Celebrate local entrepreneurs during National Small Business Week

More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year. Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.

As part of National Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from all 50 states and U.S. territories. Every day, they’re working to grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness.

National Small Business Week events will be held in multiple cities, including Miami/Boca Raton, Los Angeles, San Antonio, New York City and Washington, D.C. Follow along via live streaming on www.sba.gov/nsbw/nsbw or using the hashtag #DreamSmallBiz on social media.

U.S. SBA will also be hosting numerous training webinars this week covering a variety of common business topic areas regarding pay, digital footprints, new chip card payment technologies, benefits packages and online payment strategies.

NSBW 2015- Webinar Schedule

Monday, May 4, 2015
4:00-5:00 PM Eastern Time
SBA and ADP
Register here

Do I Have to Pay My Employees for That?
Common and Not-So Common Workplace Scenarios
Join us as we discuss some of the common pay and time-tracking questions ADP’s HR HelpDesk fields every day. Participants will learn about the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), correctly classifying employees as exempt, non-exempt or as an independent contractor, and more.

Monday, May 4, 2015
6:00-7:00 PM Eastern Time
SBA and YP
Register here

The Secrets to Crafting a Digital Footprint
Consumers are serious researchers. When they are on the hunt for a new product or service, they will search across devices, use multiple sites, and make decisions after reading quality content and reviewing videos and images. Join Steve Strauss, USA Today Small Business columnist, and Jeff Biesman from YP for this action-oriented conversation.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015
3:00-4:00 PM Eastern Time
SBA and Visa
Register here

What Small Business Owners Need to Know about Liability for Counterfeit Fraud on Chip Card Accounts
Liability for counterfeit fraud on chip card accounts will shift from the chip card issuer to business owners who have not upgraded to chip-activated terminals. Visa will bring together experts to help you understand how new payment technologies impact your business’ bottom line.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015
4:00-5:00 PM Eastern Time
SBA and Colonial Life
Register here

Voluntary Benefits: Not Just For the Big Guys
Many small businesses do not offer benefits. Many business owners don’t think they can afford them, don’t know that their business is large enough to qualify, or think they’re too much of an administrative hassle. But the truth is, you can offer a strong benefits package to your employees, even though your business is small. Join this webinar to learn more about voluntary benefits and how can they help your business.

Thursday, May 7, 2015
2:30-3:30 PM Eastern Time
SBA and PayPal
Register here

Payments as a Trigger for Small Business Growth
PayPal and the SBA present a special National Small Business Week webinar about payments as a trigger for small business growth. Tune in to an interactive discussion featuring Crisloid, a PayPal merchant, and hear how simple steps like adding a payments button to your website can spur growth.

Mission Main Street Grants

From the office of GROW SOUTH DAKOTA: Chase Bank is giving 20 small business owners the opportunity to be awarded a $150,000 grant, each.

Those who apply are eligible for one of 20 trips to Google Headquarters, one of 20 Google Chromebook laptops, or one of 20 $2,000 coupons toward a market research study with Google Consumer Surveys.

Visit the Mission Main Street Grants website for more information. Apply by October 3.

“Hang Out” with SBA and industry experts during National Small Business Week

Google+ Hangouts will feature daily tips for small business owners from major tech leaders and social media companies

WASHINGTON – As part of National Small Business Week, June 17-21, the U.S. Small Business Administration will host a series of Google+ Hangouts featuring an exciting lineup of social media companies, mentorship organizations and distinguished experts.

All Google+ Hangouts will start at 4 p.m. EDT and can be watched live at:

Small business owners can tweet questions for the panelists using the hashtag #SBW2013. No prior registration is required to watch.

Topics and panelists include:

Monday, June 17: Getting Started with Social Media – 4 p.m. EDT

Panelists from Twitter, Google, Constant Contact, and W20 Group will hang out.

Bill Murphy Jr., author and columnist for Inc.com will moderate.

Tuesday, June 18: Managing Your Business’s Online Reputation – 4 p.m. EDT

Panelists from Yelp, LinkedIn, OpenSky, Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp.,
Google and Manta will hang out.  Rieva Lesonsky, CEO of GrowBiz Media will moderate.

Wednesday, June 19: How a Mentor Can Help Your Business – 4 p.m. EDT

Panelists from the SBA’s Office of Entrepreneurial Development, Small Business Development Centers, and Women’s Business Centers will hang out. Fran Tarkenton, NFL legend and entrepreneur will moderate.

Thursday, June 20:  How to Get a Business Loan – 4 p.m. EDT

Panelists from Wells Fargo, SCORE, SBA’s Office of Capital Access, and SBA loan recipient Ninkasi Brewing Company will hang out. Calvin Goings, SBA’s Region 10 Administrator, will moderate.

Every year since 1963, the U.S. Small Business Administration takes the opportunity to highlight through National Small Business Week the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from all 50 states and U.S. territories.  This year’s events will be held June 17-21, in Seattle, Dallas, St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. offering tips, tools and trainings for small businesses to start, succeed and grow.  In addition to in-person events, small business owners can participate in online-only panel discussions on hot topics like social media and business financing starting daily at 4pm ET. All events, in-person and online, will be streamed live on www.sba.gov/smallbusinessweek. Also visit this site for a full schedule of events and additional information. The event hashtag is #SBW2013.

Small Business Week 2013 sponsors include: Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Microsoft, National Association of the Self Employed (NASE), Arlington Texas Chamber of Commerce, AT&T, ADP, Western Pennsylvania Small Business Network, Staples, Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp., Visa, Women Impacting Public Policy, Lockheed Martin, National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders, Business Forward and Office Depot.

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s participation in this cosponsored activity does not constitute an express or implied endorsement of any cosponsor’s, donor’s, grantee’s, contractor’s or participant’s opinions, products, or services. All SBA programs and cosponsored programs are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Reasonable arrangements for persons with disabilities will be made, if requested at least 2 weeks in advance, by contacting smallbusinessweek@sba.gov. Cosponsorship Authorization #SBW2013.

Release Number: 13-34
Contact: Terry Sutherland (202) 205-6919
Internet Address: http://www.sba.gov/news

New programs offer entrepreneurs options

By Harold Stanislawski

We’d like to make you aware of two programs, one proposed and one recently released by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. The programs will be implemented through the State Small Business Credit Initiative, which uses federal funding to stimulate private-sector lending and improve access to capital for small businesses and manufacturers that are creditworthy but not getting the loans they need to expand and create jobs.

Early Stage Fund

The state proposes to use $1 million in SSBCI funds to provide additional investment in early stage businesses throughout Minnesota. These investments would be made alongside angel investment groups and angel investors.

The Early Stage Fund is intended to help accelerate the growth of companies seeking angel investments; accelerate private capital investment in Minnesota companies; help position companies to attract additional, later stage investments; and provide angel investors additional capital to close investment rounds.

Eligibility for the funding is restricted to businesses with no more than 500 employees. Funds may be used for any business purpose, including, but not limited to: start-up costs, working capital, business procurement, franchise fees, equipment, inventory, as well as the purchase, construction, renovation, or tenant improvements of an eligible place of business. Projects that include passive real estate are only allowed on a limited basis as determined by U.S. Department of the Treasury guidelines. The maximum Early Stage Fund side-car contribution may be between $25,000 and $150,000.

Qualified investment entities accept applications on a rolling basis. Application forms and procedures vary by investor. Interest rates and terms are negotiated between borrower and investment entity. Businesses should apply with participating Investment Entities. DEED is notified of all investments approved to ensure that all program guidelines are followed.

There is currently a request for proposals issued to solicit investment entities for this program. Once the process is completed, a list of qualified investment entities will be provided.

Emerging Entrepreneurs Fund

The Emerging Entrepreneurs Fund primarily supports micro-enterprises and small businesses with fewer than 50 employees, targeting minority- and women-owned businesses and those located in economically distressed areas. Distressed areas are measured by population loss, higher than statewide average unemployment rate, and lower than statewide median household income.

EEF funds may be used for start-up costs, working capital, business procurement, franchise fees, equipment, inventory, as well as the purchase, construction renovation, or tenant improvements of an eligible place of business that is not for passive real estate investment. Projects that include passive real estate are only allowed on a limited basis as determined by U.S. Department of the Treasury guidelines. Financing of existing debt is not permitted. Funds may total up to $150,000 per loan and must be matched on at least a one-to-one basis. Participating lenders are encouraged to structure loan proposals to achieve at least a five-to-one leverage of program funds. Each qualified program lender has authority to determine interest rates and collateral requirements within program guidelines.

Qualified lenders accept applications on a rolling basis. Application forms and procedures vary by lender. Businesses should apply with participating lenders. DEED is notified of all loans approved to ensure that all program guidelines are followed.

It’s good to see programs for entrepreneurs being implemented and we encourage entrepreneurs to give these tools a closer look. Additional information about both programs is available at www.positivelyminnesota.com/ssbci.

Reprinted with permission. Originally appeared in Prairie Business Magazine.

Harold Stanislawski is the executive director of Fergus Falls Economic Improvement Commission. Contact him at 218-332-5428 or harold.stanislawski@ci.fergus-falls.mn.us.