You are hereHome > Blog July 2012
Blog July 2012
US-Colombia FTA will increase opportunities for American exporters and create American jobs
This summer, the United States Department of Commerce, in conjunction with the State Department, held a webinar that outlined the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and explained what this historical agreement would mean to businesses in the United States.
Over 200 businesses registered for this webinar and had the opportunity to have their questions answered directly by the Ambassador to Colombia Michael McKinley, National Deputy Director of the Minority Business Development Agency, Alejandra Y. Castillo, and Michael Masserman, Executive Director for Export Policy, Promotion and Strategy at the International Trade Association. To help advance President Obama’s National Export Initiative, the presenters educated export-ready business owners about the potential of the U.S.–Colombia Free Trade Agreement. This Free Trade Agreement has massive potential for American business, as this new agreement could increase U.S. exports by $1.1 billion.
Why should American businesses (especially small ones!) care about exporting? Because through exports a company of any size can increase their sales, enter previously untapped markets, and strengthen the financial stability of their company. Most importantly, exporting is one of the key methods for putting Americans back to work. This is especially true for minority-owned businesses that are exploring other ways to employ American workers. Minority-owned businesses have a competitive advantage in global trade based on their cultural ties, language skills and nimbleness.
The 2007 Survey of Business Owners reveals that among firms with export sales representing 20 percent or more of their overall receipts, minority-owned businesses are twice as likely to export compared to non-minority firms. In addition, minority firms are more than three times as likely to have businesses generating 100 percent of all their sales in exports compared to non-minority respondent firms. This finding is quite substantial because it supports the Administration’s goal to double the nation’s exports by the end of 2014.
An online application that allows businesses to compare themselves to their competitors, locate their competition, customers, and suppliers, and find the best places to advertise and their developer team of four won the Commerce Department’s first prize and $5,000 in the nationwide Commerce Business Apps Challenge sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The winning apps use at least one Department of Commerce data set that assists businesses and/or improves the service delivery of Business.USA.gov to the business community. BusinessUSA is a centralized, one-stop platform to make it easier than ever for businesses to access services to help them grow and hire. All of these winners equip businesses with tools to be more competitive around the world, while creating jobs here at home.
The First Place winner, SizeUp, is a business intelligence tool that uses data from hundreds of sources including the Census Bureau, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, IRS records, county courthouse filings, Yellow Pages and White Pages, business publications, the U.S. Postal Service, and corporate annual reports to provide a comprehensive overview to small- and medium-sized business about their competitiveness and where to find resources to improve. This will improve the success of small businesses so they can prosper and create new jobs.
SBA Proposes Increases to Size Standards in Utilities, Construction, Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Sectors
The U.S. Small Business Administration is seeking comment on three proposed rules published today in The Federal Register that would revise the size definitions for small businesses in the Utilities; Construction; and Arts, Entertainment and Recreation sectors. The proposed revisions reflect changes in marketplace conditions.
The proposed rule for the Utilities sector will revise the size standard for nine industries. The rule proposes changing six of the industries dealing with electric power generation, distribution and transmission from revenue-based size standards to an employee based size standard of 500 employees.
It would also increase the size standards for the remaining three industries in the Utilities sector from $7 million to $25.5 million for water supply and irrigation systems, $7 million to $19 million for sewage treatment facilities, and $12.5 million to $14 million for steam and air conditioning supply. SBA estimates as many as 400 additional firms in this sector would become eligible for SBA programs as a result of these revisions.
“Myths” and “urban legends” persist in the public’s perception despite their obvious misinformation. This is true in the small business arena as well as in other facets of life.
These myths have a negative impact on small business success because legends can reinforce or encourage bad decisions by aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners - decisions that can be critical and sometimes fatal to the establishment or growth of the businesses. The myth-list is a long list, but these eight are the most common.
Myth #1: “I don’t need a written business plan - I have everything in my head.”
Reality check: For any new small business to enter the marketplace, the owners need a detailed business plan which lays out their target market, funding, organization, and anticipated revenue flow. A sound business plan is mandatory if the business is seeking a business loan or status as an 8(a) socially or economically disadvantaged company with the SBA. In addition, it prevents business owners from failing to accurately predict revenue, cash flow, and other critical items needed to survive.
It is human nature to be optimistic - it is much easier to be optimistic if the data is only in our minds. Sometimes ideas that seem great in concept present an entirely different picture when put down on paper.
The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), a job-creating agency, leads Federal efforts to promote the growth and global competitiveness of America’s minority business community. This summary includes a small portion of our overall accomplishments during the first three years of the Obama Administration.