Friday, June 24, 2011

Small Businesses Win a Record $97.95 Billion in Federal Prime Contracts

After reviewing the Small Business Administration’s fifth annual Small Business Procurement Scorecard, United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Mary L. Landrieu [D-La., pictured] and Ranking Member Olympia J. Snowe [R-Maine] today commented on the federal government’s effort to increase federal contracting opportunities among small businesses.

According to the most recent scorecard, in fiscal year 2010, small businesses won nearly $100 billion in federal prime contracts -- an increase of more than $1 billion from 2009. Small businesses were awarded 22.66 percent of all federal spending in FY2010 -- less than half a percentage point shy of the statutory 23 percent goal.

"Over the course of one year, we saw nearly $100 billion go into the hands of America’s small businesses, and I am pleased to see the ever-increasing role of small businesses in the federal government contracting process," said Sen. Landrieu. "With the passage of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 last fall, we put in place ways to significantly improve these numbers, and I hope this report will be the last steppingstone to reaching our small-business contracting goals.

"The report confirmed an overall increase in small-business contracting for the second consecutive year, but the federal government still fell short of meeting their goal in many categories -- including prime contracting awards for women-owned small businesses, service-disabled veteran-owned small business, and Historically Underutilized Business Zones [HUBZones]. We continue to see room for improvement, and I am confident they are on the right track to reaching and surpassing these goals."

"Small businesses are the primary job creators in this country, responsible for more than two-thirds of all new jobs created," noted Sen. Snowe. "At a time when a staggering and seemingly intractable unemployment rate of over nine percent has become the norm -- with 22 million Americans unemployed or underemployed, and when we are experiencing the longest period of long-term unemployment in American history since data collection started in 1948 -- I remain dismayed that, yet again, the federal government has failed to meet its statutory government-wide goal -- not just for small business, but for women, HUBZones, and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses.

"Reports show that small businesses lost an estimated $2 trillion in profits and asset valuation since the recession started in December 2007, while larger companies have been less affected and are recovering more quickly. Given these statistics, it is all the more paramount that small businesses have the opportunity to contract with federal agencies, and anything other than meeting these goals is simply unacceptable.

"For small firms that are struggling to stay afloat and maintain their workforce, federal contracting can be an instrumental part of a larger strategy for broadening their customer base and creating jobs and, although the numbers have improved, this Administration can, and must, do better."

About SBA's Small Business Procurement Scorecard
The FY2010 Scorecard calculated the amount of federal spending for prime contracting and subcontracting to small businesses for fiscal year 2010 [Oct. 1, 2009-Sept. 30, 2010], and evaluated agencies to ensure these firms remain an integral part of the federal contracting process.

SBA graded 24 agencies on each of the individual prime contracting goals established by Congress, and used an "A+" through "F" letter-grade system.

The federal government scored an overall average of 99.2 percent -- with 99.73 percent prime contracting achievement, and 94.50 percent subcontracting achievement.

Ten agencies’ grades increased from FY 2009, 10 agencies’ grades stayed the same, and four agencies’ grades decreased. The agency breakdown is as follows:
* 13 agencies received an "A"
* Five agencies received a "B"
* Four agencies received a "C"
* Two agencies received a "D"

Overall, SBA Administrator Karen Mills was optimistic about the Scorecard results. "When the federal government gets contracts into the hands of small businesses, it is a 'win-win' situation," she noted. "Small businesses have the opportunity to grow and create jobs, and the federal government gets access to some of the most innovative and nimble entrepreneurs.

"We are proud of the achievement the government has made [in small-business procurement], but are determined that the government will meet and exceed the goal. SBA is focused on a number of key initiatives to help increase small-business contracting opportunities, as well as combat fraud, waste or abuse. These efforts will ensure the benefits of our programs continue to go to the intended recipients."

The SBA's full Small Business Procurement Scorecard can be viewed here:

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

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ex-Im Bank's Global Access for Small-Business Initiative Hits Benchmark; Phoenix Manufacturer Marks 1,000th Company

The Export-Import Bank of the United States [Ex-Im Bank] reached a new milestone this month, when the 1,000th small-business customer joined the list of first-time users of the Bank's export finance products as part of its Global Access for Small Business [Global Access] program. Serverlift, located in Phoenix, Ariz., helped bring Ex-Im Bank one step closer to achieving its goal of adding 5,000 new small-business customers by 2015 -- a central feature of Global Access, which launched in January.

Serverlift is a high-tech company that specializes in the manufacturing of lifts for transporting and sustaining data center servers. They received a $250,000 Express Insurance policy from Ex-Im Bank in June, 2011, with approved foreign buyers in Ireland and Turkey.

This financing product was developed specifically for qualified small businesses. It features a streamlined application, plus both a policy quotation and two foreign-buyer credit indications up to $300,000 within five business days.

Serverlift originally manufactured in China and recently moved operations back to the U.S., resulting in doubling the number of its U.S. employees.

"The Bank's support gives us the credibility that we need to pursue foreign buyers," said Ray Zuckerman, CEO of Serverlift. "Extending credit makes us more attractive to our customers and allows us to sell to larger companies."

The Global Access initiative is a key component of Ex-Im Bank's work supporting President Obama's National Export Initiative [NEI] and its goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015. In addition to bringing 5,000 more small businesses into the Ex-Im Bank portfolio, the initiative aims to approve at least $30 billion in small-business transactions during the five-year period of the NEI. To reach these benchmarks, Ex-Im Bank is offering new financing and insurance products -- such as Express Insurance being used by Serverlift -- that complement existing Bank programs.

"Growing small-business exports is a top priority at the Bank," said Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg [pictured]. "The U.S. economy will not grow without exports, and we will not reach our export potential without the participation of small business. Through Global Access, we can make sure that more small businesses are selling more products, to more customers in more countries -- and, in the process, growing their business and adding new workers to their payrolls."

The Global Access initiative also includes extensive outreach. Since the beginning of 2011, when Global Access began, there have been 16 public forums across the country that have attracted over 2,000 small-business owners who have learned about the export resources available from a range of government agencies and private organizations. In addition, Ex-Im Bank has sponsored monthly webinars for hundreds of exporters that feature various financing products.

"Ninety-five percent of the world's customers live outside of the U.S., and the best way to reach them is through exports," said Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "Working with the Ex-Im Bank, America's small businesses have a golden opportunity to increase their sales, expand into the global marketplace, and create jobs at home at a time when we really need it.

"Global Access forums provide a platform for small businesses to receive guidance on how to enter new markets and increase sales by exporting."

The other leading private-sector partner for Global Access is the National Association of Manufacturers [NAM], the nation's largest manufacturing association. NAM has increasingly played a role in the nation's economic progress as President Obama recently noted that the development of the manufacturing sector is essential in creating more U.S. jobs. Significantly, the association's support of Ex-Im Bank's effort to reach small businesses has paralleled this progress.

"Expanding U.S. manufactured goods exports is vital to creating new manufacturing jobs and growing the economy," stated Jay Timmons, president and CEO of NAM. "Improved access for trade financing is essential for manufacturers to grow exports. Through our partnership with the Global Access initiative, we have been able to help small and medium-sized manufacturers expand into new markets, getting us closer to the goal of doubling exports by 2014."

Ex-Im Bank -- an independent, self-sustaining federal agency -- helps create and maintain American jobs by filling gaps in export financing and strengthening U.S. export competitiveness. The Bank has generated $3.4 billion for U.S. taxpayers over the past 5 years.

In the first eight months of fiscal year 2011, Ex-Im Bank approved $20.3 billion in total financing authorizations -- a 25% increase since fiscal year 2010 -- supporting $26 billion in U.S. export sales plus more than 175,000 American jobs in communities across the country. During the same period in fiscal year 2010, Ex-Im Bank approved $16.3 billion, supporting $19.9 billion in U.S. export sales and 137,000 American jobs.

For more information, visit Ex-Im Bank's Web site at

Global Access forums have been held in the following locations: Manchester, N.H.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Lafayette, La.; Kansas City, Mo.; Los Angeles, Cal.; Denver, Colo.; Long Island, N.Y.; West Long Branch, N.J.; Miami, Fla.; Wilmington, Del.; San Leandro, Cal.; Wichita, Kan.; Charlotte, N.C.; Providence, R.I.; and Clinton, Md.

Global Access partners include: U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Department of Commerce [U.S. Commercial Service], the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative [USTR], U.S. Small Business Administration [SBA], National Association of Manufacturers [NAM], FedEx, Wall Street Journal, PNC Bank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo Bank, and HSBC Bank USA, N.A.

SOURCE: Ex-Im Bank

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SBA Urges Disaster Survivors to Beware of Recovery Scams

The U.S. Small Business Administration is urging disaster victims seeking federal aid to be alert to scam artists posing as federal officials, and to be cautious about any solicitations for fees to perform services that are available from federal agency staff for free.

In the wake of widespread flooding, wildfires and tornadoes in many areas across the country over the past few months, the SBA is particularly concerned about flyers that have appeared in tornado-damaged areas asking for non-refundable fees of up to $450 to help disaster victims fill out their loan applications, and as much as $1,000 to verify losses and file loan applications.

Federal agencies involved in disaster recovery will never ask for a fee or payment to file an application for financial assistance, or to inspect damaged property.

"Historically, natural disasters bring out the very best in people, and there are countless stories of the selfless acts of helpful neighbors and volunteers," said SBA Administrator Karen Mills [pictured]. "Unfortunately, in the past, we have also seen individuals who attempt to take advantage of people who need assistance. Disaster survivors should be vigilant in protecting their personal assets, particularly in the stressful environment of a disaster recovery.

"The SBA will not tolerate the defrauding of those who have already lost so much in the aftermath of these devastating disasters. Those who are found taking advantage of disaster victims will be prosecuted to the fullest extent provided by law."

If you suspect a person is posing as a local or federal agent, or encounter what you believe are fraudulent activities connected with disaster relief operations, contact your local law enforcement officials; phone the toll-free National Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721; or, send an e-mail to The phone line is staffed by a live operator 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

To register for federal help after a disaster declaration, visit; or, call FEMA at 800-621-3362 [800-426-7585 for the speech- or hearing-impaired].

Disaster survivors may also visit one of the local recovery centers to get help with filing for assistance. To get help with the disaster loan application, contact the SBA by e-mail at; or, by calling 800-659-2955 [800-877-8339 for those with speech or hearing disabilities].

Those affected by recent disasters may also file a loan application online by visiting SBA’s secure website at

The SBA makes low-interest, taxpayer-backed disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses and nonprofit organizations of all sizes. More information about SBA's disaster assistance program is available at

SOURCE: U.S. Small Business Administration

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tickets Now on Sale for 2011 Life is good® Festival; Fundraiser Helps Kids Face Life-Threatening Challenges

GoodBiz113 profilee Life is good® ["Life is good® Festivals Unite Communities, Help Kids Face Unfair Challenges"] is excited to announce the lineup for its 2011 Life is good Festival.

Set to take place Sept. 24-25 in Canton, Mass., a suburb of Boston, the multi-faceted fundraiser combines world-class headliners and nationally known musical talent on three stages, including several of today's most popular children's performers. This one-of-a-kind festival aims to raise $1 million to benefit the Life is good Playmakers, the action arm of the Life is good Kids Foundation.

The two-day music and fundraising festival is hosted by Life is good®, a Boston-based company that spreads the power of optimism through its colorful collection of apparel and accessories and through its social mission to help kids overcome life-threatening challenges.

The annual event will make its return to historic and picturesque Prowse Farm at the foot of the Blue Hills, just minutes from Boston. Once again, Life is good has partnered with Superfly Presents, nationally-recognized producers of the iconic Bonnaroo and Outside Lands festivals to assure a first-class festival experience for all ages.

The 2011 Life is good Festival will feature national headlining artists Ray LaMontagne, The Avett Brothers, Michael Franti and Spearhead, The Levon Helm Band, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Brandi Carlile, Martin Sexton, Raphael Saadiq, Ingrid Michaelson and The Hold Steady, as well as The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Maceo Parker, Tristan Prettyman, The Ryan Montbleau Band, Zee Avi, Dwight and Nicole, and Jenny Dee and the Deelinquents.

Kindie rock superstars Imagination Movers and The Laurie Berkner Band will headline the Good Kids Stage, alongside special kids' performances from Keller Williams and local favorite Ben Rudnick and Friends. The full talent line-up is listed below, and complete festival information can be found at

While the festival features great music, an array of games and activities, diverse local food, and hands-on art projects, the goal of the weekend is to create a community of fundraisers. Each ticket buyer will be directed to a personal fundraising page that supports the Life is good Playmakers.

Festival-goers who raise funds will be rewarded with exclusive backstage hospitality, preferred concert viewing, artist meet-and-greets, plus other prizes. These fundraisers will be called VGPs -- i.e., Very Good People -- and will have a truly amazing concert experience.

Tickets for the 2011 Life is good Festival went on sale on June 16, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. Visit to purchase tickets and register to fundraise for the event. Adult single-day tickets are $65; $120 two-day tickets are also available. Tickets for children ages 2-12 are available for $20 for a single-day tickets and $35 for a two-day ticket. Children under 2 are admitted free of charge.

"The 2010 Life is good Festival set a new standard for all-ages entertainment, while raising significant funds for the Life is good Kids Foundation," said Bert Jacobs, chief executive optimist for Life is good. "In 2011, we are looking to build on this success by raising even more funds to help kids in need. We are so excited about the line-up, and look forward to everyone engaging in the fundraising effort to make this the most successful Life is good festival to date."

Life is good has raised over $6.5 million for kids in need since 2003. The Life is good Kids Foundation is a registered 501[c][3] nonprofit committed to helping children overcome life-threatening challenges, such as violence, illness, extreme poverty and natural disasters.

Its Playmakers initiative provides innovative training and support to the frontline child-care professionals dedicated to helping these children, so that all involved lead healthier, more joyful lives. To date, the Life is good Playmakers have trained more than 2,500 Playmakers across the country who have provided joyful, healing play to over 130,000 kids.

The site for the festival -- Prowse Farm in Canton -- is a historic 44-acre property managed by the Friends of Prowse Farm, a nonprofit volunteer organization. The property is located at the gateway of the Blue Hills Reservation, public parkland that has been set aside for recreational use.

Prowse Farm is fully accessible via public transportation, with all-day shuttles to and from the nearby Rte. 128/University Avenue train station. A large number of free parking spots are also available.

For more information on the Life is good Company, the Life is good Kids Foundation and the Life is good Festival, please visit

About the Life is good Company
The Life is good Company, based in Boston, Mass., spreads a fresh outlook on life with its colorful collection of apparel and accessories, and through its social mission to help kids overcome life-threatening challenges. For more information on Life is good, please visit

About the Life is good Kids Foundation
The Life is good Kids Foundation is an accredited 501[c][3] public charity whose mission is to help children overcome life-threatening challenges -- including violence, illness, extreme poverty and natural disasters. Through its action arm, Life is good Playmakers, it provides training and support to the adults dedicated to caring for these children, so that all involved lead healthier, more joyful lives.

More than $6.5 million has been raised to date for children in need, principally through Life is good Festivals and the 100% of profits that the Life is good Company donates to the Foundation from nationwide sales of select products. For more information, visit

About Superfly Presents
Superfly Presents was founded in New Orleans in 1996 by Kerry Black, Rick Farman, Richard Goodstone and Jonathan Mayers. Originally set up to become the leading independent local concert promoter, they created the Superfly During JazzFest series, which is now in its 14th year.

In 2002, they co-founded and continue to produce the iconic Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. Since its inception in 2002, Bonnaroo swiftly earned its status as the country's premier music and arts event, and Rolling Stone called the festival "one of the 50 moments to change the history of rock and roll."

In 2008, Superfly co-founded the acclaimed San Francisco-based Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival.

The company has also created the Superfly Marketing Group, a boutique entertainment-marketing agency designed to complement Superfly's diverse divisions. Superfly Marketing Group leverages the company's experience, expertise and industry relationships to develop brand partnerships geared towards the passionate entertainment and lifestyle consumer.

SOURCE: Life is good®
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Friday, June 17, 2011

Artist George Rodrigue Creates LSU-Clad Blue Dog Print to Raise Funds for New Arts4Education, to Benefit Arts and Education in Louisiana

This just in: GoodBiz113 profilee George Rodrigue ["Louisiana Artist Brings Post-Katrina [Blue Dog] Relief to New Orleans"] has created a special print -- "A Number One Tiger Fan" [pictured] -- to raise funds for his new Arts4Education campaign, to promote the arts and education in Louisiana.

Measuring 31" x 22", the open-edition silkscreen print is signed by Rodrigue, and retails for $500 plus tax and S/H. Proceeds from sales of the "A Number One Tiger Fan" print will benefit the LSU Museum of Art, George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts, LSU Tiger Athletic Foundation and LSU.

For a behind-the-scenes account of this fundraising campaign, read the latest post on "Musings of an Artist's Wife," Wendy Rodrigue's blog:

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

Suggested Reading & Viewing: "The Art of George Rodrigue" ^AF

Thursday, June 16, 2011

DOE Offers Support for Innovative Manufacturing Plant That Will Produce High-Quality Solar Silicon at Low Cost, Generate Over 2,000 Jobs in Ohio

Today, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the offer of a conditional commitment for a $275 million loan guarantee to Calisolar Inc. to commercialize the company's innovative solar silicon manufacturing process.

Calisolar's process should produce silicon for use in solar cells at less than half the cost of traditional polysilicon purification processes, which will reduce the overall cost of solar modules and panels. At full production, the manufacturing plant is expected to produce 16,000 metric tons [MT] of solar silicon annually, equivalent to more than two gigawatts of solar power generation per year.

The project will be built in three phases of 5,333 MT capacity each, and is expected to be located in a former General Motors stamping plant in Ontario, Richland County, Ohio. Calisolar estimates that the facility will generate, at its peak, nearly 1,100 permanent jobs, and up to 1,000 construction jobs.

"This innovative manufacturing process offers significant competitive advantages that will help the U.S. to out-innovate and out-compete our global competitors," said Secretary Chu [pictured]. "This project is part of our commitment to supporting important innovations that create jobs, strengthen our manufacturing base and position the nation as a global solar leader."

The project will manufacture solar silicon from lower-cost metallurgical-grade silicon feedstock that is then upgraded using Calisolar's proprietary silicon purification process. The company's unique process uses significantly less energy to produce solar silicon that performs as well as polysilicon products made from more expensive and energy-intensive traditional processes, with capital equipment and construction costs approximately one-sixth that of traditional polysilicon plants.

Calisolar is helping achieve the goals of the SunShot Initiative by lowering the cost of their solar cells through the use of less pure silicon, the raw material for solar cells. Their vertically integrated process -- from raw materials processing, all the way through solar cell production --uses lower-cost [50% less expensive], lower-quality materials while maintaining high-efficiency devices.

This work was supported by DOE through funding for the University of California at Berkeley, and through $3 million from the PV Incubator Program -- which leveraged $6.6 million in private-industry cost share and was run through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

DOE's Loan Programs Office administers three separate programs: the Title XVII Section 1703 and Section 1705 loan guarantee programs, and the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing [ATVM] loan program. The loan guarantee programs support the deployment of commercial technologies, along with innovative technologies that avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gas emissions. ATVM supports the development of advanced vehicle technologies.

Under all three programs, DOE has issued loans, loan guarantees or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees totaling over $33 billion to support 34 clean energy projects across the United States.

DOE has also issued conditional commitments or loan guarantees to support numerous other projects -- including four of the world's largest solar generation facilities, two geothermal projects, the world's largest wind farm, and the nation's first new nuclear power plant in three decades.

For more information, please visit the Loan Programs Office website:

GoodBiz113's Take
DOE's just-announced investment in Calisolar Inc. has great potential to boost America's competitiveness in solar energy. Further, it will help generate much-needed manufacturing and construction jobs in Ohio.

Chalk it up as yet another win-win endeavor by the Obama Administration to simultaneously spur economic development and fuel advances in developing solar-energy technologies.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy [EERE]
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Friday, June 10, 2011

Department of Energy Announces Up to $36 Million to Support Development of Drop-In Biofuels and Bioproducts

As part of the Obama Administration's efforts to cut foreign oil imports, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu today announced up to $36 million to fund six small-scale projects -- in California, Michigan, North Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin -- to advance the technology improvements and process integration needed to produce drop-in advanced biofuels and other valuable bio-based chemicals.

The projects aim to improve the economics and efficiency of biological and chemical processes that convert non-food biomass feedstocks into replacements for petroleum-based feedstocks, products, and fuels. These selections further the Obama Administration's strategy for accelerating research and development that will lead the way toward affordable, clean alternatives to fossil fuels and diversify our nation's energy portfolio.

"Projects such as these are helping us to diversify our energy portfolio and decrease our dependence on foreign oil," said Secretary Chu [pictured]. "Together with our partners, the Department is working hard to expand the clean-energy economy, creating jobs in America and providing sustainable replacements for the fuels and products now provided primarily by petroleum."

The funding announced today will help diversify DOE's Biomass Program portfolio to include a breadth of fuels and chemicals beyond cellulosic ethanol and ensure that the Department's research and development on biofuels remains integrated and strategic.

The following projects were selected:

* General Atomics Fusion Energy Research [up to $2.0 million -- San Diego, Cal.]: The proposed project aims to reduce energy, capital, and operational cost for algal fermentation processes. This will increase production of algal oils, which can be further refined into advanced biofuels.

* Genomatica Inc. [up to $5.0 million -- San Diego, Cal.]: This project will deliver an engineered organism and optimized fermentation process to enable the conversion of cellulosic sugars to the valuable industrial chemical, 1,4-butanediol [BDO]. Such technology will enhance the commercial profitability of integrated biorefineries by enabling co-production of high-volume fuels and the higher-margin commodity chemical, BDO.

* Michigan Biotechnology Institute -- AKA MBI International [up to $4.3 million -- Lansing, Mich.]: The project will focus on improvements to a pretreatment process, which provides a stable, conversion-ready intermediate of consistent quality at a cost and in a format compatible with long-term storage and ease of transfer between multiple modes of transportation.

* HCL CleanTech Inc. [up to $9.0 million -- Oxford, N.C.]: This project will develop and demonstrate process improvements for pretreatment, conversion to sugars, and subsequent conversion of those sugars to fuels. The complete integrated process will use concentrated hydrochloric acid hydrolysis to convert pre-extracted biomass feedstocks, including wood waste, into fermentable sugars, and then further convert the sugars into diesel products.

* Texas Engineering Experiment Station [up to $2.3 million -- College Station, Tex.]: The focus of this project will be on developing a novel pretreatment for cellulosic biomass feedstocks using a combination of chemical and mechanical processing. Once the cellulosic feedstock has been pretreated it can be converted into biofuels, including hydrocarbons.

* Virent Energy Systems Inc. [up to $13.4 million -- Madison, Wis.]: The overarching objective of this project is to develop a fully integrated process that can efficiently and cost effectively convert a cellulosic biomass feedstock, such as corn stover, to a mix of hydrocarbons ideally suited for blending into jet fuel.

Final funding amounts are subject to negotiation.

About DOE's Biomass Program
DOE's Biomass Program works with industry, academia, and national laboratory partners on a balanced portfolio of research in biomass feedstocks and conversion technologies.

For more information on DOE's Biomass Program, visit the Biomass Program website:

GoodBiz113's Take
DOE's just-announced Biomass Program investments will boost American competitiveness in the biofuels industry and lower the cost of clean, renewable energy. Further, they'll generate much-needed jobs.

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

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy [EERE]
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Thursday, June 09, 2011

Landrieu Votes Against Snowe Regulatory Amendment, Citing Lack of Congressional Review

Today, United States Sen. Mary L. Landrieu [D-La., pictured], chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, voted against a regulatory reform amendment by Sen. Olympia J. Snowe [R-Maine], ranking member of the Small Business Committee.

The Freedom from Restrictive Excessive Executive Demands and Onerous Mandates Act of 2011, S. AMDT 390, reforms the regulatory process to ensure that small businesses are free to compete and to create jobs, and for other purposes. It was opposed by numerous Senate committees because of the lack of congressional input in the ongoing efforts to provide regulatory relief for small businesses.

"Every day, small-business owners come to my office asking for regulatory relief, and I am committed to removing unnecessary burdens that get in the way of the day-to-day operations of businesses," said Landrieu. "This amendment, however, has yet to have a single Congressional hearing. Because Sen. Snowe’s amendment reaches so far outside of the realm of small business, it seems irresponsible for us to move forward unless it goes through the entire process.

"There have been at least four other regulatory reform bills filed this Congress, and I know the chair of the committee of jurisdiction is doing everything he can to schedule a full hearing in the near future.

"I recognize that some federal regulations are a burden on small businesses. I agree it is important to streamline them -- but there is a time and a place to deal with that issue.

"I have tried to be helpful to my colleague. Last summer, when the Small Business Jobs Act was pending here in the Senate, I personally worked with my ranking member to include several of her provisions on regulatory relief into that bill, now law."

Snowe filed a similar amendment to S. 493, the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011. During negotiations of S. 493, Landrieu offered to hold a hearing on Sen. Snowe’s regulatory reform amendment through the Small Business Committee, but Snowe declined. After five weeks of debate and 150 filed amendments, efforts to end debate and pass the long-term reauthorization of this important small-business program failed.

SOURCES:, Library of Congress, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, U.S. Small Business Administration

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Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Artist George Rodrigue Creates Latest Painting in Front of Audience at Alexandria Museum of Art

As temperatures climb toward 100 degrees [yes, even here on the "Minnesota tundra"], we've just learned that GoodBiz113 profilee George Rodrigue ["Louisiana Artist Brings Post-Katrina [Blue Dog] Relief to New Orleans"] has created a most timely painting, "100 Degrees Hot This Summer" [pictured].

Measuring 48x36, the acrylic on canvas work was created last weekend in front of an audience at Louisiana's historic Alexandria Museum of Art, where the featured George Rodrigue: Saga of the Acadians exhibition runs through July 1.

For a compelling account of this uncharacteristic painting demonstration, read the latest post on "Musings of an Artist's Wife," Wendy Rodrigue's blog:

Oh, and to catch up on the latest developments about 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

Suggested Reading: "The Art of George Rodrigue" ^AF

SBA's Free Online Tool Helps Small Businesses Develop an Export Business Plan

Small businesses interested in starting or expanding sales of their goods and services overseas now have access to a new, free online tool that will gauge their readiness to export and help them develop an export business plan.

The Export Business Planner, developed by the U.S. Small Business Administration, offers a ready-made, customizable and easily accessible document that can be updated and referenced continuously as the business grows.

The Planner, located at, allows users to:
* Determine their export readiness;
* Learn about training and counseling opportunities;
* Complete worksheets for global market research;
* Obtain financing information and options;
* Customize export marketing plans, and;
* Access resources for exporters

"Creating jobs through exporting is one of the nation’s top economic priorities, as the President indicated when he launched the National Export Initiative," said SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills [pictured]. "Giving exporters the tools to do their part in this effort is essential. The new Export Business Planner is one such tool and will serve businesses in the critical process of planning for their success."

The Planner is a PDF file that can be easily downloaded, accessed, customized and updated every time you use it. It features an extensive compilation of export research and information -- including quick links to websites, video profiles, training podcasts, trade statistics, contact information to counseling resources such as SCORE and SBDCs, a list of current SBA lenders, plus much more.

The tool is organized in comprehensive chapters that are cross-linked and indexed for efficiency and easy access to related topics.

The chapters include:
* Introduction to Exporting
* Training and Counseling
* Getting Started: Creating an Export Business Plan
* Developing your Marketing plan
* Financing your Export Venture
* Accounting Worksheets: Costing, Financial Forecasting and Product Pricing
* Utilizing Technology for Successful Exporting
* Your New Marketing Plan: Summary, Timeline
* Updates, Transportation and Documentation

A distinct and very useful feature of the Planner is the customizable worksheets. These documents provide templates for developing your export business plan; conducting business assessments and foreign market research; creating your marketing plan; costing and sale projections; goal-setting; and much more.

Additional SBA Programs Available
For more information about all of the SBA’s programs for small businesses, call the SBA Answer Desk at 1-800 U ASK SBA; or, TDD 704-344-6640. Or, visit the SBA’s website at

SOURCES: U.S. Small Business Administration, The White House

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Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Business Community Launches Support for Missouri Disaster

Though survivors of the deadly May 22 tornadoes in Joplin have lost much, one company seeks to ease their burden by providing self-service storage services. A community partner with the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA], U-Haul Co. of Missouri offers 30 days of free storage to tornado survivors in Joplin.

U-Box Portable Storage units can be delivered to the customer’s location or may be picked up at the U-Haul store located at 2521 E. 7th St., Joplin, Mo., according to Kevin Neighbors, president of U-Haul Co. of Missouri.

Once filled, the company will store the 280-square-foot containers in its secure warehouse or deliver containers to a site of the customer’s choice, Neighbors explained. For the cost of delivery from Springfield, the company will provide the storage services for 30 days, free of charge.

Additionally, the company offers its Take-a-Box, Leave-a-Box program to survivors. Customers may return reusable boxes and take others as needed at no cost. Neighbors encourages those with any type of reusable box to drop it off at the nearest U-Haul location for re-use by others.

"U-Haul’s survivor program is a fine example of FEMA working with its community partners,” explained Libby Turner, FEMA federal coordinating officer for the Missouri disaster. "FEMA intergovernmental specialists are working right alongside Joplin business partners as part of a team effort toward Joplin’s recovery."

"The intense tornadoes have caused a tremendous amount of damage to the communities we serve," Neighbors said. "I hope this effort will help provide assistance to families that need support. We will do our best to help our friends and neighbors in this time of need."

For more information, call U-Haul Co. of Missouri at 1-800-255-5953.