Thursday, April 28, 2011

SBA Approves First Six Lenders to Start Making Community Advantage Loans to Small-Business Borrowers

The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved an initial group of six community-based, mission-focused lenders to start accepting and processing Community Advantage loan applications from small-business borrowers immediately, the agency announced today.

The new Community Advantage pilot program was announced by SBA in December, and is designed to expand access to lower-dollar loans and lending in traditionally underserved communities.

SBA and U.S. Department of Commerce studies have shown the importance of lower-dollar loans to small-business formation and growth in underserved communities. Even though SBA loans are three to five times more likely to go to women and minority-owned small businesses, underserved communities were hit disproportionately hard by the recession.

The pilot is specifically aimed at expanding points of access to capital for small-business owners by opening SBA’s 7[a] loan program to community-based, mission-focused financial institutions -- including Community Development Financial Institutions, SBA’s Certified Development Companies, and SBA’s nonprofit microlending intermediaries. Community Advantage leverages the experience these institutions already have in lending in economically challenged markets, along with their management and technical-assistance expertise to help make their borrowers successful.

"Working with these community-based, mission-focused lenders will greatly enhance our ability to bring much-needed financial backing to small businesses in underserved communities, which include minority-, women- and veteran-owned, as well as rural, businesses," said SBA Administrator Karen Mills [pictured]. "These businesses are among the hardest-hit by the recent economic downturn, and helping them to recover, expand and create jobs will strengthen both their local, and our nation’s, economy."

SBA began accepting applications from lenders on Feb. 15. The first Community Advantage approved lenders are:
* Central Texas CDC [CTCDC] dba BCL of Texas -- Austin, Tex.
* The Progress Fund -- Greensburg, Penn.
* Eastern Maine Development Corporation -- Bangor, Me.
* Idaho-Nevada Community Development Financial Institution -- Pocatello, Id.
* Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation -- London, Ken.
* CDC Small Business Finance -- San Diego, Cal.

These lenders may begin making Community Advantage loans immediately. SBA will continue approving lenders on a rolling basis.

Expanding opportunities for entrepreneurs and small-business owners in underserved communities is core to SBA’s mission. As a result, all of SBA’s programs are having an impact in underserved communities.

In addition to the Community Advantage pilot program, in December, SBA announced the new Small Loan Advantage, which is open to the agency’s 630 existing Preferred Lenders.

Both Community Advantage and Small Loan Advantage offer a streamlined application process for SBA-guaranteed 7[a] loans up to $250,000. Advantage loans will come with the regular 7[a] government guarantee -- i.e., 85 percent for loans up to $150,000; and 75 percent for those loans greater than $150,000.

SOURCE: U.S. Small Business Administration

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SBA, FEMA Provide Assistance to People Impacted by Disasters in Southeastern U.S.

This morning, CBS News reports that nearly 200 people have died in tornadoes and severe storms that ravaged six states in the Southeast last night. Our thoughts go out to their loved ones, survivors, search-and-rescue teams, as well as federal, state and local officials dealing with the aftermath of this latest deadly string of disasters that's devastated countless individuals, families, businesses, organizations and communities in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia.

Over the years, GoodBiz113 has posted info about disaster-related resources. Here's a handy overview of what the U.S. Small Business Administration [SBA] and Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] offer.

SBA Offers Low-Interest Disaster Loans
SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and to private, nonprofit organizations to repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery, equipment, inventory and business assets that have been damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster.

For complete information about financing available through the SBA's Office of Disaster Assistance, go to:

FEMA Provides Tornado Preparedness and Disaster Response Online Resources
In addition, FEMA has a wealth of tornado preparedness and disaster response resources available online:

* --

* Help Others Impacted by Disasters -- [FEMA Donations page]

* Ready Tornado Preparedness --

* What to Do Before, During and After a Tornado --

* Ready Evacuation Plan --

SOURCES: Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA News [file photo by David Fine], U.S. Small Business Administration

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

George Rodrigue's Latest Painting Celebrates Modern Culture, Statewide Tour and Blockbuster Exhibition at Louisiana State University Museum of Art

This just in: GoodBiz113 profilee George Rodrigue ["Louisiana Artist Brings Post-Katrina [Blue Dog] Relief to New Orleans"] has released his latest work, Blue Dogs and Cajuns on the River 2011 [pictured above].

Measuring 48x72 inches, the painting is part of a blockbuster show at the Louisiana State University Museum of Art, located in the Shaw Center for the Arts in Baton Rouge. Silkscreen prints, measuring 26x38 inches, are available in a signed and numbered edition of 450 priced at $1,500 each. For ordering info, go to:

"Unlike the black bayous and dark trees of my early Cajun paintings, I use color here to reflect a modern Louisiana," notes Rodrigue. "In the art world, the use of color -- especially flat, bright color -- is modern, in the Pop Art vein. I contrast those colors with the dog -- the only thing that is blended and painterly -- making both the dog and overall composition more important...

"The river in this painting represents our cultural history. The waterways of Louisiana were the early highways of its inhabitants. We had no roads; we just had the water. They were the natural fairways for commerce, development, and everything necessary for settlers to expand."

For an insightful, behind-the-scenes account of the painting and exhibition, read the latest post on "Musings of an Artist's Wife," Wendy Rodrigue's blog:

Oh, and to catch up on the latest developments regarding the dynamic George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts: Youth Development Through Art in Education, go to:


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Monday, April 25, 2011

April 28: Free DOE Webinar Focuses on Calculating Loads for Heating and Cooling

The U.S. Department of Energy's [DOE's] Building Technologies Program [BTP] is offering a webinar on Thursday, April 28, 2011, from 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon Eastern, titled "Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning [HVAC] Right-Sizing -- Part 1: Calculating Loads."

Register now to attend this free webinar:

Calculating energy requirements for heating and cooling a home is the first critical step in the design process for correctly sizing the HVAC system. Designers use models of electrical loads to help them select the optimal equipment and duct designs to deliver the appropriate volume of conditioned air to rooms of the home.

This webinar, presented by IBACOS -- one of DOE’s Building America research teams -- will highlight the key criteria required to accurately calculate heating and cooling loads. During the webinar, experts will also discuss current industry rules of thumb, perceptions, and barriers to correctly sizing HVAC systems.

Target audiences include residential builders and HVAC design firms, contractors, installers, manufacturers, and distributors.

Learn more about the webinar:

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy [EERE]

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Seize These Great Last-Minute Opportunities for the 2011 Department of Energy Small Business Conference & Expo -- Before They Expire

The 12th Annual U.S. Department of Energy [DOE] Small Business Conference & Expo is less than a month away. Whether you've been a small-business owner for a decade or a day, DOE invites you to join them at the Kansas City Convention Center from May 10-12, 2011, for a conference packed with keynotes, workshops, business matchmaking, and a very busy Expo.

The conference is right around the corner, and there are great opportunities which are about to expire. Take a moment now to:

* Register for the conference. Regular registration rates will expire on May 8, 2011. Registering now will save you $50 on the registration cost.

* Purchase an Expo Visitor Pass. If you cannot attend the entire conference, an Expo Visitor Pass will allow you to target the exhibitors and sponsors with whom you want to speak.

* Reserve an exhibitor booth. Only a few exhibitor booths remain. Get yours today if you are planning to exhibit -- before they're all sold out.

* Share your voice. Submit a 30-second video clip on how small business has affected your community.

* Sign up for business matchmaking sessions as a buyer or supplier. Visit the site to check out the buyers who have signed up, and the featured buyer categories.

For more information on the 12th Annual U.S. Department of Energy Small Business Conference & Expo in Kansas City, Mo., visit; or, call 877-837-8623.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Economic Impact & Diversity

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Intuit to Support Entrepreneurs Via $37 Million Commitment to Startup America Partnership

GoodBiz113 ad partner Intuit Inc. [Nasdaq: INTU] will commit to investing $37 million in products and services to promote high-growth entrepreneurship across the country, in partnership with President Obama's Startup America initiative.

Intuit's commitments include special offers and pricing over a three-year period for the company's flagship products and services -- including QuickBooks Online, Intuit Payroll Services, QuickBooks Merchant Services and Intuit Websites -- which will become available to Startup America Partnership member companies.

Intuit will also look to add other offerings, and tap into the expertise of its ecosystem of accounting professionals and banks, credit unions and other financial institutions.

The partnership announcement from Intuit and a number of other Silicon Valley technology firms comes in conjunction with a series of events being held today at Facebook's headquarters in Palo Alto, Cal., to support entrepreneurs and small business.

Today's events include:
* A Shared Responsibility and Shared Prosperity Town Hall at 1:45 p.m. Pacific time, at which Obama will speak;
* A Startup America panel discussion immediately following the Town Hall at approximately 4:00 p.m.; and
* A Women in Technology roundtable, moderated by White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett.

Organizers expect approximately 1,000 entrepreneurs and Facebook employees to attend the events, which can be seen on Facebook's livestreaming platform, Facebook Live at

"Entrepreneurs and small businesses play a major role in the economic recovery," said Kiran Patel [pictured], executive vice president and general manager at Intuit. "We are pleased that supporting and celebrating entrepreneurs is a major priority for President Obama's economic strategy, and are happy to contribute to this partnership. With millions of small-business owners trusting us to help run their businesses, it's our responsibility to play an active role in this collective effort to spark new job growth."

Small businesses have had a significant effect on the economy for more than a quarter-century.

"Young businesses have created 40 million jobs during the past 25 years, and the need to create a strong ecosystem for startups in our country is more paramount than ever," said Scott Case, CEO of the Startup America Partnership. "These new partnerships will go a long way toward ensuring that start-ups have every chance to succeed."

The commitments from Intuit and other firms will help companies at varying levels of the new business life cycle. This ranges from those just getting started to those in an initial growth phase, plus others with significant staff and revenue growth. In the coming weeks, the Startup America Partnership will introduce a new, free membership program that will allow young companies to apply for resources to help them grow.

Further information about the Startup America Partnership and a full list of partner commitments is available at the organization's new website at The partnership can also be found at and

About Intuit Inc.
Intuit Inc. is a leading provider of business and financial management solutions for small and mid-sized businesses; financial institutions, including banks and credit unions; consumers; and accounting professionals. Its flagship products and services -- including QuickBooks®, Quicken® and TurboTax® -- simplify small-business management and payroll processing, personal finance, and tax preparation and filing.

ProSeries® and Lacerte® are Intuit's leading tax preparation offerings for professional accountants. Intuit Financial Services helps banks and credit unions grow by providing on-demand solutions and services that make it easier for consumers and businesses to manage their money.

Founded in 1983, Intuit had annual revenue of $3.5 billion in its fiscal year 2010. The company has approximately 7,700 employees with major offices in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, India and other locations. More information can be found at

Quick Links
* Intuit Small Business Blog:
* Intuit Small Business on Twitter:
* Intuit Small Business on Facebook:

SOURCES: Intuit Inc., Startup America Partnership, The White House

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

In New SBA-ADP ‘America’s Best’ Video Series, Six Successful Entrepreneurs Share Keys to Success

A new video series launched today by the U.S. Small Business Administration and ADP® offers insight into the story behind the story of six successful American companies. Featuring the individuals who built their businesses from an idea to become industry leaders, the "America’s Best" series shares keys to success, best practices and lessons learned for today’s entrepreneurs.

"With this series, SBA and our partner, ADP, offer current and potential entrepreneurs a chance to hear from the people who built their big ideas into some of America’s most successful companies," said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. "These six people share their personal perspectives and insights into the challenges they faced, along with their failures and successes, while also offering an inspirational look at the resiliency behind America’s spirit of entrepreneurship."

The "America’s Best" video series is available online at and on The series was produced in partnership between SBA and ADP, a provider of human resource outsourcing, payroll services and benefits administration.

Told from the perspective of company founders and key executives, the "America’s Best" videos profile once-small U.S. businesses with remarkable stories of entrepreneurism, growth and success. They are part of the SBA’s ongoing effort to celebrate entrepreneurship and provide small-business owners and start-ups with relevant programs and resources to help them grow their businesses and create jobs.

"Throughout its history, SBA has provided critical support to tens of thousands of start-ups and small businesses," Mills noted. "This series highlights the stories of six of those firms, and shares best practices and lessons learned that can be helpful to other entrepreneurs and small-business owners who are working every day to grow their businesses and achieve their own piece of the American dream."

"Like the SBA, ADP has a long history of supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses with a proven record of helping businesses grow," said Regina Lee, ADP’s president of Small Business Services and Major Account Services. "ADP is proud to have worked closely with the SBA to make this series of educational videos available on the Web and to honor some truly remarkable business success stories.

"We join the SBA in saluting the accomplishments of these six businesses and the entrepreneurial spirit of the people behind them, and hope that these compelling and motivating videos will inspire and inform others on the path to similar success.”

Featured companies in the "America’s Best" video series include:

* Allen Edmonds Shoe Corporation, Port Washington, Wis. -- Established in 1922, Allen Edmonds operates 32 retail stores in 17 states, and is among a small minority of companies continuing to produce the majority of their shoes domestically. Between 1979 and 1989, Allen Edmonds received SBA-guaranteed 7[a] loans totaling $2,265,000.

* Cerner Corporation, Kansas City, Mo. -- In 1979, the three founders -- Neal Patterson, Cliff Illig and Paul Gorup -- sat around a picnic table and decided to create a company. Today, Cerner Corporation is an industry leader in medical system design. In 1983, Cerner received a $200,000 7[a] loan and an SBA-licensed SBIC financing of $630,000 in 1986.

* Columbia Sportswear Company, Portland, Ore. -- Rescued from near-bankruptcy, Gert Boyle [pictured] took over operations of Columbia, started by her parents, and turned it into a
$1 billion company. The business received an SBA-backed loan for $15,000 in 1970.

* The Gymboree Corporation, San Francisco, Cal. -- Joan Barnes created Gymboree in 1976 as a place where moms and their children could play and exercise. Since then, it has become a giant corporation that includes almost 600 Gymboree retail clothing stores and nearly 300 Gymboree Play & Music centers worldwide. Over the years, the corporation received investments totaling nearly $5 million from a SBA-licensed SBIC.

* Radio One Inc. [NASDAQ: ROIA], Lanham, Md. -- Among the largest African-American-owned and operated media corporations in the United States, Radio One was started by Catherine L. Hughes in 1980. Radio One owns and/or operates 53 radio stations located in 16 urban markets in the United States. The company received investments totaling $9.5 million from SBA-licensed SBICs in the late 1990s. Hughes also received an SBA-guaranteed 7[a] loan for $600,000 in 1980.

* Ruiz Foods, Dinuba, Cal. -- Founded in 1964, Ruiz Foods is the top seller of frozen Mexican dishes in the United States. Under the brand names of El Monterey and Tornados, it produces nearly 200 frozen Mexican foods. Ruiz Foods co-founder Fred Ruiz benefited from technical assistance through SBA-affiliated SCORE counselors and also received SBA-guaranteed 7[a] loans in 1977 and 1979 totaling $275,000.

About ADP
Automatic Data Processing, Inc. [NASDAQ: ADP], with nearly $9 billion in revenues and about 550,000 clients, is one of the world’s largest providers of business outsourcing solutions.

Leveraging over 60 years of experience, ADP offers a wide range of HR, payroll, tax and benefits administration solutions from a single source. ADP is also a leading provider of integrated computing solutions to auto, truck, motorcycle, marine and recreational vehicle dealers throughout the world.

For more information about ADP, visit the company's website at

About SBA
The U.S. Small Business Administration, established in 1953, provides financial, technical and management assistance to help Americans start, run, and grow their businesses. With a portfolio of direct and guaranteed business loans and disaster loans worth more than $80 billion, SBA is the nation’s largest single financial backer of small businesses.

Last year, SBA offered management and technical assistance to more than 1.1 million small business owners. SBA also plays a major role in the government's disaster relief efforts by making low-interest recovery loans to both homeowners and businesses.

SOURCES: Automatic Data Processing, Columbia Sportswear Company [photo], U.S. Small Business Administration

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Artist George Rodrigue to Receive Distinguished Eagle Scout Award on May 12

On May 12, 2011, the Boy Scouts of America will honor GoodBiz113 profilee George Rodrigue ["Louisiana Artist Brings Post-Katrina [Blue Dog] Relief to New Orleans"] with their highest honor: the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award.

Since established by the National Eagle Scout Association in 1969, just six Eagle Scouts from the New Orleans area have received this honor -- the last one 22 years ago, in 1989.

"It gave me a chance to meet professionals in various fields, because they had to sign off on my badges," said Rodrigue
as he stood before the Blue Dog sculpture on New Orleans' Veterans Boulevard at the press conference this week, about the impact scouting made on his life from the beginning -- particularly the pursuit of merit badges.

"I spent hours with firefighters, police officers, and even the local funeral home director," Rodrigue recalled. "One expert was a published historian who asked me, 'Do you know where the name New Iberia comes from?' I had never thought about the Spanish heritage of my hometown. I retained more about local history in that one afternoon than in 12 years of study at Catholic High."

For an insightful, behind-the-scenes account of this momentous occasion, read "Musings of an Artist's Wife," Wendy Rodrigue's blog:

Oh, and to catch up on the latest developments regarding the dynamic George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts: Youth Development Through Art in Education, go to:

SOURCES: Boy Scouts of America, Musings of An Artist's Wife, Rodrigue Studio, Wikipedia

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

President Obama, Vice President Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden Launch Joining Forces Initiative to Support Military Families

Yesterday, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden [pictured above, during official launch announcement] rolled out Joining Forces, an unprecedented national initiative to support and honor our military families.

"This campaign is about all of us, all of us joining together, as Americans, to give back to the extraordinary military families who serve and sacrifice so much, every day, so that we can live in freedom and security," said the First Lady.

Joining Forces aims to educate, challenge, and spark action from all sectors of our society -- citizens, communities, businesses, nonprofits, faith-based institutions, philanthropic organizations, and government -- to ensure that military families have the support that they have earned.

As part of Joining Forces, businesses and organizations -- including some of the best-known names and brands -- announced major new commitments to support military families in the areas of employment, education and public awareness.

To watch a video of the launch event, or read full remarks by President Obama, Vice President Biden, the First Lady and Dr. Biden, go here.

As the First Lady noted, "Our motto is simple: Everyone can do something."

Find out how you can get involved at

Resources for Veteran-Owned Small Businesses
To help do our part, GoodBiz113 offers up the following introductory list of resources available to current and would-be small businesses owned by veterans [VOSBs] and service-disabled veterans [SDVOSBs]:

* SBA/Office of Veterans Business Development

* SBA/Veteran-Owned and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses

* SBA/Express and Pilot Loan Programs

* SBA/Veterans Business Outreach Centers

* Veterans Affairs/Starting a Small Business

* Veterans Affairs/Doing Business With VA

* Veterans Affairs/Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization

* Veterans Affairs/ The Center for Veterans Enterprise Web Portal

SOURCES: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Small Business Administration, The White House [photo by Lawrence Jackson]

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Last-Minute Review of 2010 Tax Changes for Small Businesses

With just one week to go before this year's official tax filing date -- April 18 -- we at GoodBiz113 wanted to provide an overview of IRS tax changes for small-business owners and self-employed folks. If you haven't yet filed your 2010 tax return, pay heed to the following tax-law revisions. If you have filed your 2010 return and it doesn't reflect these changes, then amend it accordingly -- ASAP.

During 2010, new laws -- such as the Affordable Care Act and the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 [SBJA] -- created or expanded deductions and credits that small businesses and self-employed individuals should consider when completing their tax returns and making business decisions in 2011.

Health Insurance Deduction Reduces Self Employment Tax
With the enactment of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, self-employed taxpayers who pay their own health insurance costs can now reduce their net earnings from self-employment by these costs.

Previously, the self-employed health insurance deduction was allowed only for income tax purposes. For tax year 2010, self-employed taxpayers can also reduce their net earnings from self employment subject to SE taxes on Schedule SE by the amount of self-employed health insurance deduction claimed on line 29 on Form 1040.

Taxpayers can claim the self-employed health insurance deduction if the insurance plan is established under their business, and if either of the following are true:

* They were self-employed and had a net profit for the year; or

* They received wages from an S corporation, in which the taxpayer was a more-than-two-percent shareholder.

During tax year 2008 -- the most recent year for which data is available -- the self-employed health insurance deduction was claimed on 3.6 million tax returns, reducing taxpayers’ adjusted gross incomes by $21 billion.

Small Business Health Care Tax Credit
In general, the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit is available to small employers that pay at least half of the premiums for single health insurance coverage for their employees. It is specifically targeted to help small businesses and tax-exempt organizations that primarily employ moderate- and lower-income workers.

Small businesses can claim the credit for 2010 through 2013, and for any two years after that. For tax years 2010 to 2013, the maximum credit is 35 percent of premiums paid by eligible small businesses, and 25 percent of premiums paid by eligible tax-exempt organizations.

Beginning in 2014, the maximum tax credit will increase to 50 percent of premiums paid by eligible small business employers, and 35 percent of premiums paid by eligible tax-exempt organizations.

The maximum credit goes to smaller employers -- i.e., those with 10 or fewer full-time equivalent [FTE] employees -- paying annual average wages of $25,000 or less. The credit is completely phased out for employers that have 25 or more FTEs or that pay average wages of $50,000 or more per year. Because the eligibility rules are based in part on the number of FTEs, not the number of employees, employers that use part-time workers may qualify even if they employ more than 25 individuals.

Eligible small businesses will first use Form 8941 to figure the credit, and then include the amount of the credit as part of the general business credit on its income tax return.

The IRS has developed a page on devoted to this credit, with answers to frequently asked questions plus explanations of the credit through various tax scenarios.

General Business Credit for Employers
The general business credits of eligible small businesses in 2010 are not subject to alternative minimum tax. The new law allows general business credits to offset both regular income tax and alternative minimum tax of eligible small businesses as described in Section 2012 of the Small Business Jobs Act.

The provision is effective for any general business credits determined in the first taxable year beginning after Dec. 31, 2009, and to any carryback of such credits. For a list of the general business credits, see Form 3800.

Small Businesses Can Benefit from Higher Expensing/Depreciation Limits
For tax years beginning in 2010 and 2011, small businesses can expense up to $500,000 of the first $2 million of certain business property placed in service during the year.

In general, businesses can choose to treat the cost of certain property as an expense and deduct it in the year the property is placed in service instead of depreciating it over several years. This property is frequently referred to as section 179 property, after the relevant section in the Internal Revenue Code.

Section 179 property is property that you acquire by purchase for use in the active conduct of your trade or business, including:

* Tangible personal property.

* Other tangible property [except buildings and their structural components] used as:

1. An integral part of manufacturing, production, or extraction or of furnishing transportation, communications, electricity, gas, water, or sewage disposal services;

2. A research facility used in connection with any of the activities in [1] above; or

3. A facility used in connection with any of the activities in [1] above for the bulk storage of fungible commodities.

* Single-purpose agricultural [livestock] or horticultural structures.

* Storage facilities [except buildings and their structural components] used in connection with distributing petroleum or any primary product of petroleum.

* Off-the-shelf computer software.

Section 179 property generally does not include land, investment property [section 212 property], property used mainly outside the United States, property used mainly to furnish lodging, and air conditioning or heating units.

The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 increases the section 179 limitations on expensing of depreciable business assets for tax years beginning in 2010 and 2011, and expands temporarily the definition of section 179 property, for tax years beginning in 2010 and 2011, to include certain qualified real property a taxpayer elects to treat as section 179 property. Qualified real property means qualified leasehold improvement property, qualified restaurant property, and qualified retail improvement property.

The $500,000 amount provided under the new law is reduced, but not below zero, if the cost of all section 179 property placed in service by the taxpayer during the tax year exceeds $2 million.

For tax years beginning in 2012, the maximum amount is $125,000; before enactment of the 2010 tax relief legislation, it was set at $25,000.

Depreciation Limits on Business Vehicles
The total depreciation deduction -- including the section 179 expense deduction, and the 50 or 100 percent bonus depreciation -- you can take for a passenger automobile [that is not a truck or a van] you use in your business and first placed in service in 2010, is increased to $11,060. The maximum deduction you can take for a truck or van you use in your business and first placed in service in 2010, is increased to $11,160.

If you do not take any bonus depreciation for the passenger automobile, truck, or van you use in your business and first placed in service in 2010, the maximum deduction you can take for a passenger automobile is $3,060, and for a truck or van is $3,160.

50 or 100 Percent Bonus Depreciation
Generally, businesses can take a special depreciation allowance to recover part of the cost of qualified property placed in service during the tax year. The allowance applies only for the first year you place the property in service.

Businesses that acquire and place qualified property into service after Sept. 8, 2010, can now claim a depreciation allowance of 100 percent of the cost of the property. The property must be placed in service before Jan. 1, 2012 [Jan. 14, 2013, in the case of certain longer-lived and transportation property].

Businesses that acquire qualified property during 2010 on or before Sept. 8, 2010, can claim a depreciation allowance of 50 percent of the cost of the property. The property must be placed in service before Jan. 1, 2013 [Jan. 1, 2014, in the case of certain longer production period property and for certain aircraft].

The allowance is an additional deduction you can take after any section 179 deduction, and before you figure regular depreciation under MACRS for the year you place the property in service. The types of property that can be depreciated are described in the instructions to Form 4562.

Small Businesses to Use EFTPS for Deposits Beginning in 2011
The paper coupon system for Federal Tax Deposits will no longer be maintained by the Treasury Department after Dec. 31, 2010. Most businesses must now make deposits and pay federal taxes through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System [EFTPS].

Using EFTPS to make federal tax deposits provides substantial benefits to both taxpayers and the government. EFTPS users can make tax payments 24 hours a day, seven days a week from home or the office.

Deposits can be made online with a computer, or by telephone. EFTPS also significantly reduces payment-related errors that could result in a penalty.

The system helps taxpayers schedule dates to make payments -- even when they are out of town or on vacation when a payment is due. EFTPS business users can schedule payments up to 120 days in advance of the desired payment date.

Information on EFTPS -- including how to enroll -- can be found online, or by calling EFTPS Customer Service at 1-800-555-4477.

Some businesses paying a minimal amount of tax may make their payments with the related tax return, instead of using EFTPS. More details regarding taxes required to be deposited using EFTPS, dollar thresholds and other specific requirements are described on page 2 of IRS Publication 15, [Circular E] Employer's Tax Guide.

For "one-stop-shopping" small-biz tax info, go to the IRS Small Business and Self-Employed Filing Season Central:

If, for whatever reason, you're not able to file your tax return by midnight on Monday, April 18, then simply file Form 4868 to apply for an automatic extension. Doing so will allow you six additional months to file -- i.e., till midnight on Oct. 17, 2011.

SOURCE:, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Small Business Administration

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Thursday, April 07, 2011

Educational Videos by SBA, Inc. Magazine and AT&T Promote Exporting by U.S. Small Businesses

Small businesses seeking to grow their businesses and create jobs through exporting can turn to new, free educational videos created through a partnership between the U.S. Small Business Administration, Inc. Magazine and AT&T.

Through this public-private partnership, a series of online video modules has been developed to inspire and encourage American small businesses to actively pursue exporting, and to educate them on how to do so.

"Winning the future means supporting small businesses that want to grow and create jobs through exporting," said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. "SBA is very pleased to have partnered with Inc. Magazine and AT&T in the production and distribution of this video series, which will help small firms that are new to exporting, or looking for new markets, to sell their goods and services."

The "Take Your Business Global" video series features five main topics that guide small businesses through the process of exporting: Getting Started in Exporting; Planning for Export Success; Connecting with Foreign Buyers; Financing; plus five case studies of successful small-business exporters.

The videos begin with answers to the frequently asked question, "Why Export?" They feature SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns [pictured]; U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke; U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk; and a variety of small-business exporters.

Other modules feature exporting experts discussing how to take your business global. The videos are posted at

"Inc. is proud to work alongside the Small Business Administration and AT&T to provide entrepreneurs with a valuable resource in their efforts to expand their businesses overseas," said Bob LaPointe, Inc. president. "This video series will educate business owners about what to expect when they launch an international business.

“We have put together experienced small-business exporters, as well as officials from local and national resources, to provide a complete picture. Inc. is always happy to help small businesses grow."

"AT&T is excited to be part of this initiative, and to collaborate with the SBA and Inc. magazine," said Cathy Martine, AT&T Executive Vice President, Small Business Solutions.

"We believe U.S. small businesses are engines of innovation, and strongly encourage them to grow by thinking globally and taking advantage of technology," Martine added. "With the emergence of online commerce and digital communications, the potential to export products and services around the world has never been greater.”

Funding for this project was jointly provided by Inc. Magazine and AT&T. Also, Inc. Magazine created the site to host the videos. Both firms will distribute DVD copies of the videos and related materials approved by SBA, and promote the series in online and print advertising.

The joint program will be launched tomorrow [April 8] at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, site of the Inc. conference GROWCO, an event targeting growing small businesses.

The co-sponsorship agreements will remain in effect through Aug. 31, 2012.

GoodBiz113's Take
This is a prime example of public-private partnering at its finest. Hats off to SBA, Inc. Magazine and AT&T for developing this educational video series for small-business owners aiming to promote their goods and services around the globe.

SOURCE: U.S. Small Business Administration

Business Proposals: It’s All About Trust. ^AF

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Energy Secretary Chu Announces $112 Million in SunShot Initiative Projects to Advance Solar Photovoltaic Manufacturing Partnerships in U.S.

As part of the SunShot Initiative, U.S. Department of Energy [DOE] Secretary Steven Chu [pictured] yesterday announced the selection of up to $112.5 million in funding over five years, to support the development of advanced solar photovoltaic [PV]-related manufacturing processes throughout the United States.

DOE’s SunShot advanced manufacturing partnerships will help the solar power industry overcome technical barriers and reduce costs for PV installations, help the U.S. regain the lead in the global market for solar technologies, and provide support for clean-energy jobs for years to come.

This program is modeled, in part, on SEMATECH [Semiconductor Manufacturing TECHnology]. Faced with falling U.S. market share for the domestic semiconductor industry from 57 percent in 1982, to 38 percent in 1988, SEMATECH began working with domestic equipment suppliers to improve their capabilities.

As a result of SEMATECH’s work to solve common manufacturing problems by leveraging resources and sharing risks, within 10 years the domestic semiconductor industry had grown by 16 percent. Through this award, SEMATECH will now apply similar ingenuity to helping the U.S. recapture the lead in solar manufacturing.

"Expanding the U.S. solar energy industry is an important part of the Administration's goals to diversify our electricity supply, and rebuild America’s manufacturing base to create jobs now and in the future," said Secretary Chu. "The SunShot Initiative will not only keep the United States at the forefront in solar energy research and development, but will help us win the worldwide race to build a solar manufacturing industry that produces solar systems that are cost-competitive with fossil fuels."

Yesterday’s investments are part of DOE’s SunShot Initiative, which aims to reduce the total costs of photovoltaic solar energy systems by about 75 percent, so that they are cost-competitive at large scale with other forms of energy without subsidies by the end of the decade. Achieving this goal -- equivalent to approximately $1 a watt, or roughly 6 cents per kilowatt-hour for utility systems -- would allow solar energy systems to be broadly deployed across the country.

By engaging multiple companies across the PV supply chain, the SunShot advanced manufacturing partnerships program intends to have broad impact on the U.S. solar industry:

* Selected projects will create organizations designed to bring PV companies together in a coordinated environment to address common technology needs.

* The facilities established through these projects will provide services, tools and facilities to PV companies and suppliers -- to assist them in developing and demonstrating new technologies, and in making the transition to commercial production.

* The program will also link universities and national labs with PV cell, materials, and equipment suppliers to help speed the rate of innovation through coordinated and focused PV manufacturing development.

The selected industry-focused organizations will strongly leverage industry, state, and local funds, and are expected to achieve financial self-sufficiency after five years.

DOE Funding Fuels Coast-to-Coast Collaborations
Funding was made available for applicants in university and industry. Both topics consider collaborative research models to accelerate manufacturing-related technologies and provide maximum leverage to federal funding.

Following are the selected projects:

* Bay Area PV Consortium [Stanford, Cal.] -- $25 million for University-Focused Development
Bay Area PV Consortium [BAPVC] will fund industry-relevant research and development to impact high-volume PV manufacturing, using a competitive selection process open to all universities.

This project, managed by Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, will develop and test the innovative new materials, device structures, and fabrication processes necessary to achieve cost effective PV modules in high-volume production. The research will advance technologies that reduce manufacturing costs and improve device performance characteristics to help achieve SunShot’s price targets.

An industry board composed of representatives from PV companies will determine the specific topics for research and development to assure close alignment with industry and manufacturing needs.

* SVTC Technologies [San Jose, Cal.] -- $25 million for Industry-Focused Development
SVTC will create a fee-for-service PV manufacturing development facility [MDF] that will enable startups, materials suppliers, and other PV innovators to eliminate a major portion of their upfront capital and operating costs during product development and pilot production. This will potentially accelerate development and time to market by 12 to 15 months.

The MDF will focus on commercialization of silicon PV manufacturing processes and technologies, and aim to reduce the costs and development time for participating PV industry leaders to deliver innovative, emerging technologies from the laboratory to commercial manufacturing lines.

The MDF will support SunShot targets by strengthening and accelerating growth along the PV manufacturing industry’s entire supply chain by reducing the cost, time, and risk associated with commercialization.

* U.S. Photovoltaic Manufacturing Consortium [Albany, N.Y. and Palm Bay, Fla.] – $62.5 million for Industry-Focused Development
Managed by SEMATECH, the U.S. Photovoltaic Manufacturing Consortium [PVMC] will coordinate an industry-driven research-and-development initiative to accelerate the development, manufacturing and commercialization of next-generation copper indium gallium selenide [CIGS] thin-film PV manufacturing technologies, driving down the cost and risk of bringing them to the marketplace.

PVMC -- with its major partner, the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the State University of New York at Albany -- will establish manufacturing development facilities that PV companies and researchers can use for product prototyping, demonstration, and pilot-scale manufacturing to evaluate and validate CIGS thin-film and PV manufacturing technologies.

PVMC will also work with the University of Central Florida to develop cost-effective, in-line measurement and inspection tools to enable increased PV manufacturing yield.

In addition, PVMC will operate complementary programs to foster new PV technologies and firms, and to develop the U.S. PV workforce. The proposed project will use heavy industry leveraging funds for every $1 of DOE funding.

The SunShot program builds on the legacy of President John F. Kennedy's 1960s "moon shot" goal, which laid out a plan to regain the country's lead in the space race and land a man on the moon. The program will aggressively drive innovations in the ways that solar systems are conceived, designed, manufactured and installed.

For more information and to follow the SunShot Initiative's progress, visit the SunShot Initiative website:

GoodBiz113's Take
DOE's just-announced solar manufacturing partnerships will boost American competitiveness in the global solar energy industry and lower the cost of clean, renewable energy. Further, they'll promote entrepreneurship and generate much-needed jobs.

Chalk it up as yet another win-win-win-win endeavor by the Obama Administration -- one that holds far-reaching potential for decades to come.

SOURCES: NASA, U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy [EERE], Wikipedia
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Monday, April 04, 2011

SBA Offers Podcasts on Exporting for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

Interested in exporting your goods or services? The Small Business Administration [SBA] has several podcasts available to assist small and medium-sized companies.

Most SBA podcast topics range from marketing and sales, human resources, and the technology that you employ to keep your business functioning smoothly. If you want to expand your market to other countries, SBA currently offers seven podcasts focused on exporting:

* Intellectual Property Rights: Protecting and Enforcing Your IPR in Foreign Markets

* Where Will Your Next Customer Come From? Look Around the World

* Competing in the Global Market: SBA's International Trade Programs

* Exporting to Russia

* Exporting to Uganda

* Exporting to Bahrain

* Exporting to Cameroon

SBA's series of podcasts offer expert insight and guidance about running your business. To listen to them and/or download the transcripts, go to:

SOURCES:, U.S. Small Business Administration

Business Proposals: It's All About Trust.