WASHINGTON – Smart phone users interested in starting or growing a small business can now find helpful resources at their fingertips via a new SBA mobile application from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
“Increasingly, smart phones are the vehicle through which Americans access information. This is certainly true of many entrepreneurs and small business owners and this new application ensures they will have access to SBA’s resources and programs – literally at their fingertips,” said SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills.
The mobile app will help users connect with SBA district office staff and SBA-affiliated counselors and mentors who can provide free, personalized small business assistance. The user-friendly format of the app will help answer questions such as: How do I start a business? Where can I go in my area to get free help with writing a business plan? And where do I begin finding funding for my business?
The SBA mobile app also features a built-in startup cost calculator to help estimate the costs associated with getting a business off the ground, plus an SBA partner locator to help users find SBA offices, Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers and SCORE.
Users will also have mobile access to SBA video content and social media alerts to provide them with tips on the go. This will include live updates from the SBA’s YouTube channel and from SBA’s Twitter feeds. The free mobile app can be downloaded from the SBA’s website at www.sba.gov/content/sba-mobile-app.
Mercy Corps Northwest will be honored to accept two awards from the Small Business Administration this May. The Women’s Business Center at Mercy Corps Northwest has won recognition as the top office in our region (Pacific Northwest). In addition, our own Leslie Bevan, Director of the Women’s Business Center, will be given the “Women in Business Champion” award for her tireless efforts advocating for female-owned businesses.
The Women’s Business Center at Mercy Corps Northwest is responsible for the majority of educational programming, including the Business Foundations Course and evening Business Seminar program. Click here to learn more about the Women’s Business Center.
More than a dozen Oregon companies and individuals will be recognized by the Small Business Administration during SBA Portland‘s upcoming Small Business Week awards gala.
“The small business winners and champions are an incredible group of people and I am honored to acknowledge and celebrate them,” said Robert S. DuCote, acting district director for the agency. “The award-winning lenders provided critical support to hundreds of small business owners and entrepreneurs, doing their part to help stimulate economic growth and job creation.”
The gala runs from 5 to 9 p.m. May 12 at the Oregon Convention Center. For more information, contact Sylvia Gercke at 503-326-5122 or Sylvia.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winners & champions
Small Business Person of the Year for Oregon: John W. Lavrakas, president, Advanced Research Corp., Newport
Small Business Development Center Service Excellence and Innovation Center Award: Guy Faust, director, Oregon Coast Community College SBDC, Lincoln City.
Entrepreneurial Success of the Year: Travis Boersma, president, Dutch Bros. Coffee, Grants Pass
District Impact Award: Irene Firmat, Full Sail Brewing Co., Hood River
Minority Small Business Champion of the Year for Oregon: Richard M. Inukai, president, Dick’s Auto Sales and Leasing, Hillsboro
Women in Business Champion of the Year for Oregon: Leslie Bevan, manager, Mercy Corps NW Women’s Business Center, Portland…
The SBA Portland announced today that it will continue and expand the e200 Emerging Leaders’ executive-level training initiative for small business entrepreneurs, to include Native American business owners.
“I am very excited to be hosting the e200 executive training initiative once again in Portland. The initiative is a challenging program that enables top small business executives to participate in an intensive and comprehensive curriculum. The focus will be on developing growth strategies (3-5 year plans, new markets), access to new capital to fuel growth; mentoring and other training to target potential contracts in the local and federal government arena. This initiative is designed to accelerate the growth of companies that are poised for sustained expansion,” said SBA Portland Acting District Director, Robert S. DuCote.
“Over the last few years e200 has been a catalyst for expanding opportunities for many promising small businesses in underserved communities – in particular those who have been most impacted by these tough economic times,” SBA Administrator Karen Mills said. “Graduates of the program have increased their revenue, created jobs and helped drive local economic growth in their communities. SBA’s commitment to not only continue, but expand the program, will build on this success and provide even more entrepreneurs in underserved communities with the support, resources and skills to succeed.”
Despite the recent recession/no growth economy, more than half of the businesses that have completed the e200 training have shown an increase in revenue of over $7 million. Nearly 60 percent have reported creating new jobs in their communities. Surveyed entrepreneurs also reported having secured nearly $10 million in new financing for their businesses, with an increase in confidence when applying for government contracts. As a result, post-trainees have reported securing nearly 500 federal, state and local contracts, worth more than $112 million.
Since its inception, e200 has identified business owners across the country who show a high potential for growth in underserved markets—and provided them with the training, networking, resources and motivation required to expand operations and create jobs.
This initiative for entrepreneurs in underserved markets has been a catalyst for expanding opportunities for both urban small business owners and, more recently in 2010, added emphasis on Native American communities. There were 121 urban area graduates in 2010 and 125 from Native American communities, with the combined 246 graduates representing the largest graduating class since the e200 initiative began in 2008.
The nine-month training includes approximately 100 hours of classroom time per participant and provides the opportunity for small business owners to work with experienced mentors, attend workshops and develop connections with their peers, city leaders, and financial community. Last year the Portland District of the SBA successfully graduated 16 businesses from the program.
The United States Government has developed a new section on the export.gov website to help people get started with Exports.
“Begin Exporting” outlines an easy-to-follow six-step process for entering the world of exporting. The first step is a self-assessment. Depending on the assessment score, small businesses are referred to specific training and counseling programs (Step 2). Steps 3-6 include: Create an Export Business Plan; Conduct Market Research; Find Buyers; and Investigate Financing Your Small Business Exports, Foreign Investments or Projects.
If you are considering starting to export, take the self-assessment, and you will be directed to the appropriate next step.
Did you know how to get the new small business health care tax credit? This benefit from the recently passed Affordable Care Act can make a big difference in keeping the cost of business down. The following is excerpted from an open letter written by Karen Mills from the Small Business Administration.
“The most immediate benefit of the Affordable Care Act is a tax credit that will help America’s smallest employers…who have been hit hardest by premium increases in recent years. Today, the Administration is releasing a one-page form and instructions (available here) on how to claim this credit for the 2010 tax year. …In each case, the Administration has worked to ensure that a broad range of small businesses can qualify.
These credits are available for tax years 2010 through 2013 and for any two years after that. Through 2013, the maximum tax credit is 35 percent of premiums paid by small employers and 25 percent for eligible tax-exempt organizations. Beginning in 2014, those levels increase to 50 percent and 35 percent, respectively. Importantly, these credits are just one of many benefits in the Affordable Care Act. Most notably, in 2014, firms with up to 100 workers will be able to pool their buying power and reduce their administrative costs by purchasing coverage through a health insurance exchange.
Finally, the new law strengthens America’s entrepreneurial spirit, overall. For example, it outlaws discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions, giving more Americans the ability to break out of “job lock” and start their own companies. The new law also prohibits insurance companies from dramatically increasing premiums for a small business just because one worker gets sick.
Overall, the Affordable Care Act is a critical tool that will help millions of small business owners provide health insurance to people who you often consider to be members of your extended family – your employees. As a nation, we owe you nothing less as you work to grow, create jobs, and lead us toward full economic recovery…”