Thursday, March 31, 2011

Verve Inc. Celebrates U.N.-Declared International Year of Forests by Planting a Tree for Every Pack of Glee Gum Purchased

By declaration of the United Nations General Assembly, 2011 is the International Year of Forests. To help celebrate, GoodBiz113 profilee Verve Inc. ["Verve Inc. Puts Sustainable Bite on All-Natural Chewing Gum and Educational Candy-Making Kits for Kids"] is embarking on a far-reaching tree-planting endeavor.

Imagine a world without trees to provide shade, without leaves to mark the passing of seasons, without the sound of wind rustling in those leaves. Trees do a lot for us on a daily basis. They sustain wildlife, improve air quality, help filter water, reduce wind speeds, and beautify our surroundings. And that’s just for starters!

The good folks at Verve Inc. turn to trees for two key ingredients in Glee Gum. They make their gum base with chicle, the sustainably harvested sap of Mexican sapodilla trees; and they sweeten their new Sugar-Free Glee Gum with xylitol, which is extracted from birch trees.

The company wants to invest in keeping forests fertile for years to come. Join them!

Every time you buy a pack of Glee Gum and register the purchase at, they'll plant a tree. They’ll also send you a nifty certificate of thanks!

Their partner in this tree-planting program is Trees for the Future, an agroforestry resource center focused on bringing sustainable land management programs to developing countries.

For more ways to celebrate the International Year of Forests -- including events near you -- check out the U.S. campaign and the U.N. site.

SOURCE: Verve Inc.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

SBA's Higher Surety Bond Guarantees Will Help Small Businesses Secure Larger Contracts to Assist in Recovery Efforts Following Disasters

The U.S. Small Business Administration has made regulatory changes to its Surety Bond Guarantee [SBG] program -- including higher surety bond guarantee limits that will help construction and service-sector firms secure larger contracts for work in areas impacted by disasters.

The revisions are related to the Small Business Disaster Response and Loan Improvements Act of 2008, which increases the eligible amount for contracts or orders related to a major disaster area.

These changes, which were originally published as part of a proposed rule in the Federal Register in April 2010, are now final and include:

* For a non-federal contract or order up to $5 million, a bond guarantee may be issued if the products will be manufactured or the services performed in the disaster area.

* For a federal contract or order up to $5 million, the performance site can be outside the disaster area if the contract or order will directly assist the disaster recovery efforts.

* For a federal contract or order, the amount of the guarantee can be as much as $10 million at the request of the head of an agency that is involved in reconstruction efforts.

"SBA is committed to mobilizing resources as quickly as possible following disasters to help begin economic recovery for communities, businesses and families," said SBA Administrator Karen Mills [pictured]. "These changes to the Surety Bond Program will have a two-fold impact: Helping small businesses compete for, and win, contracting opportunities gives them the chance to grow and create jobs, while, at the same time, jump-starting economic activity and rebuilding efforts following a disaster when communities and regions need it most.”

The increased amounts would apply during the 12 months following the disaster declaration, unless SBA provides for an extension related to a particular disaster.

In addition to the disaster-related changes, other changes clarify SBA’s position that it does not cover any costs related to insurance or indemnification requirements that may be contained in the bonded contract. It specifically excludes from the losses covered by SBA any costs that arise from the principal’s failure to secure and maintain insurance that result from any claims or judgments that exceed the amount of insurance coverage, and that arise from an agreement by the principal to indemnify the contractor or any other persons.

SBG program regulations also have been amended to allow SBA to guarantee bid and performance bonds for timber sale contracts. Under these contracts, the small business pays the project owner an agreed amount to harvest the lumber or other forest products, such as biomass.

A bond is often required to ensure compliance with contract terms and conditions associated with forest management -- including the protection of natural resources, erosion control, and road maintenance. This change applies to contracts administered by the U.S. Forest Service, plus other public and private entities.

SBA partners with the surety industry to help small businesses that would otherwise be unable to obtain bonding in the traditional commercial marketplace. Under the partnership, SBA provides a guarantee to the participating surety company of between 70 and 90 percent of the bond amount. Through its SBG program, SBA also helps owners by guaranteeing bid, payment and performance bonds to protect the project owner against financial loss if a contractor defaults or fails to perform.

SBA assistance in locating a participating surety company or agent, and completing application forms, is available online. For more information on SBA’s Surety Bond Guarantee program -- including Surety Office contacts -- go online to; or, call 1-800-U-ASK-SBA.

SOURCES: Library of Congress, U.S. Small Business Administration

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

DOE's New 'America's Next Top Energy Innovator' Program Challenges Entrepreneurs to Commercialize Technologies Developed by National Laboratories

As part of the Obama Administration's Startup America Initiative, U.S. Department of Energy [DOE] Secretary Steven Chu [pictured] today announced the "America's Next Top Energy Innovator" challenge, which will give startup companies the opportunity to license groundbreaking technologies developed by the National Laboratories for $1,000 and build successful businesses.

As part of this effort, DOE is reducing both the cost and paperwork requirements for startup companies to obtain an option agreement to license some of the 15,000 patents and patent applications held by its 17 National Laboratories.

"America's entrepreneurs and innovators are the best in the world," said Secretary Chu. "Today, we're challenging them to create new businesses based on discoveries made by our world-leading National Laboratories.

"Because we've cut the upfront fees and reduced the paperwork, we'll make it easier for startup companies to succeed and create the new jobs our economy needs. Our goal is simple: unleash America's innovation machine and win the global race for the clean-energy jobs of the future."

Currently, only about 10 percent of federal patents have been licensed to be commercialized. This initiative aims to double the number of startup companies coming out of the National Laboratories.

Specifically, as part of "America's Next Top Energy Innovator":

1. On Monday, May 2, 2011, DOE will kick off the challenge by posting a streamlined template option agreement online for entrepreneurs to submit to Laboratories. Entrepreneurs must identify the technology of interest and submit a business plan to be considered for the program. Participants will have until Dec. 15 to make their submission to the Laboratory.

2. Any of the 15,000 unlicensed patents and patent applications held by the National Laboratories will be available for licensing by startup companies

3. From May 2 to Dec. 15, the Department will reduce the total upfront cost of licensing DOE patents in a specific technology to a $1,000 upfront fee for portfolios of up to three patents. This represents a savings of $10,000 to $50,000 on average in upfront fees.

4. Other license terms, such as equity and royalties, will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis, and will typically be due once the company grows and achieves wide-scale commercial success. These fees help support DOE's continuing research activities to develop new technologies.

5. DOE will simplify the licensing process and establish a standard set of terms for startups, who generally lack the resources, time or expertise to negotiate individual licensing agreements. This will significantly reduce both the time and cost required to process the license, allowing faster access to the Department's patents and enabling DOE to process more licenses in a shorter amount of time.

6. Entrepreneurs who complete the process and demonstrate progress toward executing their business plan and commercializing the technology will have the opportunity to be showcased at the 3rd Annual ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit in 2012, which brings together leading technology startups and clean-energy investors from around the country.

In addition to these steps, DOE is making it easier for companies to use the world-leading facilities at its National Laboratories to conduct collaborative research-and-development activities.

Previously, companies had to make an upfront payment covering the first 90 days of research work -- a requirement that was often difficult for start-ups to meet. Today, DOE is lowering the advance payment requirement to 60 days. This change will benefit all companies -- not just startups -- but could be valuable for those participating in the "America's Next Top Energy Innovator" challenge.

Entrepreneurs interested in participating can already view the available technologies on DOE's Energy Innovation Portal.

Some of the promising innovations currently available for licensing and featured on the portal include:

* Solar Energy Storage, Transportation and Conversion -- available from DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Researchers at Berkeley Lab have developed a system for converting solar energy to chemical energy and, subsequently, to thermal energy. The system includes a light-harvesting station, a storage station, and a thermal energy release station that enables transportation of stored energy over long distances. Here's the marketing summary.

* Grid-Friendly Appliance Controller -- available from DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The Grid-Friendly Appliance Controller senses grid conditions by monitoring system frequency and provides automatic demand response in times of disruption. This simple computer chip can be installed in household appliances and can turn them off for a few minutes or even a few seconds to allow the grid to stabilize and prevent blackouts. Interested? Read the marketing summary.

* Growth of Lattice Matched III-V Semiconductor Materials -- available from DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory [NREL]. High-performance semiconductor materials have a broad range of potential applications -- including high-efficiency solar cells, solid-state lighting, and high-speed transistors. This portfolio allows for the use of low-cost, scalable, and reusable substrates to dramatically reduce production costs for these materials. Click here for the marketing summary.

* New Catalyst Can Reduce Nitrogen Oxide Emissions From Diesel Engines by 80-85% -- available from DOE's Argonne National Laboratory. The diesel DeNOx catalyst removes 80-85% of nitrogen oxide [NOx] emissions from diesel fuel combustion by converting NOx to nitrogen. With its lower expected manufacturing and installation costs, ease of use, and significant market potential, the Argonne catalyst is positioned to deliver the environmental and economical benefits needed to reduce our global industrial "footprint." Here's the technology marketing summary.

Read some recent examples [PDF - 162 kb] of established companies and startups that have commercialized DOE technologies.

Startup America is an important element of the Obama Administration's national innovation strategy. For more information about the steps announced today, plus the 15,000-plus technology opportunities currently available, visit DOE's Energy Innovation Portal.

GoodBiz113's Take
This new Department of Energy program has significant potential for propelling entrepreneurship and innovation, creating jobs, and realizing the Obama Administration's aims to promote clean energy and energy independence. America's current and would-be entrepreneurs -- and all its citizens, for that matter -- are fortunate to have someone as smart, creative and enterprising as Steven Chu at DOE's helm.

SOURCES: U.S. Department of Energy, The White House
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Bipartisan Landrieu-Cochran-Wicker Legislation Gives Disaster Relief to Hard-Hit Gulf Coast Small Businesses

Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Mary L. Landrieu [D-La., pictured] -- along with Sens. Thad Cochran [R-Miss.] and Roger Wicker [R-Miss.] -- just introduced a bill that provides financial relief to as many as 11,000 businesses in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas.

These small businesses are still rebuilding after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike. With this bipartisan legislation, they have the potential to create or save up to 40,000 jobs.

"The small businesses in these hard-hit areas have not survived just one disaster, but three: Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005; Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008; and, last year, the Deepwater Horizon [oil spill] disaster," said Sen. Landrieu. "These valuable, pioneer businesses took the initiative to quickly reopen after the storms, and gave communities the confidence to come home. If residents see their local gas station or their favorite restaurant open, they are more likely to come back to rebuild their homes -- spurring economic growth in these devastated areas.

"As we approach the sixth anniversary of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, we must ensure that these pioneers can make it past this anniversary. This legislation will help these businesses not just survive, but grow and hire workers."

"The economic recovery, both on the Gulf Coast and nationally, has been stubbornly slow," said Cochran. "Easing the federal loan burden on small businesses that quickly rebuilt after successive hurricanes should help with job creation. I support this legislation as a worthwhile tool to continue rejuvenating the economy of Southern Mississippi and the Gulf Coast region."

"Gulf Coast small businesses and entrepreneurs continue to recover from Hurricane Katrina and the devastation caused by last year’s oil spill," said Wicker. "Economic opportunities created by this legislation would provide an important boost at a critical time for the entire region."

The Southeast Hurricanes Small Business Disaster Relief Act of 2011 would give the Small Business Administration [SBA] the authority to waive up to $15,000 of the interest payments for businesses in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas over three years. The SBA is required to give priority to applications with the following credentials:

* Businesses with 50 employees or fewer;

* Businesses affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, that reopened between September 2005 and October 2006;

* Businesses affected by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, that reopened between September 2008 and January 2009; and/or

* Businesses that suffered substantial economic injury from the Deepwater Horizon disaster

Representative Cedric Richmond [D-La.] will be introducing the House companion bill. Last Congress, a similar proposal received support from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the New York Times, the Times Picayune, and other Gulf Coast groups.

Applications for the program would not be accepted after March 31, 2012.

GoodBiz113's Take
Once again, Sen. Landrieu is leading an impressive bipartisan initiative to serve the far-reaching interests of small businesses. Entrepreneurs of all political stripes are fortunate that she's doing so.

Hopefully, Congress will act swiftly to pass the Senate and House versions of this legislation, so that Gulf Coast small-business owners can focus on growing their enterprises -- and the U.S. economy.

SOURCES: U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Wikipedia

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Happy 100th Birthday, Tennessee Williams!

Today marks the 100th birthday of Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Tennessee Williams. Born on March 26, 1911, Williams' prolific career spanned more than 50 years before his death at age 71 on Feb. 25, 1983.

To celebrate Williams' life and work, we've borrowed a piece from GoodBiz113 profilee George Rodrigue ["Louisiana Artist Brings Post-Katrina [Blue Dog] Relief to New Orleans"]. Rodrigue's Thinking About Blanche [pictured above] was the poster for the 2006 Tennessee Williams Festival, in New Orleans.

For a compelling Southern perspective on Williams' influence, visit "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: Musings of an Artist's Wife, Rodrigue Studio, Wikipedia

The Art of George Rodrigue ^AF

Thursday, March 24, 2011

March 31: Free SBA Monthly Web Chat to Focus on New Contracting Program for Women-Owned Small Businesses

Are you a woman business owner seeking federal contracts? The U.S. Small Business Administration’s March Web chat will focus on a new Women-Owned Small Business [WOSB] Federal Contract Program aimed at bringing more WOSBs into the federal contracting arena.

From 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 31, Michele Chang [pictured], senior advisor in the SBA's Office of Government Contracting and Business Development, will host the free monthly Web chat, "SBA’s New Federal Contract Program for Women." Chang will answer questions for the full hour.

Participants can join the live Web chat by going online to, and clicking on the Web chat event under "What’s New." Web chat participants may also post questions before the March 31st chat by visiting

Federal contracts can provide women entrepreneurs with the financial oxygen they need in order to take their business to the next level. Celebrate Women’s History Month and visit to get information about the new contract program.

About SBA's Monthly Web Chats
SBA’s Web chat series provides small-business owners with an opportunity to discuss relevant business issues online with experts, industry leaders and successful entrepreneurs. Chat participants have direct, real-time access to the Web chats via questions they submit online in advance, and during the live session.

Participants will gain valuable information on how to participate in the program to gain increased access to government contracting opportunities.

To review archives of past Web chats, visit online at

SOURCE: U.S. Small Business Administration

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Obama Administration's Funds for Connecticut, Missouri, and Vermont to Spur at Least $534 Million in New Small-Business Lending, Help Create Jobs

Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced approval of State Small Business Credit Initiative [SSBCI] applications from Connecticut, Missouri, and Vermont. The planned use of SSBCI funds by these states will help create new jobs, and is expected to spur more than $534 million in additional small-business lending. The SSBCI program, which supports state-level small business lending programs, is an important component of the Small Business Jobs Act that President Obama signed into law last fall.

"These critical funds will help small businesses access the capital they need to expand their operations, create new jobs, and continue supporting our nation’s economic recovery," said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner [pictured]. "Public-private lending partnerships, such as the State Small Business Credit Initiative, have a proven track record of success, and I’m pleased that this funding is on its way to support economic growth in these states."

Under the SSBCI, all states are offered the opportunity to apply for federal funds for state-run programs that partner with private lenders to increase the amount of credit available to small businesses. States must demonstrate a reasonable expectation that a minimum of $10 in new private lending will result from every $1 in federal funding. Accordingly, the $1.5 billion federal funding commitment for this program overall is expected to result in at least $15 billion in additional private lending nationwide.

Details on the applications approved today -- which the states expect will generate a cumulative total of at least $534 million in new small-business lending in Connecticut [$133 million], Missouri [$269 million], and Vermont [$132 million] -- are included below.

Geithner announced the approval of this latest wave of SSBCI applications during a conference today at the Treasury Department entitled, "Access to Capital: Fostering Growth and Innovation for Small Companies." The conference brings together policymakers, entrepreneurs, investors, academics, and other market participants to explore how both the public and private sectors can help promote access to capital at each stage of growth for a small business -- from seed capital, to growth equity, to accessing the public markets.

Treasury has previously approved funding for SSBCI programs in California, Michigan, and North Carolina. Additional applications are expected to be approved in the coming weeks. For more information about the SSBCI, please visit

Connecticut: At Least $133 Million in New Small-Business Lending
With SSBCI approval of Connecticut’s application, can access up to $13.3 million in SSBCI funding -- which Connecticut expects to generate more than $133 million in new small-business lending in the state.

"Connecticut's economic recovery is driven by small businesses and their strong plans for growth," said Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy. "We need to ensure they have the capital necessary for hiring, purchasing of machinery and equipment, and expansion of facilities in our state. In partnership with the banks and the Connecticut Development Authority, Connecticut's small-business owners will now have more resources for that growth."

Connecticut’s approved plan dedicates its $13.3 million in SSBCI funding to support its Capital Access Program [CAP], which provides loan portfolio insurance to encourage private financial institutions to lend to creditworthy small businesses. Connecticut has administered its CAP for more than 19 years. During this period, it has provided portfolio insurance for about 630 enrolled loans, totaling over $53.4 million -- resulting in the creation of, or saving of, 6,120 jobs.

Missouri: $269 Million-Plus in New Small-Business Lending
With SSBCI approval of Missouri’s application, Missouri can access up to $26.9 million in SSBCI funding, which it expects to generate more than $269 million in new small-business lending in the state.

"Along Main Streets in every corner of Missouri, small businesses are a critical force for creating jobs and growing our economy," Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said. "These new resources will help Missouri entrepreneurs grow their operations, and turn their dreams into bricks and mortar.

"We appreciate the leadership shown by President Obama and Secretary Geithner in providing these resources for our state, and we will invest these tools wisely and strategically in businesses that will transform Missouri’s economy for the 21st Century."

Missouri’s approved plan dedicates $16.9 million of the state’s SSBCI funding to establish the high-tech Missouri IDEA Seed and Venture Capital Funds [IDEA Funds]. IDEA stands for Innovation, Development and Entrepreneurial Advancement.

The Missouri IDEA Funds promote the formation and growth of businesses that engage in the transfer of science and technology into job creation. The funds provide financing to eligible businesses through four components that correspond to the four stages of venture growth: 1] pre-seed capital stage financing; 2] seed-capital stage financing; 3] venture-capital stage financing; and 4] expansion-stage debt.

Collectively, these four components will provide financing opportunities throughout the process that entrepreneurs call the "continuum of capital." In this way, the funds will support new venture formation and growth all the way from research and development to commercialization.

Missouri’s approved plan also dedicates $10 million of SSBCI funding to the Grow Missouri Loan Participation Fund. That program supports the formation and growth of businesses in the industrial, commercial, agricultural, and recreational sectors. It provides loans of up to $3 million to businesses with under 500 employees to help attract new enterprises and expand existing companies.

Vermont: More Than $132 Million in New Small-Business Lending
With SSBCI approval of Vermont’s application, Vermont can access up to $13.2 million in SSBCI funding, which it expects to generate more than $132 million in new small-business lending in the state.

"This $13.2 million in federal small-business funding is terrific news for Vermont," declared Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, "and it would not have been possible without the strong advocacy efforts of our Congressional delegation.

"We thank Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Congressman Peter Welch for their efforts, and also thank the U.S. Department of the Treasury for this well-timed award. With the help of Vermont’s private-sector leverage, these federal funds will go far, giving our small businesses the critical boost they need to create jobs for Vermonters."

Vermont’s approved plan dedicates $1 million of the state’s SSBCI funding to support its Financial Access Program [FAP], which provides loan portfolio insurance to encourage private financial institutions to lend to creditworthy small businesses.

The remaining $12.2 million is allocated to three additional programs:

* Vermont has allocated a total of $5.9 million to its Commercial Loan Participation Program, which provides financing for the purchase of land; construction and renovation of facilities; and purchase and installation of equipment for eligible projects.

* Vermont has allocated $3.0 million to its Technology Loan Participation Program. This initiative supports loans to early-stage firms, primarily in the information technology and bioscience sectors.

* Vermont has also allocated $3.3 million to its Small Business Loan Program, which finances smaller commercial businesses’ fixed asset and working capital needs.

GoodBiz113's Take
Once again, the Obama Administration has taken bold and positive steps to fuel small-business growth and create jobs. Current and would-be small-business owners in Connecticut, Missouri and Vermont -- and their myriad stakeholders -- are fortunate that Secretary Geithner and his advisers have exercised their fiduciary pragmatism and wide-angle vision to promote far-reaching entrepreneurship and economic development in their states.

SOURCES: Connecticut Development Authority, Missouri Department of Economic Development, U.S. Department of the Treasury, Vermont Economic Development Authority

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Affordable Care Act's One-Year Anniversary Marks Better Benefits, Better Health for Small Businesses

This week, as the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services [HHS] marks the one-year anniversary of enactment of the Affordable Care Act, it also kicks off its Better Benefits, Better Health Initiative. This initiative will highlight the important information that consumers, families and businesses need in order to optimize the far-reaching benefits of reform.

HHS is kicking off the initiative by highlighting some important information for small-business owners. Small-business owners and their employees have always gotten the short end of the stick, paying an average of 18% more for insurance that often covers less than the policies sold to their larger competitors. And small businesses lack the purchasing power that larger employers have.

That's all changing, thanks to the health-care law signed by President Obama one year ago. Thankfully, the Affordable Care Act is helping small-business owners get quality, affordable coverage for their families and their employees.

Here are some important things to know:

* If you own a small business with fewer than 25 fulltime-equivalent employees, you may qualify for a small-business tax credit to help offset the costs of covering your employees. Small-business owners can visit to learn more.

* HHS estimates that up to 4 million small businesses could be eligible to receive these tax credits to make employees’ health coverage more affordable. And the tax credits will be worth a combined total of $40 billion over ten years.

* Employer-based plans that provide health insurance to retirees ages 55-64 can get financial help through the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program. This program is designed to maintain health coverage for retirees, workers, and employers. Visit to learn more.

* If one of your workers has been uninsured because of a pre-existing condition, he or she may be eligible to join the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. To find out about plans available in your state, please visit:

* If you are in a new insurance plan, insurance companies cannot charge you or your workers a deductible or copays for recommended preventive services; e.g., mammograms, flu shots. Click here to find a list of preventive services that will be covered without copays.

In addition, insurance companies are prohibited from capping the dollar amount of care that you or your employees can receive in a lifetime, or dropping coverage due to an honest mistake on an application when someone gets sick. And they have to spend at least 80% of your premium dollars on health care and quality improvements, instead of overhead, salaries or administrative expenses -- or provide you and your workers a rebate.

To learn more about the specific provisions of the Affordable Care Act, visit:

SOURCES: [photo],, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, White House

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Senators Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Fight Fraud in Government Contracting Programs

Senators Olympia J. Snowe [R-Maine, pictured], Mary Landrieu [D- La.], Scott P. Brown [R-Mass.], Jeff Merkley [D-Ore.], and Mike Enzi [R-Wyo.], have introduced bipartisan legislation to combat contracting fraud at the U.S. Small Business Administration [SBA]. Their initiative comes on the heels of several vulnerabilities and abuses in nearly all of SBA’s contracting programs, as identified in multiple reports by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office [GAO].

"Exercising thorough oversight to ensure SBA’s contracting programs are efficient, effective, and accountable is a top priority," said Sen. Snowe, ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. "This legislation is a critical step towards ensuring all of our nation’s small businesses compete fairly in the federal marketplace."

Citing a March 12 Washington Post report that "Government officials were not monitoring contracts for compliance with rules," Sen. Snowe called SBA’s current oversight efforts deficient. "As I told the deputy administrator of the SBA at a recent Small Business Committee hearing," she noted, "the ultimate authority for monitoring fraud lies with the SBA when it comes to government management of hard-earned taxpayer dollars."

"When ineligible firms are awarded federal government contracts through fraudulent means," declared Senate Small Business Committee Chair Sen. Landrieu, "this reduces the number of opportunities available to honest, qualified small businesses.

"Government contracts are perhaps one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways the federal government can help immediately increase sales for America’s entrepreneurs, giving them the tools they need to keep our economy strong and create jobs. This legislation gives the SBA and the inspector general the tools necessary to combat fraud. We intend for the SBA to hold firms accountable."

"With our nation facing record debt and deficits, it is absolutely critical that taxpayer dollars are used judiciously to ensure that small-business contracting programs benefit the rightful recipients," said Sen. Brown, a member of the Senate Small Business Committee. "This bipartisan legislation is a strong step toward ensuring that our contracting programs are operating effectively and efficiently."

"Small businesses are the backbone of our community and the drivers of economic growth," said Sen. Merkley. "The programs that support and assist them should not be diverted or diluted because of waste, fraud of abuse. This bill will help refocus SBA programs like a laser on the needs of our small-business owners."

"We have a situation now where bad actors are snapping up opportunities that would greatly benefit legitimate small businesses," added Sen. Enzi. "This bill would help ensure that those who provide real jobs and quality goods and services are the ones getting the contracts."

Specifically, the Small Business Contracting Fraud Prevention Act of 2011 [S. 633] would provide a comprehensive oversight framework within SBA to execute effective certification, surveillance and monitoring, as well as robust enforcement of its entire contracting portfolio. The bill would also increase criminal penalties for businesses awarded contracts through fraudulent means.

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

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

On MSNBC, Senator Landrieu Discusses Need for Small-Business Innovation to Help Close Deficit and Create Jobs

This morning, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Mary L. Landrieu [D-La., pictured lower right] appeared on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe."

As debate over the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011 continues on the Senate floor, Sen. Landrieu discussed how reauthorization of the Small Business Innovation Research [SBIR] and Small Business Technical Transfer [STTR] programs will aid in efforts to close the deficit and create jobs.

To view the video clip, go to:

SOURCES:, MSNBC, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, YouTube

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

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

To our growing, global list of GoodBiz113 readers and advertisers, we bid a heartfelt "Happy St. Patrick's Day!"

To help illustrate the point, we've, uh, borrowed a piece from GoodBiz113 profilee George Rodrigue ["Louisiana Artist Brings Post-Katrina [Blue Dog] Relief to New Orleans"]. Don't Grow Grass on Me [pictured], an acrylic on linen, is part of Rodrigue's "Green Dog" collection. Check it out at "Musings of an Artist's Wife," Wendy Rodrigue's compelling blog:

Oh, and for the latest developments regarding the always-bustling George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts: Youth Development Through Art in Education, go to:

Best to you and yours for a fun and safe three-days-before-spring-starts day!

SOURCES: Musings of an Artist's Wife, Rodrigue Studio

The Art of George Rodrigue ^AF

Monday, March 14, 2011

Senators Reid, Landrieu Discuss Impact of Jobs Bill to Boost Innovation by Small Businesses

Nevada Senator Harry Reid [pictured] and Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu, chair of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today discussed the U.S. Senate’s third jobs bill: Reauthorization of the Small Business Innovation Research [SBIR] and Small Business Technical Transfer [STTR] programs.

First passed under President Ronald Reagan in 1983, these initiatives have awarded more than 89,000 research and development grants worth more than $28 billion to help thousands of small businesses across the country expand and hire new workers.

The senators were joined on the call by Dr. Kenneth Eilertsen, Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Louisiana-based NuPotential Inc., and Jim Hodge, Chief Technical Officer of southern Nevada-based K2 Energy Solutions Inc. Both companies have taken advantage of the SBIR and STTR programs.

"Tens of thousands of small businesses like Nevada-based K2 Energy Solutions have taken advantage of these innovation grants to create jobs and discover the exciting, new products that will keep America competitive in a 21st century global economy," Reid said. "These grants have a highly successful track record. They have helped launch new ideas -- everything from the electric toothbrush, to satellite antennae that helped first responders in Haiti, to technologies that keep our food safe and our military’s tanks from overheating in the desert.

"The only way to turn our economy around is to continue investing in the small businesses in Nevada, and across our country, that are come up with the next brilliant technological advancement that will put people back to work."

"We have already created the formula to get the best return on our investment in small, high-technology firms," said Sen. Landrieu. "Businesses like Mezzo Technologies in Louisiana, which began with only two employees, now has an annual payroll of $1.2 million. That’s putting Americans back to work with cost-effective investments in America’s entrepreneurs through programs like SBIR and STTR.

"In addition to the good return on investment from Mezzo, we’ve got the undeniable success of Qualcomm. With roughly $1.5 billion in SBIR awards, Qualcomm now pays more than $1 billion in annual taxes -- essentially paying for half of the SBIR and STTR programs each year.

"Clearly, there is a plan of action in place. Now it’s time for to execute, and I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting America’s innovators and job creators."

Since the SBIR and STTR programs began 28 years ago, Louisiana has received nearly $60 million and 239 grant awards for its small-business community. Louisiana-based NuPotential received more than $550,000 in STTR grants in collaboration with Louisiana State University to improve cattle somatic cell nuclear transfer [cloning] using NuPotential technology.

Over the last three decades, Nevada has received more than $76 million in grants -- 224 awards, with an average of $341,549 per award -- placing Nevada seventh among all states in dollars-per-award average and well above the national average of $316,341 per award per state.

The Henderson, Nev.-based company, K2 Energy Solutions -- one of the nation’s leaders of rechargeable battery technology -- has received nearly $140,000 in SBIR grants to create an updated BB-2590 battery for the U.S. Army that is three times as powerful, can be used longer, is lighter-weight, capable of a faster recharge, and costs less than the original. Such improvements will drastically reduce the number of batteries that troops must carry in the field, and save weight and logistics needed to transport the battery to the field.

After 10 short-term reauthorizations since 2008, the Senate will soon vote to give stability to the SBIR and STTR programs, so that they can continue to support America’s small businesses. Stay tuned...

SOURCES:, U.S. Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

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During Flood Safety Awareness Week, FEMA, NOAA and Partners Encourage U.S. Residents to Prepare for Springtime Flooding

With many communities throughout the nation facing threats of spring flooding, the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA] are once again joining forces to commemorate Flood Safety Awareness Week, March 14-18.

FEMA and NOAA's National Weather Service are providing tips and information to help individuals and families prepare for flooding dangers during the week and throughout the spring season. The resources can be accessed at the Flood Safety Awareness Week landing page, located at

"As the nation's most common and expensive natural disaster, floods can strike virtually every community," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate [pictured]. "We're encouraging individuals and families to take a few simple steps to protect themselves and their property.

"These include learning about their risk of flooding, having an emergency preparedness kit, storing important documents in a safe place, and considering the purchase of flood insurance. Most homeowners insurance policies don't cover flooding, and most policies take 30 days to go into effect. So, it's important to act now."

Floods do more than damage property. They can also threaten lives if safety precautions are not followed.

"Floods occur somewhere in the United States or its territories nearly every day of the year -- killing nearly 100 people on average annually, and causing damage in the billions of dollars," said Jack Hayes, Ph.D., director of the National Weather Service. "Awareness, preparedness and action are the key ingredients to protecting lives and property when floods threaten.

"One essential safety tip is to never cross a road that is covered by water. Remember: 'Turn Around, Don't Drown.'"

According to the National Weather Service, more deaths occur due to flooding each year than from any other severe weather related hazard. The main reason: people underestimate the force and power of water. All areas of the country can be at risk for flooding, and when such conditions are forecast, important information and life-saving alerts are available at

More than half of all flood-related deaths result from vehicles being swept downstream. Remember: flash flooding can take only a few minutes to a few hours to develop.

Be prepared to take detours and adjust your route due to road closures if there is standing water. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Flood water may be much deeper than it appears as the roadbed may be washed out. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.

In most cases, standard homeowner's insurance policies don't cover flood damages. FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program makes flood insurance available to renters, homeowners and business owners through thousands of insurance agents located in nearly 21,000 communities around the nation. Flood coverage can be purchased for properties both in, and outside of, the highest-risk areas -- but should be considered regardless of where you live, since 20 percent of all flood insurance claims come from moderate-to-low-risk areas.

The average cost of a policy is $570 a year, and Preferred Risk Policies outside of Special Flood Hazard Areas can be as low as $129 a year. Individuals can learn more about seasonal flood risks and what to do to prepare by visiting FEMA's website; or, by calling 1-800-427-2419.

Click here for information about residential flood insurance.

Click here for information aabout commercial flood coverage.

About FEMA
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that, as a nation, we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. Visit

About NOAA
NOAA's mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment -- from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun -- and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit

SOURCES: Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service

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May 18-20: During National Small Business Week, SBA Will Salute Small Businesses that Drive America’s Economy

The nation’s top entrepreneurs will be honored at the U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Week 2011 events, May 18-20, in Washington, D.C. Under the theme, "Empowering Entrepreneurs," a series of events and educational forums will mark the 58th anniversary of the agency and the 48th annual proclamation of National Small Business Week.

More than 100 outstanding small-business owners from across the country will receive awards while gathering for three days at the city’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel. There, they will meet with top administration officials, congressional representatives and national business leaders. The highlight of the celebration will be the announcement of the National Small Business Person of the Year.

Men and women also will be recognized for their involvement in disaster recovery, government contracting, and their support for small businesses and entrepreneurship. Awards will be presented to SBA partners in financial and entrepreneurial development -- including the year’s top SCORE chapter, Small Business Development Center and Women’s Business Center.

Interested parties can register online at, where a tentative schedule and other information are available. The event will also be webcast live at the website.

"Small-business owners and employees across America are proving their resiliency as they continue to drive the nation out of recession through economic growth and job creation," said SBA Administrator Karen Mills [pictured]. "National Small Business Week gives us an opportunity to honor their achievements and the spirit of entrepreneurship, innovation and determination that makes them the engine of our economy and our nation’s economic recovery."
The State Small Business Award winners and recipients of the Champion and other Entrepreneurial awards are nominated by local trade associations, chambers of commerce, plus business organizations and government agencies.

Small Business Week 2011 sponsors and cosponsors include: Association of Small Business Development Companies, AT&T, CareerBuilder, Dun & Bradstreet, Google, Intuit, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, National Association of Development Companies, National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders, National Association for the Self-Employed, Nomadic Display, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Sam's Club, SCORE, Verio, Visa, and Women Impacting Public Policy.

SOURCE: U.S. Small Business Administration
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