Thursday, April 26, 2007

Senators Kerry and Snowe Press SBA for Action on Energy Program

Three weeks after pressing Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson re EPA's inadequate allocation of resources for its ENERGY STAR for Small Business program [see GoodBiz113's "Kerry, Snowe Seek Energy Star Details from EPA" post on April 9], Senators John Kerry [D-Mass.] and Olympia Snowe [R-Maine] are now looking to the U.S. Small Business Administration for answers regarding SBA’s implementation of a federally mandated energy efficiency program.

At a hearing last month, the assistant administrator for SBA's Office of Policy testified that, although the program was created as part of the Energy Policy Act in August 2005, the program has not been implemented by the Administration.

Following, is the text of Kerry-Snowe letter to SBA Administrator Steven Preston:

April 24, 2007

The Honorable Steven Preston
U.S. Small Business Administration
409 Third Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20416

Dear Administrator Preston,

As Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, we recently held a hearing to explore the ways in which small businesses can help to address the global warming crisis. We thank you for the testimony of Dan Horowitz, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Policy, on behalf of the Small Business Administration [SBA]. The purpose of this letter is to follow up on Mr. Horowitz’s testimony -- specifically, as it addressed the SBA’s responsibilities that were mandated by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 [EPAct].

The EPAct, which President George W. Bush signed into law on August 8, 2005, requires, inter alia, that the SBA, working with several other agencies, “shall develop a governmentwide program, building on the ENERGY STAR for Small Business program,” to assist small business with:
[A] Becoming more energy-efficient;
[B] Understanding the cost savings from improved energy efficiency;
[C] Understanding and accessing Federal procurement opportunities with regard to ENERGY STAR technologies and products; and
[D] Identifying financing options for energy-efficiency upgrades.

In addition, the SBA, as part of the outreach to small businesses under the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR for Small Business program, may enter into cooperative agreements with qualified partners to establish, maintain, and promote a “Small Business Energy Clearinghouse.” This Clearinghouse would provide a centralized resource where small businesses may access, telephonically and electronically, technical information and advice to help increase energy efficiency and reduce energy costs.

We are, frankly, concerned by the lack of progress SBA has made in implementing these requirements. Twenty months have passed since the EPAct was signed into law, and SBA appears to be nowhere close to satisfying these requirements.

Mr. Horowitz addressed the Administration’s efforts to implement this program, testifying that, although this program was not yet operational, “there are several people working on it,” and that the hearing “provided a catalyst for making [the program] a priority.” Mr. Horowitz also testified that the SBA would provide to the Committee a progress report on the four mandated requirements under the Energy Policy Act.

Small business is the engine that drives the American economy, employing half of all private-sector employees, producing half of the nation’s non-farm private gross domestic product, and creating nearly three-quarters of all net new jobs each year. Some estimates project that small businesses also use approximately half of all commercial and industrial energy in this country.

Despite these statistics, and despite Mr. Horowitz’s testimony to the contrary, there is little evidence that promoting energy efficiency for small businesses is a priority within the Administration. More than a month has passed since the date of the hearing, and the Committee has received none of the information that SBA promised to supply.

We request that you provide, within 30 days of receipt of this letter, an update on all of SBA’s small business requirements under the EPAct, including:
[1] Any and all resources required to implement the program, as well as whether additional appropriations are needed for SBA to effectively implement the EPAct requirements;
[2] Any and all staff that are dedicated to implementing and administering the Small Business Energy Clearinghouse; and
[3] A timeframe that details a schedule for completion of all SBA requirements under the EPAct.
We believe that the SBA can and must play a significant role in assisting small businesses to become more energy-efficient.

Thank you for your attention to our request. Should you have any questions about the substance of the hearing, please do not hesitate to contact us directly, or to contact Brian Rice [with Senator Kerry] at [202] 224-5175 or Alex Hecht [with Senator Snowe] at [202] 224-7884.


John F. Kerry

Olympia J. Snowe
Ranking Member

GoodBiz113's take: As champions of small business and the environment, we again commend Sen. Kerry and Sen. Snowe on their collaborative and persistent efforts to promote entrepreneurship and energy efficiency. Keep fighting the good, bipartisan fight!

For grass-roots information about how we can all help halt global warming, go to

Shop Solar and Rewewable Energy Items at!

Kerry, Snowe Call for Increased Investment in Small Business

Yesterday, John Kerry [D-Mass.] and Olympia Snowe [R-Maine], chairman and ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, respectively, introduced the Invest in Small Business Act of 2007. Its aim: To strengthen an existing tax incentive in order to promote innovation and entrepreneurship.

Set forth during the midst of National Small Business Week, this bipartisan bill recognizes the contributions of 25.8 million small businesses nationwide that pump $918 billion into the U.S. economy annually. It encourages private investment in small firms by making several key changes to section 1202 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

That section currently allows individual taxpayers to exclude 50 percent for capital gains from the sale of eligible small-business stock if they have held it for five years. Kerry and Snowe's proposed legislation increases the number of taxpayers who will be eligible for the exclusion, and makes it more attractive for investors to support small businesses by increasing the exclusion amount and decreasing the period they are required to hold the stock.

"Entrepreneurship is what keeps America on the cutting edge of technological innovation,” said Kerry. “Many of our largest and most successful corporations once started as small businesses with big ideas.

"Today, small businesses can repeat the role they played at the vanguard of the computer revolution by leading the nation in developing technologies to reduce carbon emissions and curb global climate change. America’s entrepreneurs are already are at the forefront of these industries, and we need to do everything we can to encourage investment in small businesses.”

“As the engine of our economy’s growth, it is vital that we help small businesses access the resources they need to expand, thrive and, most importantly, create jobs,” said Sen. Snowe [pictured above]. “By increasing the exclusion for small-business stock to 75 percent and taxing non-excluded proceeds at regular capital-gains rates, this legislation would take a critical step toward promoting investment in small businesses.

"In addition, by eliminating the tax on stock gains attributable to small businesses located in Empowerment Zones, this bill would help generate jobs in our nation’s most economically disadvantaged areas.”

Specifically, the Invest in Small Business Act of 2007 strengthens section 1202 provisions by:
* Increasing the exclusion from 50 percent to 75 percent;
* Decreasing the holding period from five to four years;
* Repealing the capital-gains exclusions as an AMT preference;
* Taxing the non-excluded portion of section 1202 gains at the regular capital-gains rate, which is currently 15 percent or 5 percent for individual taxpayers;
* Allowing corporations the benefits of section 1202 -- but, to be eligible, a corporation cannot hold more than 25 percent of the stock of a qualified small business;
* Providing a 100 percent exclusion for gains from the sale of small-business stock of corporations located in an Empowerment Zone; and
* Increasing the asset limitation from $50 million to $100 million.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

GoodBiz113 Issues Open Memo to Leaders of Congressional Small Business Committees

TO: Sen. John Kerry [D-Mass.], Chair, and Sen. Olympia Snowe [R-Maine], Ranking Member, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship; and Rep. Nydia Velazquez [D-N.Y.], Chair, and Rep. Steve Chabot [R-Ohio], Ranking Member, U.S. House Committee on Small Business

FROM: Kari Larson, Editor & Publisher, GoodBiz113

SUBJECT: Striving for Enforced Compliance, Accountability and Transparency

Last Friday, President George W. Bush praised America's small-business owners and employees, and proclaimed the week of April 22-28 as a time to recognize "their important role in ensuring that America remains the economic leader of the world."

The President's proclamation was issued on the eve of the U.S. Small Business Administration's observance of National Small Business Week in Washington, D.C. [April 23-24]. The two-day conference will focus on small-business accomplishments, including disaster recovery, federal contract procurement and entrepreneurial success. The celebration honors the nation's most outstanding entrepreneurs, and culminates with the selection of the National Small Business Person of the Year for 2007 from among the 53 state small-business winners, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.

"The state and regional winners who will be a part of this event personify the entrepreneurial spirit that is vital to the growth of the American economy," said SBA Administrator Steven C. Preston [pictured above]. "They are an innovative and diverse group involved in technology, manufacturing, retail, construction, professional services and a host of other industries. We are proud to have them here in Washington, and we are proud to have helped many of them achieve their business success."

View from the Small-Biz Bunker
On the face of things, that's all good. However, it's not unlike watching this weekend's Zurich Classic of New Orleans on TV, then assuming that restoration of the PGA TOUR's lush TPC Louisiana golf course reflects widespread Gulf Coast disaster-recovery efforts in the 19-month wake of Hurricane Katrina. A wide-angle look reveals some major divots in the small-biz realm.

Current small-business set-aside and subcontracting Federal Acquisition Regulations [FAR] are well-intended to engage small businesses in the potentially lucrative realm of government contracting. Unfortunately, actual enforcement of FAR standards leaves a lot to be desired in order to level the playing field for small-business owners, entrepreneurs and their employees -- "the lifeblood of cities and towns across the country," declared President Bush.

Compliance Begins With Education
As with most issues, education is key. Since registering as a woman-owned small business 10 years ago, I've found that some decision-makers in several federally funded entities -- e.g., prime contractors, public agencies, land-grant educational institutions -- are totally unaware of their organization's responsibilities to procure business from small businesses and enterprises owned by minorities, women, veterans and socially disadvantaged populations. In too many cases, even the procurement directors and/or designated small-business liaison officers [SBLOs] neither knew, nor seemed to care, that they're contractually obligated to engage small businesses.

Proposed solution: Remind all federally supported agencies, companies and organizations that they need to comply with FAR set-aside and subcontracting standards, lest their funding be drastically reduced or cut off completely. Encourage each entity to fully educate managers of their procurement requirements -- perhaps by using a carrot-and-stick approach that rewards them for complying; e.g., the University of Minnesota's AIR [Awards Incentive & Recognition] Program, which kicks off July 1, 2007.

While you're at it, please remind DoD's Procurement Technical Assistance Center [PTAC] directors that they're funded to provide free or low-cost counseling to small-business owners wading into the federal contracting waters -- especially, via the General Services Administration [GSA], that convoluted, quasi-public behemoth conceived to somehow streamline the federal procurement process.

[FYI: I met one clever counselor who worked part-time for PTAC, earning all the accompanying benefits for himself and his family, a steady paycheck, etc. He also ran his own small-business consulting enterprise that charged folks -- mostly, his PTAC clients -- $14,000-plus to prepare the 300-page GSA schedules that he strongly suggested they complete in order to help land federal contracts. Legal? I guess. Ethical? You decide.]

Hold All Funded Entities Accountable -- and Do So Transparently
As of this writing, the total U.S. cost of the invasion of Iraq approaches $420 billion. That money has to come from somewhere, and federal agencies are duking it out for their share of the financial pie. Meanwhile, companies large and small are competing for federal contracts. Too often, it seems, one can't discern how federal contracting funds are actually spent.

Proposed solution: Require that all federally funded entities -- including agencies -- publish accounts of exactly how dollars are spent, and make those frequently updated reports easily accessible by virtually anyone via the Internet.

Last year, after noticing that an agency -- one that had previously done a consistent job of communicating with its small-business vendors, their stakeholders, etc. -- hadn't published anything, online or off, in months. Deducing a possible opportunity for my seasoned communications expertise, I queried the agency's Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization [OSDBU] director. He informed me that he'd retained a small agency to do the work -- two months prior to my call.

Suffice to say, about one or two months later, that OSDBU director left his post [as did the agency's secretary], and no deliverables ever manifested. Further, as much as the new, interim OSDBU director wanted to engage my services, he couldn't, because the creative-services agency commissioned by his predecessor had sapped the communications budget.

In another instance, I had occasion to discuss my concerns about contracting practices with a U.S. Senate legislative assistant. When I asked him about discerning exactly how, if at all, defense contractors, agencies, etc., were fully complying with FAR small-business standards, he replied that it would be impossible to do without subpoenas for each entity.

Allocation of public dollars should be public information. During National Small Business Week, we celebrate the far-reaching contributions of America's 25.8 million small businesses that generally create 60 to 80 percent of the net new jobs, and contribute $918 billion to the U.S. economy. It would greatly benefit all concerned if your committees announced an initiative to enforce full compliance, accountability and transparency regarding FAR's small-business set-aside and subcontracting standards.

Sources: U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Census Bureau

Monday, April 09, 2007

Kerry, Snowe Seek Energy Star Details from EPA

Last month, an official from the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship that current resources for the government's ENERGY STAR Small Business program amount to just two percent of the overall Energy Star budget, and include the equivalent of just two staff members.

On April 3, Senators John Kerry [D-Mass.] and Olympia Snowe [R-Maine] pushed the head of the EPA for details on the program -- including the specific steps the Bush Administration has taken to assist small businesses in addressing the climate-change crisis.

In a letter to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, Kerry and Snowe called for more resources to be directed to the program, in light of estimates that small businesses use approximately half of all the commercial energy in the United States. Following, is the text of their letter to the EPA:

Dear Administrator Johnson,

As Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, we recently held a hearing to explore ways in which small businesses can help to address the global warming crisis. We thank you for the testimony of Bill Wehrum, Acting Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency ['EPA']. Mr. Wehrum addressed the Administration’s efforts to assist small businesses in becoming more energy efficient through programs such as Energy Star.

We are impressed that the ENERGY STAR program helped Americans save $12 billion on their energy bills in 2005, while avoiding greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of 23 million vehicles. However, we believe that the ENERGY STAR program can pay even greater dividends if funded adequately and administered effectively to meet the needs of America’s 25 million small businesses.

For example, during the hearing, Mr. Wehrum testified that the EPA spends 'about $1 million a year' on its small business program. If true, this represents approximately two percent of the EPA’s budget for the Energy Star program. In addition, we are also troubled that, according to Mr. Wehrum, EPA currently is committed to staffing 'the equivalent of two employees' who are dedicated to ENERGY STAR’s Small Business program.

Small business is the engine that drives the American economy, employing half of all private sector employees, producing half of the nation’s non-farm private gross domestic product, and creating nearly three-quarters of all net new jobs each year. Some estimates project that small businesses also use approximately half of all commercial and industrial energy in this country.

Christopher Lynch, the Director of the Environmental Management Assistance Program for the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers, testified that small businesses can realistically implement measures to save between twenty and thirty percent of energy usage annually. Across the country, this would translate into reductions in carbon dioxide emissions of between 93 and 140 million tons per year, while potentially realizing an estimated combined savings for small businesses of up to $18 billion in annual energy costs.

The pennies saved on 25 million energy bills add up quickly -- but only if the small business owners paying those bills are encouraged to act. We believe that the time has come for small business to play a leading role in combating climate change and reducing our carbon footprint in the future.

To achieve these results, the Administration must play an active role in providing small businesses with the technical assistance and resources necessary to improve energy efficiency. We believe that a staff of just two employees and a bare-bones budget of $1 million is not an adequate commitment to America’s small businesses or to the nation’s fight against global warming.

We request that you provide the following within 30 days of receipt of this letter:
[1] A five-year history of EPA’s budget for the overall ENERGY STAR program, as well as for the Energy Star Small Business program;
[2] A detailed description of the services provided by the staff designated to administer the ENERGY STAR Small Business program, as well as a five-year history of staffing allocations for this program, specifying the identities of any and all EPA employees dedicated to the ENERGY STAR Small Business program; and
[3] Detailed estimates, broken down into readily understood terms, of overall energy use by U.S. small businesses, and of the potential savings that are possible through energy efficiency improvements by small businesses.

In conclusion, we believe that EPA’s ENERGY STAR for Small Business program deserves the full attention and support of a Federal government that believes small businesses can make a difference in the fight to stop global warming and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Thank you for your attention to our request. Should you have any questions about the substance of the hearing, please do not hesitate to contact us directly, or to contact our staff.


John F. Kerry

Olympia J. Snowe
Ranking Member

GoodBiz113's take: We applaud Sen. Kerry's and Sen. Snowe's bipartisan leadership in holding the Bush Administration, EPA and small businesses accountable for stopping global warming. We all need to do our fair share, and their efforts are significant first steps toward making that happen.

To learn about grass-roots efforts to help halt the climate-change crisis, go to

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Taste of the NFL to Present $200,000 Check to Daily Bread Food Bank of South Florida

Note: This is a follow-up to the story that GoodBiz113 reported about Twin Cities restaurateur Wayne Kostroski's ingenuity and energy behind Taste of the NFL®, which he initially served up for Super Bowl XXVI, held in Minneapolis in 1992. [See Jan. 29 post, "Cuisine Concepts at Heart of Taste of the NFL -- AKA 'Super Bowl Party With a Purpose' -- to Tackle Hunger in America."]

On Wednesday, April 11, 2007, Taste of the NFL -- Super Bowl Party...With a Purpose® will proudly present a check to the Daily Bread Food Bank of South Florida, an affiliate of America's Second Harvest -- The Nation's Food Bank Network. The amount: $200,000-plus, which represents total proceeds [e.g., sales from tickets, auction items, merchandise] from this year's Taste of the NFL XVI.

The check presentation will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Broward County Convention Center [1950 Eisenhower Blvd., Fort Lauderdale], which hosted February's Super Bowl Eve gala.

Among those expected at the event: Wayne Kostroski, TNFL founder and executive director; Nicki E. Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau; Judith Gatti, executive director of Daily Bread Food Bank; and Chef Jamie MacDonald, executive chef of the Broward County Convention Center. Local officials and representatives of key sponsors will also be present.

The Daily Bread Food Bank provides food to 800 different charitable feeding programs throughout Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe Counties. For every $1 the Daily Bread Food Bank spends, food for six meals, or nine pounds of food, is provided.

This year, with TNFL's assistance, the Daily Bread Food Bank was able to capture 85,000 pounds of unused food from Super Bowl-related events and redistribute it to the less fortunate -- e.g, needy children, working poor, people who are physically or mentally ill or challenged, single mothers, homeless individuals and families, senior citizens, persons living with HIV/AIDS.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Before Spring Recess, U.S. Senate Committee Takes Bold, Bipartisan Steps on Behalf of Small Businesses

Before adjourning last Friday for a one-week spring vacation, the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship had taken bold, bipartisan steps to help small-business owners grow and, in some cases, recover their enterprises.

Kerry, Snowe Add Nearly $100 Million to SBA Budget
On March 23, Senators John Kerry [D-Mass.] and Olympia J. Snowe [R-Maine] -- the committee's chairman and ranking member, respectively -- secured $97 million above President Bush’s FY 2008 budget request for the Small Business Administration [SBA].

The Kerry-Snowe amendment to the Congressional Budget Resolution, cosponsored by Senators Joe Lieberman [I-D-Conn.], Mike Enzi [R-Wyo.], Maria Cantwell [D-Wash.], and Mark Pryor [D-Ark.], unanimously passed the Senate. Representing a 21% increase over the Administration’s proposal of $464 million, the amendment increases funding for:
* Veterans Programs to $2 million [from $743,000 in President Bush’s budget request];
* 7[j] Technical Assistance Program to $3 million [from $1.5 million];
* Small Business Development Centers to $110 million [from $87 million];
* SCORE Program to $7 million [from $4.95 million];
* Women’s Business Centers to $16.5 million [from $11.9 million];
* Native American Outreach to $2 million [from $772,000];
* U.S. Export Assistance Centers to $7 million [from $5.2 million];
* Microloan Technical Assistance to $20 million [the President’s budget proposal sought to eliminate this program];
* Microloans to $3.2 million [from zero];
* Program for the Investment in Microentrepreneurs to $5 million [the President’s budget proposal sought to eliminate this program];
* Hiring 100 Procurement Center Representatives [oversee federal contracting] to $10 million [from $900,000];
* New Markets Venture Capital to $5 million [from zero];
* New Markets Technical Assistance to $5 million [from zero];
* HUBZones to $10 million [from $2 million]; and
* Small Business Innovation Research [SBIR] outreach programs to $6 million [from zero]

“Small-business programs have been on a starvation diet for too many years and we’re trying to reverse that,” said Kerry. “I am pleased to have worked across the aisle with Sen. Snowe to restore funding to small-business programs that are critical to helping America’s entrepreneurs succeed. Our amendment demonstrates our commitment to expanding business opportunities in all sectors of our society -- especially for minorities, women and veterans.”

“In Maine and across this country, small businesses are the backbone of our economy," Snowe noted. "Working together with my good friend Sen. Kerry, we have shaped a bipartisan measure that specifically strengthens the ability of minority, women, and veteran-owned small businesses to compete, succeed and create jobs for our families and future generations of Americans."

Bill to Overhaul Disaster Loan Program Clears Committee
In 2005, in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the government's Disaster Loan Program was mismanaged and ineffective. Although some improvements have been made to the program over the last six months, the Administration requires additional tools to be able to swiftly and effectively respond in the aftermath of a disaster.

Last Thursday, the comprehensive legislation -- sponsored by Senators Kerry, Snowe, Mary Landrieu [D-La.], and David Vitter [R-La.] -- that passed Kerry's committee will improve the government’s loan program and ensure disaster victims receive timely assistance.

“Hurricanes Katrina and Rita impacted 125,000 small and medium-sized businesses Gulfwide, and in Louisiana alone, more than 18,000 businesses were totally destroyed," said Landrieu. "The federal government has an important role in helping businesses get back on their feet. This bill provides significant reforms to ensure that SBA is better prepared to deal with future disasters, be they natural or manmade."

Her Louisiana colleague agreed. “Small businesses are the backbone of Louisiana’s economy, and this legislation provides critical improvements in the SBA’s ability to provide timely assistance,” Vitter noted. “Specifically, I believe the Private Disaster Loan program, which allows banks to make SBA-guaranteed loans directly to victims, is needed to streamline the recovery process and quickly get our small businesses back on their feet.”

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, over 125,000 businesses were disrupted by hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. In Louisiana alone, more than 81,000 small businesses were damaged or economically impacted, with 18,000 businesses catastrophically destroyed by the storms.

For example, in St. Bernard Parish, one of the Louisiana parishes hardest-hit by Hurricane Katrina, only 370 businesses have reopened – far below the total of 1,400 businesses in operation there before Katrina. In addition, according to state statistics, only 38% of the pre-Katrina population has returned to the parish.

The House Small Business Committee passed legislation earlier last month to improve the Disaster Loan Program. Now, both bills are headed to consideration by the full Senate and House.

Kerry-Hagel Amendment Improves Reservist Loan Program in Supplemental Bill
The U.S. Senate unanimously adopted an amendment authored by Kerry and Sen. Chuck Hagel [R-Neb.] that will improve a loan program for reservists who face economic hardship after a deployment. Included in the emergency supplemental appropriations bill, which cleared the Senate last Thursday, the measure gives reservists up to one year to apply for a Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan after they return from active duty and allows reservists to apply for low-interest loans before they are deployed.

"We shouldn’t just say thank-you to the men and women who fought to protect this country; we should show them we’re grateful and help them get back on their feet,” said Kerry. “This provision is a key step towards addressing the financial sacrifice being made by many reservists and their families, and the economic struggle they face when they return home.”

"The men and women of our armed forces perform the ultimate job of protecting this country," said Hagel. "It is our obligation to provide these men and women with ample opportunities when seeking civilian employment. This provision would improve opportunities for reservists to establish and maintain successful small businesses."

The Kerry-Hagel amendment:
* Extends from 90 days to one year from the date of discharge the deadline for a reservist-dependent small business to apply for a loan;
* Directs the SBA to create a pre-consideration process for reservist-dependent small businesses, so that they can receive loans immediately upon the reservist being called to active duty;
* Establishes a coordinated, proactive marketing plan to be conducted by the SBA, the Veterans Administration and the Department of Defense to more effectively get information in the hands of reservists and their families; and
* Requires the SBA to report back to the Small Business Committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives on the status of this program, as well as additional steps that may be taken to improve it.

Since 2002, fewer than 300 loans have been made through this program to reservist-dependent businesses, despite increasing numbers of reservists being deployed. The Kerry-Hagel amendment is also a provision in legislation they introduced last Wednesday to expand veteran and reservist entrepreneurship.

The Military Reservist and Veteran Small Business Reauthorization Act [S. 1005] would expand loan programs for veterans and reservists, and create a grant program for reservist-dependent firms that are unable to take on additional debt contingent upon the business providing a viable business plan. For more information on S. 1005, please visit:\u003d271489.

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