Monday, January 31, 2011

White House Announces Startup America Partnership to Foster Innovative, High-Growth Firms Throughout U.S.

Today, as part of President Obama’s national strategy to stimulate economic growth and the creation of quality jobs, the White House announced the launch of the Startup America Partnership.

Chaired by Steve Case -- co-founder of AOL, CEO of Revolution LLC and chairman of the Case Foundation -- the Partnership will receive launch funding from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Case Foundation, and act as an independent private-sector alliance intended to dramatically increase the development, prevalence and success of innovative, high-growth U.S. firms. Carl Schramm [pictured], CEO of the Kauffman Foundation, will serve as a founding board member of the effort.

The Startup America Partnership will work closely with the White House to advance the goals of its Startup America initiative. The Partnership will bring together top entrepreneurs, startup firm funders, CEOs, university presidents, foundations and other leaders to help entrepreneurial companies start or grow. Partners -- including corporations, foundations, startup funders, CEOs and others -- will contribute funds to existing proven models, or develop new programs and efforts to help entrepreneurs.

"America's story has been forged in large part by entrepreneurs who have, against great odds, created innovative products and services that have changed the world -- and created millions of jobs," said Case. "Our nation once again looks to these creative risk-takers to unleash the next wave of American innovation, and I am pleased that President Obama has made supporting and celebrating entrepreneurs a major priority of his economic strategy. I am honored to chair the Startup America Partnership, and look forward to working with the White House to champion the creation of new startups, and help accelerate the growth of speedups."

"We are pleased to help lead this partnership," said Schramm. "At Kauffman, it is our mission to develop and fund programs to support entrepreneurs, and to help educate policymakers about the role that entrepreneurship and innovation play in our society. This partnership will bring together partners from across the private, public and nonprofit sectors, working together toward a common goal: supporting the entrepreneurs who are the lifeblood of our economy."

To Date, More Than a Dozen Firms and Organizations Have Joined the Startup America Partnership. They Include the Following Commitments:
* Increased corporate investment and support for startups from companies such as Intel, HP, IBM, Facebook and others, including:

Intel Capital will commit $200M of new investment in U.S. companies. Senior Intel leadership will also serve the Startup America Partnership and share best practices from years of successful programs designed to support Intel portfolio companies.

IBM will invest $150 million in 2011 to fund programs that promote entrepreneurs and new business opportunities in the U.S.

HP is investing more than $4 million in 2011 in the HP Learning Initiative for Entrepreneurs [HP LIFE], a global program launched in 2007 that uses educational and technology outreach aimed at helping entrepreneurs and small-business owners create and grow commercial opportunities.

>> As part of Facebook's ongoing commitment to encourage entrepreneurs, the company will launch Startup Days, a new series of 12 to 15 events around the country designed to provide entrepreneurs with access to expertise, resources and engineers to help accelerate their businesses.

* To foster entrepreneurship through higher education, as part of its overall $50 million commitment to entrepreneurship, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation has announced a $5 million expansion of the Blackstone LaunchPad program piloted at two Detroit colleges. Based on a model created by the University of Miami, LaunchPad will be replicated over the next five years in five other distressed regions around the country.

* The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship [NFTE], a nonprofit that provides entrepreneurship education for at-risk high-school students from low-income communities, is launching new programs supporting young entrepreneurs and their teachers. Ernst & Young LLP will honor NFTE youth entrepreneurs at regional Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award® galas across the country, bringing important attention to the next generation of young entrepreneurs. The Pearson Foundation is working with NFTE to build its Digital Teacher Network, a free online community for teacher collaboration and training that will be used not only by NFTE’s 5,000 certified teachers, but also by any educator interested in entrepreneurship. Google is sponsoring two new efforts in NFTE’s Bay Area programs: The Flat Classroom Exchange will allow local educators to team-teach the NFTE program in real time and leverage each teacher’s individual expertise, while the Makers Class project will integrate NFTE’s curriculum with invention and engineering lessons. New Markets Education Partners is providing NFTE with seed capital to launch in 2011 an interactive, online business planning course and social network connecting mentors, teachers, and students.

The Startup America Partnership Will Continue to Marshal Private-Sector Resources to Spur Entrepreneurship in the U.S., With a Focus on Three Key Areas:
* Acceleration and Scale: Replicate successful community-based entrepreneurship accelerator programs; encourage increase in experienced mentors to support startups; and encourage partnerships with large companies to serve as customers or funders of current firms.

* Education: Identify resources to help expand high-impact entrepreneurship education throughout the country.

* Commercialization: Increase the number of colleges and universities committed to commercialization outcomes, through efforts that include clearing the path to market for primary research; supporting the extension of successful accelerator programs; and spurring regional ecosystem development, faculty engagement, and streamlined technology licensing.

For more information about the Startup America Partnership and to see a full list of partner commitments, visit, and follow the Partnership on and

About the Kauffman Foundation
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that works to harness the power of entrepreneurship and innovation to grow economies and improve human welfare.

Through its research and other initiatives, the Kauffman Foundation aims to open young people's eyes to the possibility of entrepreneurship, promote entrepreneurship education, raise awareness of entrepreneurship-friendly policies, and find alternative pathways for the commercialization of new knowledge and technologies.

For more information, visit, follow the Foundation on and

About the Case Foundation
The Case Foundation, created by Steve and Jean Case in 1997, invests in people and ideas that can change the world -- with the ultimate goal of making giving back a part of everyday life.

The Foundation creates and supports initiatives that that leverage new technologies and entrepreneurial approaches to drive innovation in the social sector, and encourage individuals to get involved with the communities and causes they care about.

For more information, visit, and follow them at and

SOURCES: Case Foundation, Kauffman Foundation, Startup America Partnership

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sen. Reid Announces Small Business Committee Assignments for 112th Congress

Today, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D-Nev., pictured] released Small Business Committee assignments for the 112th Congress.

"I am looking forward to continuing to work with the members of this committee in the new Congress," said Sen. Mary L. Landrieu [D-La.], selected to continue in her role as committee chair.

"We have taken some extraordinary steps over the last two years to improve access to capital for small businesses," Landrieu noted, "to promote trade and exporting opportunities, and to ensure that small businesses receive their fair share of federal contracts.

"But our work is not finished. We have built the foundation for small businesses to lead our economic recovery and to create jobs. Now, it is time for us to strengthen those initiatives, so that our nation’s job creators can truly succeed in today’s competitive global marketplace."

Members of the Small Business Committee for the 112th Congress include Carl Levin [D-Mich.], Tom Harkin [D-Iowa], John Kerry [D-Mass.], Joseph Lieberman [ID-Conn.], Maria Cantwell [D-Wash.], Mark Pryor [D-Ark.], Benjamin Cardin [D-Md.], Jeanne Shaheen [D-N.H.], Kay Hagan [D-N.C.], Olympia Snowe [R-Maine], David Vitter [R-La.], Jim Risch [R-Idaho], Marco Rubio [R-Fla.], Rand Paul [R-Ky.], Kelly Ayotte [R-N.H.], Mike Enzi [R-Wyo.], Scott Brown [R-Mass.] and Jerry Moran [R-Kan].

SOURCES: Harry Reid: United State Senator for Nevada [photo], U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Verbatim: 'We Can Out-Compete Any Other Nation on Earth'

Periodically, GoodBiz113 puts its ear to the rail to listen to what politicos, pundits and others have recently said about small businesses and our integral role in growing the U.S. economy. Today -- just one day before President Obama's annual State of the Union address -- we share some select events and perspectives with you, our loyal readers.

* * *

"As we continue to get this economy back on track, I am encouraged by this Administration’s commitment to reduce the regulatory burdens businesses in America face on a daily basis. Every day, we hear from small businesses that are bogged down with unnecessary paperwork and outdated regulations.

"As chair of the Senate Small Business Committee, I am committed to reducing burdens America’s entrepreneurs face -- beginning with the full repeal of the Form 1099 reporting requirement set to take effect in 2012. I will continue working with the Administration to pinpoint problem areas in the federal regulatory process that hinder job creation and economic growth, and I applaud their efforts to make tackling this problem a priority." -- U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu [D-La.], applauding the efforts of the Obama Administration to reduce the regulatory burdens facing businesses in America -- particularly, small businesses [U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Jan. 18]

* * *

"Today's announcement reflects this Administration's commitment to promoting the development of advanced biofuels. Strong biofuels projects like Diamond Green Diesel can help to diversify our transportation fuel supply, while creating jobs and strengthening our economy." -- U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, announcing the offer of a conditional commitment to Diamond Green Diesel LLC -- the proposed joint venture between Valero Energy Corporation and Darling International Inc. -- for a $241 million loan guarantee.

This loan guarantee will support the construction of a 137,000,000-gallon-per-year renewable-diesel facility in Norco, La. -- located about 20 miles west of New Orleans. Valero Energy Corporation plans to direct the design, construction and operation of the project, and market all of its output, while Darling International Inc. will supply feedstock to the project.

The company estimates that the project will create 700 jobs during peak construction, and over 60 jobs during operation. The project will reduce greenhouse gases by more than 80 percent over conventional petroleum-based diesel, and is expected to nearly triple the amount of renewable diesel produced in the U.S.

In addition, the facility will fulfill almost 14 percent of a national mandate to boost production for biomass-based diesel. Approximately 95 percent of the project components are expected to be produced in the United States. [U.S. Department of Energy, Jan. 20]

* * *

"...In order to meet President Obama’s goals of a 28% reduction in federal greenhouse gas [GHG] pollution by 2020 and a net-zero-energy building requirement by 2030, GSA began sustainable construction and retrofit projects around the country, employing 500 businesses and creating jobs in all 50 states.

"Moving forward, all GSA construction projects will achieve at least a LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for GSA’s use of cutting-edge and sustainable design and technology..." -- General Services Administrator Martha N. Johnson, reporting on GSA's 2010 achievements [The White House Blog, Jan. 20]

* * *

"...Leading the world in innovation. Opening new markets to American products. That’s how we’ll create jobs today. That’s how we’ll make America more competitive tomorrow. And that’s how we’ll win the future...

"We’re living in a new and challenging time, in which technology has made competition easier and fiercer than ever before. Countries around the world are upping their game and giving their workers and companies every advantage possible.

"But that shouldn’t discourage us. Because I know we can win that competition. I know we can out-compete any other nation on Earth. We just have to make sure we’re doing everything we can to unlock the productivity of American workers, unleash the ingenuity of American businesses, and harness the dynamism of America’s economy." -- President Barack Obama [pictured above], during his weekly address [The White House, Jan. 22]

* * *

Be sure to tune in to President Obama's State of the Union address tomorrow, Jan. 25, at 9 p.m. EST. All of the major TV networks will broadcast it, as will a handful of cable channels.

You can also view live streaming video of the event, and interact with White House officials during the hours and days following. Engage yourself:

SOURCES: U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. General Services Administration, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, The White House [photo]

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Landrieu Urges Participation in New SBA Teaming Pilot Program to Help Stimulate Economic Development

Today, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Mary L. Landrieu [D-La., pictured] urged organizations to participate in the Small Business Teaming Pilot Program, established with the enactment of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010.

"Too often, small businesses are shut out of the federal contracting process," said Sen. Landrieu. "The Teaming Pilot Program will create another lifeline for small-business owners by giving them an avenue to seek guidance and receive answers to business development questions. Through these efforts, we hope to spark a cooperative effort among small businesses to compete for bundled contracts.

"We are reaffirming our commitment to the entrepreneurs of America. Programs, like the Teaming Pilot Program, will help stimulate economic growth and help Main Street businesses expand."

This week, the Small Business Administration [SBA] announced that it is accepting grant applications from eligible and well-established organizations interested in providing technical assistance and resources for small businesses.

According to the SBA, eligible applicants must:

* Be a private, non-profit or for-profit entity
* Have been in existence continually for the past three years
* Have experience dealing with issues relating to small business on a national level
* Demonstrate that it has the capacity to provide assistance to small businesses

With the implementation of this new program, the SBA anticipates awarding 10 to 20 grants in the range of $250,000-$500,000 -- totaling up to $5 million for fiscal year 2011. All applications must be submitted electronically via the government-wide financial assistance portal,, no later than Feb. 25, 2011.

SOURCE: U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

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Friday, January 07, 2011

New Jobs Act Helps SBA Put More Capital, Assistance Behind Small-Business Exporting

Export-related loans to small businesses approved under the Jobs Act provisions have reached nearly $110 million as of Dec. 31, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced today.

"The Jobs Act builds on the efforts already underway through the National Export Initiative by providing SBA with additional tools to help small businesses tap into the global market," said SBA Administrator Karen Mills [pictured]. "We know that, to take that next step to begin exporting or expand into a new market, a small business often needs both financial and counseling resources.

"The Jobs Act strengthened SBA’s ability to provide assistance in both those areas by enhancing our export loan programs, and also making counseling and technical assistance more accessible. Already, we’re seeing these tools put to use by small businesses that are in a position to grow and create good-paying jobs in their communities.'

The Jobs Act, signed into law on Sept. 27, 2010, raised SBA 7[a] export-related loan limits to $5 million. SBA helps small-business exporters through three different export loan programs: Export Express, Export Working Capital Loan, and International Trade Loan. The Jobs Act greatly enhances the tools the SBA has to help small-business exporters grow.

The Jobs Act
* Helps provide sufficient capital for small businesses looking to start or expand their exporting efforts. The law increased the maximum size of 7[a] International Trade Loans and Export Working Capital Loans to $5 million -- up from $2 million -- both with 90 percent guaranties.
* Makes the agency’s Export Express loan, which offers a streamlined application process, permanent -- with a 90 percent guaranty for loans up to $350,000, and 75 percent for loans between $350,000 and $500,000.
* Provides $90 million in grants over three years beginning in mid-2011 for states, to help small-business owners start or grow their exporting efforts.
* Makes counseling and technical assistance more accessible by increasing the SBA’s staff and other resources available to small business.

For a list of current SBA export lenders, visit

President Obama has called for doubling the nation’s exports to support creating two million jobs in the next five years. SBA has taken target steps to strengthen its partnership with other federal agencies involved in international trade, creating new tools to help small businesses both begin exporting and grow their exports, and making loans to exporters more accessible.

The National Export Initiative also called for the creation of a new Cabinet-level focus on exports; expanding export financing [which, in part, is fulfilled by the new SBA loan limits]; prioritizing government advocacy on behalf of U.S. exporters; and providing new resources to U.S. businesses seeking to export, among other things.

For more information on export services for small businesses, or to find local counseling and technical assistance resources, please visit

SOURCE: U.S. Small Business Administration

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Bureau of Labor Statistics: U.S. Job Market Improved in December

The unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 9.4 percent in December 2010 -- the lowest in months -- and nonfarm payroll employment increased by 103,000, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

"From a recent low point in December 2009, payroll employment has risen by 1.1 million -- or an average of 94,000 jobs per month," said BLS Commissioner Keith Hall [pictured], in a statement released early this morning. "In December, employment increased in leisure and hospitality and in health care, but was little changed in other major industries."

To read the complete text of the monthly jobs report, go to:

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

IRS Outlines New Tax Incentives Available to Small Businesses in 2010

This week, the Internal Revenue Service [IRS] released the Tax Changes for Small Businesses fact sheet. Last year, the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, along with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, provided key tax incentives for small businesses and self-employed individuals.

The IRS fact sheet highlights 2010 tax changes and details how taxpayers claim benefits.

"Through reforms in our nation’s troubling health-care system and by providing more than $12 billion in immediate, targeted tax incentives to small businesses, the last two years have been about supporting American’s small businesses," said Sen. Mary L. Landrieu [D-La., pictured], chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and a lead sponsor of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. "As chair of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, it has been my priority to find avenues to improve our nation’s economy and put dollars back into the pockets of America’s entrepreneurs.

"With tax season upon us, the IRS is making sure taxpayers are aware of these important deductions available to them. As we convene the 112th Congress, I will continue to fight for these small businesses to ensure that they continue to receive the tax incentives they need to drive our economy."

The IRS fact sheet breaks down the tax portions of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that are available to eligible small businesses in 2010. The document details the self-employed health insurance deduction, which allows self-employed individuals to deduct their health-care costs for payroll tax purposes.

In addition, the 2010 fact sheet outlines ways for small businesses to take advantage of the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit and the General Business Credit for Employers, as well as higher expensing and depreciating limits for small businesses.

The complete fact sheet, with the tax incentives available for small businesses for the 2010 tax year, is available on the "Resources" page of the Small Business Committee website at

SOURCES: Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

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Monday, January 03, 2011

In Just Three Months, 2010 Jobs Act Supported More Than $12 Billion in SBA Lending to Small Businesses

Today, SBA Administrator Karen Mills [pictured] announced that, as of Dec. 31, the agency had approved more than $10.3 billion in loan guarantees, which supported more than $12 billion in lending to small businesses since President Obama signed the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 on Sept. 27. The Jobs Act included an extension of reduced fees and higher-guarantee loan enhancements in the agency’s two largest loan programs.

In a just-released statement, Mills noted that SBA moved quickly to get these critical loan dollars in the hands of small businesses and, just three months later, all of the $505 million in subsidy provided in the Jobs Act to support the loan enhancements has been utilized by the agency’s national network of lending partners. In light of that, the SBA has activated the SBA Loan Queue to ensure that any remaining funds that result from loan cancellations in the coming weeks are redirected to new Jobs Act loans.

Following is the full statement from Mills:

"In just three months since the Small Business Jobs Act was signed into law, SBA supported more than $12 billion in lending to small businesses and entrepreneurs across the country. SBA is on the front lines with small-business owners and our lending partners every single day. I’m very proud that, as a result of those close relationships and partnerships, we were able to quickly put this significant amount of capital into the hands of our nation’s largest job-creation engine.

"The loan enhancements of higher guarantees and reduced fees first implemented as part of the Recovery Act have been a vital resource for tens of thousands of small businesses at a critical time when lending markets had dried up. Beginning in February 2009, these loan enhancements engineered a significant turnaround in SBA lending -- including driving record-high levels of SBA lending in recent weeks. The end result is that the agency helped put more than $42 billion in the hands of small businesses through the Recovery Act and Jobs Act combined.

"These enhancements have been a key piece of the Obama Administration’s efforts to help small businesses drive our nation’s economic recovery. As we transition back to our standard guarantees and fee rates, SBA loan programs will continue to play an important role -- as they have for decades -- in helping entrepreneurs and small-business owners start or grow their businesses and create jobs.

"The Small Business Jobs Act is the most consequential piece of legislation affecting small businesses enacted in more than a decade. While we are proud of how quickly SBA could provide $12 billion in capital to small businesses, we remain focused on implementing other key provisions of this law that will continue to expand access to capital; help small businesses compete for federal contracting dollars; strengthen small-business exports; and provide other critical support."

During the quarter, SBA approved nearly 22,000 small-business loans for $10.47 billion, supporting a total of $12.16 billion in lending. The amounts are greater than the volume for Jobs Act loans over the same period because they exclude some loans that were not eligible for one or more Jobs Act enhancements.

Background on SBA Loan Enhancements
SBA expands access to capital for small businesses by providing government guarantees on loans made by commercial lenders. The Small Business Jobs Act extended higher guarantees and reduced fees on its two most popular loan programs -- enhancements first enacted in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

From Feb. 17, 2009 -- when the Recovery Act was signed -- through Sept. 30, 2010, the SBA approved more than $22.5 billion in loan guarantees, which supported more than $30 billion in lending to small businesses, due to the loan enhancements put in place by the Act. The enhancements were funded with approximately $680 million in subsidy funds provided during the period.

Following the extension of the enhancements in the Jobs Act, SBA approved an additional $10.3 billion in loan guarantees -- supporting more than $12 billion in lending to small businesses from Sept. 27 through Dec. 31, funded by just $505 million in subsidy funds.

The three-month extension of the loan enhancements under the Jobs Act financed the highest volume in a fiscal year’s first quarter than at any time in the agency’s history. During the week of Dec. 18-24 alone, SBA supported a record-high $1.95 billion in small-business loans -- the highest dollar volume since the agency began tracking its weekly loan volumes.

SBA Loan Queue
Authority to continue the loan enhancements was extended through March 4 by Congress last month. While there is no additional appropriation of subsidy funds to support the loan enhancements, the extended authority does allow the agency to redirect -- through the SBA Loan Queue -- any dollars that come available from loan cancellations in the coming weeks to new loans with the enhancements.

It is typical that some previously approved loans are later cancelled by the borrower or lender and never disbursed for a variety of reasons. The queue takes this into account and will allow eligible small businesses, in consultation with their lenders, to choose to be placed in the queue for possible approval for a Jobs Act loan if funding becomes available.

Small-business owners and lenders will have transparent access to the queue via and will be able to remove themselves from the queue at any time to be considered for a non-Jobs Act SBA-backed loan with all applicable fees and, for 7[a] loans, standard guarantee levels.

Small Business Jobs Act of 2010
The Small Business Jobs Act included an array of provisions aimed at helping small businesses gain access to capital, compete for federal contracting opportunities, expand exporting opportunities, and obtain other assistance to help them grow and create jobs. More information on the Jobs Act can be found at

SOURCE: U.S. Small Business Administration

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