education and training.&nbsp; The event, V-WISE&rsquo;s 10<sup>th</sup> annual conference, will be hosted by the Institute for Veteran and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University June 13-15 in New York City with support from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>V-WISE is committed to women veterans by providing them the tools they need to become successful entrepreneurs.&nbsp; The weekend conference will include a variety of essential business sessions such as Marketing 101, Business Law, discussion panels, female-entrepreneur guest speakers, as well as counseling and networking opportunities.</p> <p>The 2012 U.S. Census Bureau Survey of Business Owners reported that 4.4 percent of veteran business owners are women.&nbsp; That number has risen significantly since 2008 as more and more women veterans are becoming entrepreneurs.&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">V-WISE graduate and former U.S. Air Force C130 pilot Kristina Guerrero encourages women to participate in the program.&nbsp; &ldquo;The best thing a female veteran can do is to acknowledge that she&rsquo;s a veteran.&nbsp; Be proud of what you&rsquo;ve done and what you&rsquo;ve accomplished. There are resources available&hellip; take advantage of them.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span></p> <p>To learn more about or apply to the V-WISE program, visit <a href=""></a>.</p> Open For Business SBA News and Views Thu, 22 May 2014 15:54:13 +0000 Barbara Carson 847431 at From Boise to Moscow: The STEP Program Builds Bridges of Success throughout the World <p>Addressing the criticality of U.S. exports, President Obama said, &quot;<a href="">The global economy is more integrated than ever... If we&#39;re going to grow, it&#39;s going to be because of exports</a>.&quot; As the world&#39;s economic landscape expands at an unprecedented rate and burgeoning foreign markets seek U.S. products and services, it is vital that American small businesses recognize and leverage the endless export opportunities around the world.</p> <p>Simply put, exports fuel our economy. Since 2009:</p> <ul> <li> exports have driven nearly half of the economic growth and account for nearly 14 percent of the U.S. economy</li> <li> U.S. businesses are able to grow faster, hire more employees, pay higher wages, and help spread American ideas, innovation and values.</li> </ul> <p>Unfortunately, only a small fraction of U.S. businesses currently export and 58 percent of those businesses only export to one country. In response to this missed opportunity, the President established the National Export Initiative (NEI) to promote U.S. exports and the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 established the pilot <a href="">State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Grant Program</a> to provide effective opportunities to increase the number of small business exporters and increase their exports. The <a href="">U.S. Small Business Administration&#39;s Office of International Trade</a> (OIT) has just launched the third year of this pilot program.</p> <p>The OIT&#39;s has produced significant results. <a href="">In November 2013</a>, the Governor of Idaho, along with representatives from 17 Idaho businesses, over half of which were small businesses, flew to the Russian Federation. Governor &quot;Butch&quot; Otter and his peers arrived in Moscow for a <a href="">nine-day trade mission</a> involving a variety of industries including potato machinery and storage equipment, animal feed, peas/lentils/chickpeas, live cattle, timber and international education.</p> <p>The Governor and his fellow Idahoans journeyed halfway around the world in pursuit of the abundant economic opportunities offered in the former Soviet Union. <a href="">The Russian Federation has the world&#39;s 11th largest economy, and, with over 140 million consumers, Russia continues to be one of the most promising markets for U.S. exporters</a>. In fact, Russia is one of Idaho&#39;s top ten export markets for agricultural products. Idaho has experienced the appreciable benefits of expanding exports outside of our nation&#39;s borders. In 2012, Idaho exported $21 million worth of goods to Russia, up 17 percent from the previous year.</p> <p>Opportunities for small businesses to establish or to bolster export partnerships, such as the Idaho Trade Mission, are made possible through grants funded by the STEP Program. This Program can award grants to the 50 states, District of Columbia, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa or Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands for increasing the number of small business exporters and their export sales.</p> <p>In 2014, the STEP Program will award $8 million to:</p> <ul> <li> advance small business participation in foreign trade missions and market sales trips</li> <li> subscription to services provided by the Department of Commerce</li> <li> design of international marketing products and campaigns</li> <li> representation at export trade show exhibits</li> <li> export related training, and other endeavors aligned with the STEP Program goals.</li> </ul> <p>The STEP grant award amounts vary based on an awardee&#39;s approved project plan and budget. The results of these investments are substantial in a world that is becoming more and more interconnected. The state recipients of the STEP Program&#39;s second year awards reported a return on Federal investment of over seventeen-to-one. Beginning its third year, the STEP Program will continue to actively foster export opportunities for small businesses by providing them with support to succeed in international exports.</p> <p>Small businesses are a model for success in U.S. exports. In 2011, nearly 300,000 U.S. small businesses exported goods, accounting for 98 percent of all identified exporters. Sales of American products and services to those outside of our borders not only fuels the economy and creates jobs and higher wages in the United States, but it also builds bridges for the exchange of ideas, cultures, and values with other communities around the world.</p> <p>SBA&#39;s STEP Program is instrumental in helping U.S. small businesses build their bridges of success throughout the world.</p> <p>For more information on the STEP Program, visit <a href=""></a></p> Open For Business International Mon, 19 May 2014 13:31:29 +0000 Luz Hopewell 845311 at SBA Launches Growth Accelerator Fund <p>The U.S. Small Business Administration is launching a $2.5 million competition for accelerators and other entrepreneurial ecosystem models to compete for monetary prizes of $50,000 each to fund operating budgets. To award the prizes, applicants will be judged by an expert panel that will consider each applicant&#39;s stated mission, founding team members and business goals among other core components. The application deadline is August 2, 2014.</p> <p>The panel will give particular attention to, and the SBA encourages, applicants that fill geographic gaps in the accelerator and entrepreneurial ecosystem space. It is well known that the most successful accelerators to date were founded on the coasts. Through this competition, we are looking to support the development of accelerators and thus startups in parts of the country where there are fewer conventional sources of access to capital (e.g., venture capital and other investors).</p> <p>In addition to accelerators which fill the gaps described above, we are also seeking out accelerators which are run by and support women or other underrepresented groups. Lastly, special consideration will be given to any accelerator models which support manufacturing.</p> <p>This contest was designed to provide winners with supplemental and critical capital to the operating budgets of entrepreneurial ecosystems across the United States. With access to capital via this highly competitive process, applicants will have greater opportunity to scale up (if already existing) or to launch something completely new. The basic tenet is simple: the startup world and a portfolio&#39;s survival is driven by a game of numbers. More quality startups supported by more well-funded entrepreneurial ecosystems leads to successful startups growing into competitive, exciting and high-value job creators.</p> <p>Over the coming months, SBA will be working with a number of partners such as the Global Accelerator Network (GAN) and others to host a number of Demo Days across the country. Demo Days provide opportunities for networking and the sharing of best practices among accelerators and other entrepreneurial ecosystem models. The first Demo Day of 2014 was held in Austin, TX at the Capital Factory and concurrent with the South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival. 13 accelerators across multiple industries and geographies gave 5 minute pitches to a room full of their peers. SBA is working to develop more of these events to happen in different cities around the country in 2014. Finalists in the competition will also be participating in a Demo Day remotely, thus there is no requirement for applicants to participate in the in-person events.</p> <p>Here is the link to the application: <a href=""></a></p> <p>If you have questions, please contact <a href=""></a>.</p> Open For Business Mon, 12 May 2014 15:31:54 +0000 Kimberly Peyser 840151 at National Small Business Week Starts Today <p>This week, America&rsquo;s celebrates the difference-makers in our economy as we kickoff National Small Business Week today at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco.</p> <p>You can watch the live stream of our kickoff event starting at 11:40 a.m. EST at <a href=""></a>.</p> <p>This year, we&rsquo;re hosting events in San Francisco, Kansas City, Boston, and Washington D.C., as well as a special online forum on Wednesday.&nbsp; Our events, workshops and panels all week long will be live-streamed at <a href=""></a>. Friday we&rsquo;ll announce our National Small Business of the Year in the nation&rsquo;s capital, so you&rsquo;ll want to log on for that.</p> <p>This country&rsquo;s 28 million small businesses create nearly two out of three jobs in our economy, so we can&rsquo;t have a conversation about creating jobs and economic growth in America without talking about ways to support our entrepreneurs.</p> <p>National Small Business Week is a time to make sure our entrepreneurs know about the services the SBA offers. And it&rsquo;s a week to encourage consumers to give a local business a try &ndash; or to order online from a small, Internet-based business.</p> <p>This is also a week &ndash; with events at Twitter and Microsoft &ndash; to reflect on the transformative impact of technology in speeding the growth of our small businesses. Throughout most of American history, it has been companies like Xerox, GM and DuPont that served as our laboratories for innovation. They invented game-changing technologies like the computer mouse and Teflon, but now small businesses have taken the lead, outpacing the innovation rate of larger firms.</p> <p>In 2014, small firms can reach customers with one smart click of a mouse. They can analyze data faster, conduct national recruiting searches from their laptop, and communicate with potential customers halfway around the world. Social media companies like Twitter have revolutionized the way companies engage with their customers. It used to take millions of dollars in ad buys for a small business to become a big one, but not anymore.</p> <p>Today, companies like Twitter can help entrepreneurs start real conversations with consumers to build customer loyalty. Entrepreneurs can do business in their pajamas; all you need is a great idea, a marketable skill, a laptop and the know-how to use it. On our live stream this week, we&rsquo;ll host workshops that explain how entrepreneurs can promote and grow their business in the mobile and digital space.</p> <p>It doesn&rsquo;t matter if you run a restaurant, a janitorial company, an E-commerce website, or the next big thing in tech, the SBA is here for you. Let&rsquo;s make this National Small Business Week a two-way conversation. Send me your thoughts, ideas, and feedback to our weeklong celebration at #SBW2014. &nbsp;Together, we&rsquo;ll grow America&rsquo;s small businesses and the national economy along with it.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Open For Business SBA News and Views Fri, 09 May 2014 18:49:12 +0000 Maria Contreras-Sweet 838441 at My Inspirational First Month at SBA <p>One month ago, I took my oath and was given the opportunity of a lifetime to be a champion for America&rsquo;s small businesses.</p> <p>In my first public statement after my swearing-in, I talked about my intention to support our job creators and build the U.S. economy from the middle out; to promote lending that reflects the diversity of America by getting capital to the areas that need it the most; and to use technology and best practices in customer service to make it easier for borrowers to borrow and lenders to lend.</p> <p>Then, I immediately embarked on a listening tour to send a signal to entrepreneurs that I wanted a robust dialogue and open lines of communication to understand the range of challenges that America&rsquo;s small businesses owners face.</p> <p>It has been an exhilarating first month. On my third day on the job, I defended our FY15 budget before the Senate. I went to to the Pentagon to meet with transitioning service members taking an SBA course on how to apply their military skills to civilian entrepreneurship. And I visited Washington state to accelerate the deployment of disaster aid to businesses and families impacted by the devastating mudslide.</p> <p>I testified at a field hearing that explored how small business R&amp;D can create more high-growth, high-paying jobs. Then, I met with military leaders to make sure the Department of Defense is making procurement decisions that harness the incredible innovation happening at small firms. I traveled to Baltimore and Boise to talk to emerging leaders and women-owned businesses about how to plug into federal contracting opportunities and earn business from the world&rsquo;s top buyer of goods and services: the United States government.</p> <p>I sat down with women and minority entrepreneurs to hear about their challenges in getting access to capital, and I shared their stories this past week at two major lending conferences to explain SBA <a href="">regulatory changes</a> that will make it easier to get capital to neighborhoods the recession left behind. &nbsp;We dropped the so-called &ldquo;wealth test&rdquo; and &ldquo;nine-month rule,&rdquo; and we announced more collateral flexibility for our borrowers. These important technical changes will all increase the number of small businesses that qualify for SBA assistance.</p> <p>At each stop, I&rsquo;ve evangelized the SBA message of &ldquo;three Cs and a D&rdquo; &ndash; our work to deliver capital, contracts, counseling and disaster assistance, which comprise the core of this agency&rsquo;s mission.</p> <p>My listening tour continues Monday with the kickoff of National Small Business Week at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco. Soon, I&rsquo;ll sit down with our exceptional SBA staff and begin the process of taking the insights gleaned from my time on the road to develop an action plan to take our agency to the next level.</p> <p>But as I reflect on an eventful first month, the word that stays in my head is &ldquo;inspirational.&rdquo; As our field team knows so well, our work does more than help America&rsquo;s small businesses succeed and our economy grow. So often, what we&rsquo;re really doing is empowering our entrepreneurs to give back and lift up entire communities.</p> <p style="text-align: center"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>We&rsquo;re helping women like Dr. Carla Thomas serve generations of families in her hometown of Inglewood, California. Less than four percent of this nation&rsquo;s dentists are African American, but with a real estate loan backed by SBA, Dr. Thomas now has her own building and a thriving practice three miles from the house where she grew up. She stayed &ldquo;home&rdquo; to provide dental care to local children and generations of families who need her. Dr. Thomas calls her practice &ldquo;The Smile Studio.&rdquo; Watch the video above, and you&rsquo;ll see why her unique commitment to give back in Inglewood gives us all a reason to smile.</p> Open For Business Financing SBA News and Views Starting Fri, 09 May 2014 15:55:52 +0000 Maria Contreras-Sweet 837291 at Financing Your Export Sales <p>Each of the four international methods of payments, discussed previously, can have an impact on your company&rsquo;s financing needs when filling overseas orders. Those can be broken down into either<strong> pre-shipment </strong>or <strong>post-shipment </strong>working capital needs.</p> <p><strong>Pre-Shipment: &nbsp;</strong>If you receive a purchase order from a foreign buyer, you will have a pre-shipment working capital need (the funds to hire labor, buy supplies and materials, etc., to produce the order), assuming you don&rsquo;t already have the goods in inventory.&nbsp; Two exceptions would be if:</p> <ul> <li> you require <strong>cash-in-advance before</strong> <strong>you start production;</strong> and/or</li> <li> you receive <strong>progress payments throughout</strong> the production cycle.</li> </ul> <p>If your payment terms are simply <strong>cash-in-advance</strong> prior to shipment, or even a<strong> letter of credit</strong> that is payable upon shipment, you still will need to fund the entire pre-shipment production cycle. &nbsp;Can you complete the order in 15 or 30 days, or is it for a customized piece of equipment that might take nine months to build? The pre-shipment working capital need could be substantial depending on the size of the order and the production cycle.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Post-Shipment:</strong> If you don&rsquo;t get paid upon shipment, you will need to carry accounts receivable on your books. &nbsp;Perhaps you have enough working capital to fill an order with a short production cycle, but you might have to offer 90-day terms to the buyer in order to secure the contract.&nbsp; In that case, you may need additional working capital to keep the business operating and to support the foreign A/R during that time.&nbsp;</p> <p>Two possible solutions are that you might be able to factor the accounts receivable using a commercial factoring company, or you could insure them through a private insurance company or the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. (Visit: <a href=""></a>), which would move the risk from the foreign buyer to the U.S. government or larger insurer.&nbsp; Many lenders allow exporters to borrow against insured overseas A/R.</p> <p>So, how can you finance your pre-shipment and/or post-shipment export working capital needs?&nbsp; The SBA has three loan guaranty programs that might work for you:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Export Express</strong> ($500,000 maximum) which is ideal for new exporters or those with relatively small orders.&nbsp; In addition to providing working capital for developing export markets or funding export transactions, these loans also can fund the purchase of fix assets used in the production of goods or services for export;</li> <li> <strong>Export Working Capital Program</strong> ($5,000,000 maximum), which may only be used to finance export transactions&mdash;typically all direct costs from purchase order to collections;</li> <li> <strong>CapLine Program</strong> ($5,000,000 maximum) which is a revolving line of credit that can support the working capital needs for both domestic and foreign sales made on open account terms (foreign A/R must be insured).&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Please, visit <a href=""></a> for details on, and a list of lenders active in, these programs.&nbsp; You also will find a listing for SBA&rsquo;s trade finance specialists located in 19 U.S. Export Assistance Centers across the country that can provide additional information on export financing questions.</p> Open For Business International SBA News and Views Tue, 06 May 2014 15:46:49 +0000 Luz Hopewell 836721 at How to Get Paid for Your Export Sales <p>If you are in business -any business- whether domestic or international, getting paid for your products or services is paramount to your business survival, growth and success. Ultimately, any sale is a gift until you get paid.&nbsp; So understanding how to get paid for an export sale is especially important, since your buyer could be 10,000 miles away. &nbsp;</p> <p>There are four basic ways to get paid for an international order. From the most, to the least, secure method of payment for the exporter, these are:</p> <p><strong>Cash-in-advance.</strong>&nbsp; New exporters frequently request this method.&nbsp; Their attitude typically is, &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know you very well but, if you send me the money, I&rsquo;ll send you the goods.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li> <u>Advantage:</u> The exporter gets paid before the shipment leaves the U.S.</li> <li> <u>Buyer&rsquo;s Perspective:</u> It is high risk. My money is gone, and all I have is the exporter&rsquo;s promise to deliver.</li> <li> <u>Disadvantage:</u> It limits the exporter&rsquo;s sales potential, is non-competitive, and ties up the importer&rsquo;s cash.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Letter-of-credit.</strong> Documentary letters of credit (L/C) substitute the creditworthiness of the importer and exporter with that of their respective banks.</p> <ul> <li> <u>Advantage:</u> &nbsp;The exporter will be paid if the terms and conditions of the L/C are met.</li> <li> <u>Buyer&rsquo;s Perspective:</u> The funds won&rsquo;t be released until shipment is made and terms met.</li> <li> <u>Disadvantage:</u> There are fees associated with opening and amending L/C; the importer&rsquo;s cash is tied-up.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Documentary collections.</strong>&nbsp; This method uses the banking system to send documents to the importer to request payment.</p> <ul> <li> &nbsp;<u>Advantage:</u> The goods are not released to the importer until the importer pays or agrees to pay for the goods.</li> <li> <u>Buyer&rsquo;s perspective</u>: Payment is delayed until goods are delivered or close to being delivered.</li> <li> <u>Disadvantage:</u> There is no guaranty of payment; importer could refuse goods; banks only act as intermediaries for collections.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Open account.</strong> Open account terms for international sales are similar to domestic open account sales. The buyer agrees to pay in a set number of days&mdash;typically 30, 60, or 90&mdash;from the invoice, shipment or delivery date.</p> <ul> <li> <u>Advantage:</u> More competitive terms which can help secure larger orders.</li> <li> <u>Buyer&rsquo;s perspective:</u> May allow the buyer time to sell the goods prior to payment; does not tie up importer&rsquo;s cash.</li> <li> <u>Disadvantage:</u> The goods are gone and the buyer might not pay. This risk can be greatly reduced by obtaining credit insurance from the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. on the foreign accounts receivable. Cost for credit insurance can be minimal, viz. about 65 cents per $100 of the invoiced amount for a policy that provides 95% coverage. (Visit: <a href=""></a> for details.)</li> </ul> <p>The method of payment used is frequently a result of perceived country and commercial risk, competition, and what is normal in a particular country or region.&nbsp; While letters of credit are common in parts of the Middle East or Asia, they are used less frequently in Europe and requiring them for payment could well reduce an exporter&rsquo;s competitiveness in some markets.</p> <p>In addition to the above considerations when requesting a particular method of payment, the exporter also should evaluate what impact the payment method will have on its own working capital financing needs.&nbsp; We&rsquo;ll discuss that in our next installment.</p> Open For Business International SBA News and Views Fri, 02 May 2014 15:43:07 +0000 Luz Hopewell 833521 at SBA in the Community: Offering Tools for Senior Citizens <p>Recently, I participated in the 6th Annual <a href=";t=">National Hunger Seder</a> at the U.S. Capitol. The event, organized by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and MAZON, brought together Members of Congress, faith and community groups and other Administration officials for a model Passover Seder designed to raise awareness and inspire advocacy around the challenges facing seniors.</p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">At the SBA, we are committed to the empowerment of all Americans, including our support of senior Americans. Too many are facing challenges of economic insecurity.</span></p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/images/Sarah Bard.png" style="font-size: 12px; width: 272px; height: 246px; float: right;" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">This month, the U.S. Small Business Administration and AARP have teamed up to</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;h</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">ost </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">National Encore Entrepreneur Mentor Month</a><span style="font-size: 12px;">.&nbsp; With a special focus on entrepreneurs over the age of 50, we are matching up &ldquo;</span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">encore entrepreneurs</a><span style="font-size: 12px;">&rdquo; with successful business owners an</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">d community leaders for advice and assistance. Entrepreneurship can provide stability and a path to economic empowerment. It can also be a viable option in retirement.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">Throughout the month of April, SBA District Offices, state AARP offices and SBA resource partners are hosting more than 100 </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">events</a><span style="font-size: 12px;"> around the country.&nbsp; Events include speed mentoring, which allows mentors and entrepreneurs to share information for five-minute sessions, and mentor lunches for entrepreneurs to learn best practices from successful small business owners.</span></p> <p><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">Senior entrepreneurs</a><span style="font-size: 12px;"> are one of the fastest growing groups of new business owners, and starting a</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;small business offers an opportunity to use the knowledge and skills gained during a career towards creating a new business.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">Now is a great time to explore the options. SBA has free online courses targeted at helping encore entrepreneurs get started.&nbsp; Go online to access SBA&rsquo;s </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">Encore Entrepreneur</a><span style="font-size: 12px;"> course or our </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">Women&rsquo;s Encore Entrepreneur</a><span style="font-size: 12px;"> course that offers free information on how to start a business for those over the age of 50.</span></p> <p>You can find more encore entrepreneurship information at <a href=""></a> and <a href=""></a>.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Open For Business SBA News and Views Fri, 25 Apr 2014 01:36:38 +0000 Sarah Bard 829511 at Spring Is Here! Did You Know that April Is Financial Capability Month? <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">President Barack Obama recently proclaimed April </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">National Financial Capability Month</a><span style="font-size: 12px;">. Recognizing the importance of financial planning in achieving the American Dream, this month calls on individuals to empower themselves by seeking knowledge and tools for strong financial capability.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">In today&#39;s world economy, financial capability is vital to entrepreneurs and small business owners trying to start, grow, and succeed in the marketplace.&nbsp; Whether your target market is global or your local neighborhood, SBA&rsquo;s network of </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">Small Business Development Centers</a><span style="font-size: 12px;">, </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">Women&rsquo;s Business Centers</a><span style="font-size: 12px;">, and </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">SCORE</a><span style="font-size: 12px;"> chapters can help at every stage of turning your entrepreneurial dream into a booming business.&nbsp; Additionally, SBA&rsquo;s </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">Online Learning Center</a><span style="font-size: 12px;"> offers free online courses to help you brush up on your business skills.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">I personally believe that financial capability encourages financial stability for individuals, families, and communities.&nbsp; The more small business owners know about business credit and </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">loans</a><span style="font-size: 12px;">, the more likely they are to succeed in securing their next </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">loan</a><span style="font-size: 12px;"> to start or grow their business.&nbsp;&nbsp; If you want to start a business or learn how to better manage your business finances, begin with </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">Money Smart</a><span style="font-size: 12px;">. SBA and FDIC collaborated to provide an instructor-led business training program, </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">Money Smart for Small Business</a><span style="font-size: 12px;">, for free. This program is designed to provide introductory-style training for new and aspiring entrepreneurs. The 10 modules provide the most essential information on running a small business from a financial standpoint.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">So far, more than 1,300 copies of the </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">Money Smart for Small Business</a><span style="font-size: 12px;"> course have been ordered and more than 50 </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">Small Business Training Alliance</a><span style="font-size: 12px;"> members have used the course. It&rsquo;s been an invaluable tool for small businesses looking to improve their financial capability and education. Small business owners, those without formal business training, financial institutions, small business assistance centers, city and county economic development offices, faith-based organizations and others have found the program greatly beneficial.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">From more information on </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">Money Smart for Small Business </a><span style="font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;or to download the course at no cost, go online to </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;"></a><span style="font-size: 12px;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">For free resources on money management and on making the best financial decisions for you, visit </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;" title=""></a><span style="font-size: 12px;"> or call 1-888-MyMoney.</span></p> Open For Business Financing Managing Mentoring and Training SBA News and Views Fri, 18 Apr 2014 19:01:30 +0000 Tameka Montgomery 826351 at Helping Small Businesses Grow Through Green Efforts <div> <em style="font-size: 12px;">Note: this post is by Donna J. Butler, SBA&rsquo;s Senior Sustainability Officer &amp; Deputy Chief Operating Officer</em></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> SBA helps small businesses find solutions to make their operations run efficiently. That&rsquo;s why this Earth Day and every day SBA encourages small businesses to incorporate a green office environment. Whether it&rsquo;s changing to a more energy efficient lighting system, implementing a recycling program, or considering eco-friendly machinery&mdash;all of these&nbsp;<a href=";" target="_blank">techniques</a>&nbsp;help to conserve energy and save money. SBA also helps entrepreneurs and organizations build on green ideas and turn them into a successful business.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <strong>Taking an Idea and Turning it Green</strong></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Small business owner Carina Whitham of California took her passion for renewable energy and used SBA&rsquo;s counseling services to help start an executive search firm&nbsp;<a href=";" target="_blank">Whitham Group Executive Search</a>. Today, Carina&rsquo;s firm successfully recruits and places executives in the arenas of Solar, Wind, Biofuels, Biomass, Geothermal Energy and all other areas of renewables.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> SBA also supports sustainability through initiatives such as the&nbsp;<a href=";" target="_blank">Regional Clusters Initiative</a>&mdash;which combines a network of organizations and businesses in a geographic area that grow through increased collaboration, efficiency and innovation. SBA funded its initial clusters in collaboration with the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and several other agencies. &nbsp;Regional clusters such as&nbsp;<a href=";" target="_blank">Illinois Smart Grid, Clean Energy, and GreenMe</a>&nbsp;are expanding thanks to the support from this initiative. Today, they are making their communities more sustainable and eco-conscious.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> And for small business owners seeking to upgrade an existing facility with energy efficient upgrades or financing innovative eco-friendly tools--<a href=";" target="_blank"></a>&nbsp;has a reference list of<a href=";" target="_blank">green financing and green certification options</a>.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <strong>SBA Green Practices</strong></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> SBA is also reinforcing green practices throughout its office culture.&nbsp;<a href=";" target="_blank">The Agency&rsquo;s priority goal for Fiscal Year 2014</a>&nbsp;was to increase paperless loan processing.&nbsp; SBA succeeded with this goal and saw an increase in the use of paperless processing with both the 7(a) and 504 loan programs. The 7(a) program use increased from 72 percent to 90 percent and the 504 program use increased from 55 percent to 75 percent. Additionally, SBA is collaborating with the General Services Administration to ensure that&nbsp;<a href=";" target="_blank">SBA&rsquo;s Headquarters and Field Offices</a>&nbsp;are housed in facilities that are energy and water efficient and are maintained with non-toxic and recycled content products. SBA has also reduced its greenhouse gas emissions from employee commuting by nearly 15% since 2010 in part through the increased use of mass transit and&nbsp;<a href=";" target="_blank">telework</a>. This year, SBA initiated an agency-wide toner and ink cartridge recycling program in partnership with the U.S. Postal Services.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <strong>Go Green and Thrive</strong></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Celebrate Earth Day today and everyday by adopting new environmentally sound practices for your business.&nbsp; SBA is here to help you grow your business and succeed in your green efforts.&nbsp; Visit our website or connect with our&nbsp;<a href=";" target="_blank">local offices and resource partners</a>&nbsp;for your small business needs.&nbsp;</div> Open For Business Financing SBA News and Views Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:31:23 +0000 Stephen Morris 826291 at ChallengeHer—Creating Opportunities & Access to Federal Contracts for Women-Owned Small Businesses <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">If you&rsquo;re a woman-owned small business looking to contract with the federal government and seeking assistance on how to navigate in the federal procurement arena, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has good news for you!</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">In FY 2012, the federal government awarded $16.1 billion in federal contracts to women-owned businesses, but there is still more work to be done.&nbsp; That is why the SBA is continuing its partnership with Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) and American Express Open on the ChallengeHer initiative that was launched last spring, to help more women-owned businesses get a bigger piece of the federal contracting pie and benefit from SBA&rsquo;s Woman-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program.&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Earlier today, I spoke at the ChallengeHer women-owned small business opportunity forum at the Department of Energy hosted by the SBA, WIPP and American Express Open.&nbsp; The event featured panel sessions on how to contract with the government from 8am to noon and networking opportunities for women-owned businesses from 1pm to 3pm.&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong style="font-size: 12px;">ChallengeHer&ndash;What is it?</strong></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">The ChallengeHer campaign leverages the resources of the SBA, WIPP and American Express Open by hosting events around the country to connect women-owned businesses with decision makers and procurement officials at federal agencies and prime contractors to receive guidance on how best to sell their goods and services to them.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">The events also provide insight on how women-owned businesses can register in the federal government&rsquo;s Systems for Award Management (SAM) database&mdash;the official contracting portal for small businesses to submit their profiles in order to do business with the federal government and provide eligibility requirements for women-owned businesses to participate in SBA&rsquo;s Woman-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program.&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong>How Can I Attend?</strong></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">To date, the SBA, WIPP and American Express Open has hosted ChallengeHer events in Phoenix, AZ, Seattle, WA, New Orleans, LA, Atlanta, GA, Norfolk, VA, Denver, CO and Washington, D.C.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong>Below is a list of upcoming ChallengeHer events.</strong></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong>ChallengeHER &ndash; WOSB Opportunity Forum with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)</strong></span></span><br /> <span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Tuesday, June 3, 2014 from 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM (EDT)<br /> <strong><a href="">&gt; Register Here</a></strong></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong>ChallengeHER &ndash; WOSB Opportunity Forum with U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)</strong><br /> Thursday, June 5, 2014 at 1:00 PM (EDT)<br /> <a href=";job=1260572&amp;ymlink=2124492&amp;finalurl=https%3A%2F%2Fchallengeherepa%2Eeventbrite%2Ecom" title="registration link"><strong>&gt; Register Here</strong></a></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong>ChallengeHER &ndash; San Francisco, CA</strong><br /> <span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Friday, June 13 from 1:00 PM - 4:30 PM (PDT)<br /> <strong><a href="" title="registration link">&gt; Register Here</a></strong></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong>ChallengeHER &ndash; Milwaukee, WI</strong><br /> Thursday, June 26, 2014 from 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM (CDT)<br /> <strong><a href=";job=1260572&amp;ymlink=2124492&amp;finalurl=https%3A%2F%2Fchallengehermilwaukee%2Eeventbrite%2Ecom" title="registration link">&gt; Register Here</a></strong></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong>ChallengeHER &ndash; San Diego, CA</strong><br /> Wednesday, July 16, 2014 from 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM (PDT)</span></span></span></span><br /> <span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong><a href="" title="registration link">&gt; Register Here</a></strong></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong>ChallengeHER &ndash; Chicago, IL</strong></span></span></span></span><br /> <span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Thursday, August 7, 2014 from 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM (CDT)<br /> <strong><a href="" title="registration link">&gt; Register Here</a></strong></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong>ChallengeHER &ndash; Charlotte, NC</strong><br /> Tuesday, August 19, 2014 from 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM (EDT)<br /> <a href="" title="registration link"><strong>&gt; Register Here</strong></a></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong>ChallengeHER &ndash; Raleigh, NC</strong><br /> Tuesday, August 19, 2014 from 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM (EDT)<br /> <a href="" title="registration link"><strong>&gt; Register Here</strong></a></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Stay tuned for more information on the ChallengeHer campaign and events near you.</span></span></p> Open For Business Government Contracting Thu, 17 Apr 2014 18:11:18 +0000 John Shoraka 826051 at We’ll Be Their “Wingman” <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Are you a self-starter? Do you have a general-management skill set? Are you used to constantly changing roles and responsibilities? Are you disciplined and focused? Are you risk-tolerant and able to manage stress?</span></span></p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/images/Pentagon photo(1).JPG" style="font-size: 12px; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; width: 280px; height: 190px; float: right;" /><span style="font-size: 12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">These are the threshold questions that SBA counselors ask every day to help prospective entrepreneurs asses</span></span><span style="font-size: 12px; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;">s if they have what it takes to be</span><span style="font-size: 12px; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;">&nbsp;a succe</span><span style="font-size: 12px; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;">ssful small business owner. And when those questions are put to veterans of the U.S. armed forces, they often get &ldquo;yes&rdquo; replies.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">The military has a track record of producing outstanding leaders, which helps explain why nearly 1 in 10 U.S. entrepreneurs are veterans. Statistics show that vets are 45 percent more likely to be their own boss than their non-veteran counterparts. Veterans own 2.5 million American businesses that employ more than 5.8 million people. These companies generate more than $1 trillion in sales a year. (That&rsquo;s a staggering sum. You could pay the salaries of 57 million Army privates with a trillion dollars.)</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Our veterans have worked hard and made so many sacrifices for our country. They have put themselves in harm&rsquo;s way and often must leave their families behind to keep America safe. At the SBA, we have a solemn duty to work as hard for them as they&rsquo;ve worked for us. No one deserves to live the American Dream more than those who&rsquo;ve put on a uniform and fought to defend it.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">On Tuesday, I attended the <a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">&quot;Boots to Business&quot; program</a> at the Pentagon. In a small classroom of students, primarily service members transitioning out of the Air Force, the SBA put on a two-day &ldquo;Introduction to Entrepreneurship&rdquo; course that focused on how to translate military experience into succeeding as a small business owner. I was inspired by the power and diversity of these heroes&rsquo; dreams: aspirations to open a medical practice, a flight services engineering firm, a cybersecurity company, a photography business, a veterinarian practice, and a barbecue restaurant, to name just a few.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">This year, the SBA will train 15,000 transitioning service members and introduce them to the basics of business ownership. After the two-day intro class, SBA offers an intensive eight-week course to help these leaders evaluate their business concept and develop viable business plans. SBA then continues to provide guidance through our resource partner network in communities across America by offering one-on-one assistance to assess and mitigate risk, comply with regulations, access financing and create new jobs.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">I&rsquo;ve started three businesses, and I know it can often seem like a lonely road. But there are resources available; you just need to know where to look. In the military, you get used to being part of a team &hellip; and not just any team, but the finest team in the world: the United States Armed Forces. I promised the members of that class &ndash; and I extend this promise to all veterans &ndash; that if they pursue their dreams of opening a new business, they won&rsquo;t be alone. The SBA will be right by their side, <a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">offering counseling</a>,&nbsp;<a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">contracting opportunities</a>, and <a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">access to capital</a>.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">The SBA will be their wingman, fighting for them and with them, every step of the way.</span></span></p> Open For Business SBA News and Views Wed, 16 Apr 2014 15:19:47 +0000 Maria Contreras-Sweet 825061 at Webinar Series: How to Prepare to Access Capital for Your Small Business <p>Access to capital is the number one concern for entrepreneurs and small business owners. However, as an entrepreneur or small business owner, are you prepared to access capital for your business? SBA and Dun &amp; Bradstreet Credibility Corp. have teamed up for a webinar series this month to help entrepreneurs and small business owners learn how to build business credit and prepare for a business loan. This webinar series is free, but registration is required.</p> <p><strong style="font-size: 12px;">5 Steps to Building Business Credit [SOLD OUT] &nbsp;</strong></p> <p><strong style="font-size: 12px;">A recording of this webinar will be available on&nbsp;</strong><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">SBA&#39;s YouTube channel</a><span style="font-size: 12px;">.</span></p> <p><strong style="font-size: 12px;">April 22 | 2:00-3:00 pm EDT</strong></p> <p><strong><a href=";t=71&amp;do=register&amp;s=&amp;rID=432&amp;edID=293">Register</a> </strong></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">In this webinar, 20 +year business credit veteran Amber Colley shares real life business success stories and failures as a result of the care of or the lack of attention to establishing, monitoring and building strong business credit.&nbsp;&nbsp; Learn the basics of business credit and the different ways it can impact a company&rsquo;s ability to manage cash flow, access funding, become a successful supplier, win a contract and more.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><strong style="font-size: 12px;">Overview:&nbsp;</strong></p> <ul> <li> Why you should care about business credit?</li> <li> Who are we?&nbsp;</li> <li> Understand how business credit works.</li> <li> Concrete steps you can take to improve your business credit.</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong style="font-size: 12px;">Access to Capital: Preparing to Meet Your Lender&nbsp;</strong><strong style="font-size: 12px;">[SOLD OUT] &nbsp;</strong></p> <p><strong style="font-size: 12px;">A recording of this webinar will be available on&nbsp;</strong><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">SBA&#39;s YouTube channel</a><span style="font-size: 12px;">.</span></p> <p><strong>April 30 | 2:00-3:00 pm EDT</strong></p> <p><strong><a href=";t=71&amp;do=register&amp;s=&amp;rID=432&amp;edID=293">Register</a> </strong></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">Do you think a bank loan will help you grow your business?&nbsp; Do you know what it takes to get that loan?&nbsp; Have you considered alternative lending options?&nbsp; How about equity options? For many, the journey to access capital for a startup or growing business can feel like a daunting excursion into the unknown. The good news is that there are plenty of organizations in your area that have the resources and assistance to help you prepare.&nbsp; In this webinar, learn about the resources available in your area that provide business and technical assistance, and how to prepare for your journey to access capital.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><strong style="font-size: 12px;">Overview:</strong></p> <ul> <li> <span style="font-size: 12px;">What are the lending options available to business owners in today&rsquo;s climate?</span></li> <li> <span style="font-size: 12px;">How do business owners who successfully get loans prepare before meeting a lender?</span></li> <li> <span style="font-size: 12px;">What are the Federal resources available to help you get further educated on your options?&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> Open For Business SBA News and Views Fri, 11 Apr 2014 20:09:56 +0000 ngoriel 819921 at An Uncle You Want to Do Business With <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">At the SBA, one of our core objectives is to </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">provide access to capital</a><span style="font-size: 12px;">, but that&rsquo;s not the end of our commitment to America&rsquo;s small business owners. It&rsquo;s the beginning.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">We know small businesses need reliable lending to grow, but we also know it&rsquo;s important to provide entrepreneurs with information about business fundamentals, regulatory compliance, how to access government contracts and how to network your way into new opportunities and new customers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">While I&rsquo;m only on Day 5 in my new role as SBA Administrator, it&rsquo;s already abundantly clear to me that the work of our </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">Office of Entrepreneurial Development</a><span style="font-size: 12px;"> is vital. By working with our partners to provide </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">technical assistance, counseling, training, and mentoring</a><span style="font-size: 12px;">, we are providing game-changing advice to help small businesses grow their profits and their payrolls.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">I&rsquo;ll never forget a meeting I had with the head of a public utilities agency back in California years ago. He had worked with a program very much like our </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">Emerging Leaders initiative</a><span style="font-size: 12px;">, which helps underserved businesses grow their companies and compete for public contracts. This executive told me that he had a strong preference to contract with companies whose leaders had been through programs like ours.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">He said emerging leaders &ldquo;get it.&rdquo; They are more sophisticated. They speak the language of business. They know how to run sound operations and how to problem-solve. He said these small businesses are, plain and simple, better partners.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">On Thursday, I attended the kickoff of our Baltimore Emerging Leaders class. The national statistics for small business owners who&rsquo;ve gone through the SBA&rsquo;s Emerging Leaders program are remarkable: two out of three leaders have increased their revenue; three out of four have hired new employees; and nearly half have secured government contracts.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">The United States government buys more than $400 billion worth of goods and services every year, making Uncle Sam the largest buyer in the world. That&rsquo;s an uncle you want to do business with.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">Three months ago, SBA did a focus group with our Baltimore alums who took this class in previous years. We asked them how many of them are </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">&quot;8a certified,&quot;</a><span style="font-size: 12px;"> meaning they are underserved businesses that are preferred partners for sole-source federal contracts. Three out of four possess this certification.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">To date, 2,000 business executives have gone through our Emerging Leaders program, and they have secured more than $1 billion in contracts and accessed $73 million in new financing.&nbsp; Emerging Leaders is a program that can open lucrative doors for America&rsquo;s small businesses. It&rsquo;s why I went to Capitol Hill on Wednesday &ndash; my second full day on the job &ndash; to make the case to the Senate Small Business Committee for a $15 million appropriation to fund Entrepreneurial Education in the coming fiscal year.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">A wise man once said, &ldquo;A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could.&rdquo; At the SBA, taking care of business is our business, and it has been for 61 years. That means we&rsquo;re committed to ensuring that our small business owners have the tools to compete in the federal procurement arena and realize their full potential.&nbsp;</span></p> Open For Business SBA News and Views Fri, 11 Apr 2014 15:53:44 +0000 Maria Contreras-Sweet 819481 at SBA Takes Part in Muslim Business Leadership Roundtable <p><span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;">I had the pleasure to recently participate in the</span> <span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;"><a href="">White House Business Council </a>and <a href="">Office of Public Engagement&rsquo;s</a></span><span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;"> Roundtable with Muslim-American Business Leaders that brought together the business and faith-based community for a dialogue on how to support small businesses that start, grow and create job that sustain our nation&rsquo;s economy. </span><o:p></o:p></p> <p><span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;">The forum recognized the tremendous contributions of Muslim American entrepreneurs and small business owners. There were nearly 40 business owners in attendance that represented various industries and sectors of small business. The roundtable provided a platform to acquaint business leaders taking part with SBA&rsquo;s programs and services that are available to assist small businesses.</span><o:p></o:p></p> <p><span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;">Joining me at the roundtable was SBA&rsquo;s John Shoraka, Associate Administrator for</span> <a href=""><span style="font-size:<br /> 10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;">Government Contracting and Business Development</span></a><span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;"> and Ann Marie Mehlum, Associate Administrator for</span> <a href=""><span style="font-size:<br /> 10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;">Capital Access</span></a><span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;">. Other participating agencies included the National Economic Council and the Department of Commerce International Trade Administration.&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></p> <p><span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;">The conversation outlined the progress that SBA has made in supporting entrepreneurs, including minority-owned small businesses, and laid the groundwork for greater collaboration in the coming months with these important community leaders.&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></p> <p><span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;">The SBA was privileged to have a seat at the table to help address the needs of the Muslim-American business community. It gave us an opportunity to tell the story of SBA&rsquo;s mission to counsel and assist businesses, and to strengthen the economy of our nation. We were able to provide information about our key programs they can use to grow their businesses. This includes SBA&rsquo;s lending programs that work to address gaps in capital, as well as our government contracting programs that help small businesses compete in the federal marketplace.</span><o:p></o:p></p> <p><a href=""><span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;">SBA&rsquo;s Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives</span></a><span style="font-size:<br /> 10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;"> works to build strong relationships with both secular and faith-based nonprofit organizations to encourage entrepreneurship, support economic growth and promote prosperity for all Americans. </span><o:p></o:p></p> <p><span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;">We at SBA recognize the important role of all business communities and networks in economic development at the federal level, and that partnerships can provide effective and valuable steps in moving forward to engage and impact communities, especially those that are underserved and economically challenged.</span><o:p></o:p></p> <p><span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;">We are working to ensure that the nation&rsquo;s job creators have access to the tools they need to build, grow and strengthen.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/images/Capture.PNG" style="width: 100%; height: 100%;" /></p> <p><o:p></o:p></p> Open For Business SBA News and Views Thu, 10 Apr 2014 15:46:27 +0000 Sarah Bard 818351 at Top 5 Small Business Administration Resources for Veterans <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">These U.S. Small Business Administration resource partners have almost 1,500 locations across the United States, Guam, and Puerto Rico to help veterans who want to start their own business or grow an existing business.&nbsp; All partners can advise veterans on small business loans and provide training and support on a wide variety of challenges small business owners face, from access to capital to marketing.</span></span></p> <p><strong style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">Veterans Business Outreach Center</strong></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs) provide entrepreneurial development services such as business training, support and mentoring, and referrals for eligible veterans who already own or are considering starting a small business.&nbsp; For more information, visit: <a href=""></a>.&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><strong style="font-size: 12px; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;">Women&rsquo;s Business Centers</strong></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Women&#39;s Business Centers (WBCs) are designed to assist women start and grow small businesses. WBCs operate with the mission to &quot;level the playing field&quot; for women entrepreneurs, who still face unique obstacles in the world of business.&nbsp; WBCs offer comprehensive training and guidance on a variety of topics in many languages to help them start and grow their own businesses. For more information, visit: <a href=""><u>;s-business-centers</u></a><u>. </u></span></span></p> <p><strong style="font-size: 12px; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;">Small Business Development Centers</strong></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) provide a vast array of technical assistance to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs. SBDCs foster local and regional economic development through job creation and retention. SBDC clients receive free, extensive, one-on-one, long-term professional business advising, low-cost training and other specialized services.&nbsp; For more information, visit: <a href=""></a></span></span></p> <p><strong style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">SCORE: Counselors to America&rsquo;s Small Business</strong></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship.&nbsp; Volunteer business counselors, advisors and mentors provide free, confidential business counseling, free business tools, and inexpensive or free business workshops to aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners. For more information visit: <a href=""><u></u></a></span></span></p> <p><strong style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">SBA District Offices</strong></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">SBA District offices offer one-on-one and group programs on a wide variety of business topics for aspiring and existing small business owners, as well as connections and referral to lenders. Ask to speak to a Veterans Business Development Officer (VBDO) or a staff member who is available to help you start, manage and grow a successful small business.&nbsp; For more information, visit: <a href=""></a></span></span></p> Open For Business SBA News and Views Wed, 09 Apr 2014 00:03:09 +0000 Rhett_Jeppson 816501 at Delivering on the American Dream <p><span style="font-size:12px;">Today, with appreciation and humility, I begin my work as SBA Administrator and a relentless advocate for America&rsquo;s 28 million small businesses.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">My journey as a first-generation immigra</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">nt born in Guadalajara, Mexico,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">to</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;Presiden</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">t Obama&rsquo;s cabinet is one that could only happen in America. I came&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">to this country at the age&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">of 5 with my mom and five siblings. We didn&rsquo;t have much, but w</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">hat we did have was a</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">n abun</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">dance of hope. We didn&rsquo;t speak the la</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">nguage yet, neither the English language nor the language of business, but I was taught to believe in the promise of America.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;"><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/images/MCS Swearing In 1(1).JPG" style="width: 299px; height: 287px; float: right;" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">This country was founded by risk-takers, resourceful pioneers</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;wh</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">o built this pros</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">perous&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">nation. Entrepreneurialism is our heritage.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">The American Dream has always been about the opportunity to earn a good educatio</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">n and the keys to your own home, but the expanding American Dream is also about the opportunity to start your own business. I&rsquo;ve lived that Dream, and as SBA Administrator, I&rsquo;m determined to help others re</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">alize theirs, as well.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">Small businesses employ 1 out of 2 workers. SBA is a driving force that helps prop</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">el this economic activity. SBA provides access to </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">capital</a><span style="font-size: 12px;">, </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">contracting opportunities</a><span style="font-size: 12px;">, </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">consultation through a national network of partners</a><span style="font-size: 12px;">, and </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">disaster relief loans</a><span style="font-size: 12px;">. &nbsp;I&rsquo;m energized to begin my work on behalf of this nation&rsquo;s entrepreneurs, who risk so much to start new businesses and create most of our new jobs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">I&rsquo;ve already had a busy first morning on the job. I met with our disaster assistan</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">ce team, which is on the ground in Washington State following the presidential declaration to assist those impacted by t</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">he devastating mudslide. I also met with a group of veterans to thank them and to explore how more of our military heroes can use their skills to become successful small business owners.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">John F Kennedy once said &ldquo;All&nbsp;of us do not&nbsp;have equal talent,&nbsp;but all&nbsp;of us&nbsp;should&nbsp;have an&nbsp;equal opportunity&nbsp;to develop our talents.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">I&rsquo;ve come to realize that access to the American Dream means access to&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">capital. Entrepreneurs are the difference-makers in our economy. I&rsquo;ve seen the pivotal role the SBA plays in our entrepreneurial ecosystem. I was both a community banker and an SBA lender. I was a small business owner whose small business helped small businesses every day.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">As a bank chairwoman, I examined business plans, their viability, and management&rsquo;s ability to execute. This not only strengthened my knowledge of the challenges that small businesses face, it also strengthened my resolve to help them overcome those hurdles and succeed.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">When I started my first business almost 20 years ago, I experienced the same challenges that entrepreneurs face today. On any given day, I could be called upon to be the company&rsquo;s human resources director, CFO, spokeswoman, or chief sales officer &mdash; all while competing against larger firms in highly competitive markets.&nbsp;Today&rsquo;s small business owners multitask their way through similar&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">days, relying on their determination, the courage of their convictions, and the power of their entrepreneurial spirit.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">At the SBA, we&rsquo;re working to create the next great American success story. SBA lending has helped launch businesses on a path to the Fortune 500, companies like Apple and Fed Ex. SBA has helped launch an iconic American ice cream brand, Ben and Jerry&rsquo;s. SBA even helped six small businesses partner with NASA to launch the Mars rover, Curiosity, which is exploring the surface of the planet as we speak.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">As Administrator, my mission is to make the SBA an agency that&rsquo;s as innovative as the small businesses we serve. Two out of three new jobs in America are created by small businesses.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">Millions of middle class families are working for folks who depend on the SB</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">A&rsquo;s ability to facilitate access to capital, counseling and contracting opportunities. We must draw on technology to streamline the process of working with the SBA to make it easier for borrowers to access capital and easier for lenders to lend. The SBA must be nimble and agile to keep pace with our digital age.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">Remember when a bank was a tall building you walked into, to do business with a teller or a loan officer? Then ATMs came and transformed our relationship to our banks. Today, Americans can use their smart phone to scan their checks and make bank deposits from their living room. The SBA has to anticipate the kinds of rapid changes that are transforming how Americans access financial services, so our products are accessible and relevant in this technological age.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">Demographic changes also require fresh thinking. We know there are more retired people who are looking to start a second career and be their own boss. There are more women and more minorities seeking to join the entrepreneurial class. And data shows that immigrants are twice as likely to file patents and twice as likely to start a new enterprise. As Administrator, I plan to embrace</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;them all with a broad, inclusive vision.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">I&rsquo;m determined to get more loans into the hands of entrepreneurs who reflect the diversity of America. We know SBA lending to African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Latino-own</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">ed businesses, as well as women-owned businesses, can lift up entire communities. SBA must reach more Main Street businesses seeking loans. We&rsquo;ll do this by making it easier for community banks and micro lenders to become our partners.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">Through our vast resource network, we can strengthen entrepreneurial education, which is so important to the one million people who get game-changing SBA counseling every year. We will seed start-up businesses focused in high-growth areas like advanced manufacturing. We must build bridges with rural communities, as well as urban centers alike, so they&rsquo;re exporting more and are integrated into the global supply chain.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">With the President&rsquo;s support, I&rsquo;m going to collaborate with my cabinet colleagues to make sure more government contracts are awarded to small businesses.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">I&rsquo;m eager to get to work to help our entrepreneurs grow their companies &ndash; and the American economy along with it. At the SBA, taking care of business has been our business for 61 years. This agency has been a pivotal force in America&rsquo;s economic comeback story, but we&rsquo;re only getting sta</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">rted.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">So let&rsquo;s get down to business. And I invite you to join me on Twitter at </span><a href=";src=typd" style="font-size: 12px;">#GettingDownToBusiness</a><span style="font-size: 12px;"> to begin that dialogue today.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Open For Business SBA News and Views Mon, 07 Apr 2014 21:25:16 +0000 Maria Contreras-Sweet 816031 at SBA Participates in Business Sunday <p>This weekend, SBA and the Department of Commerce Centers for Faith-based a<span style="font-size: 12px;">nd Neighborhood Partnerships joined forces </span><span style="font-size: 12px;">with the </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">Minority&nbsp;</a><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">B</a><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">usin</a><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">ess Development Agency (MBDA)</a><span style="font-size: 12px;"> and </span><a href="" style="font-size: 12px;">BusinessUSA</a>&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 12px;">to launch the first Business Sunday event in Washington, DC at the 19th Street Baptist Church.</span></p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/images/crowdshot.jpg" style="font-size: 12px; float: right;" /><span style="font-size: 12px;">Business Sunday is a program focused on promoting local economic growth and job creation by connecting congregations and communities with the valuable business development resources offered by the Federal Government.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">Close to 300 business owners, entrepreneurs and community leaders came together for the first Business Sunday, packing the fellowship hall at 19th Street Baptist Church. The event included greetings from Melissa Rogers, Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, as well as presentations from SBA, MBDA and BusinessUSA on how to access important technical assistance, business counseling, loans and other practical resources. Participants also had the opportunity to sign up for health insurance for their business or themselves through the DC Health Benefit Exchange. Following the event attendees stayed for more than an hour to network and speak individually with Commerce and SBA staff.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">Business Sunday is a reflection of President Obama&rsquo;s and the U.S. Small Business Administration&rsquo;s shared commitment to strengthening our economy by empowering our people &ndash; our business owners, entrepreneurs, community development organizations, faith-based groups and others &ndash; to effect positive change at the local level. We look forward to continued collaboration with our partners to keep this work moving forward.</span></p> Open For Business SBA News and Views Tue, 01 Apr 2014 23:32:15 +0000 Sarah Bard 813071 at