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Created on January 30, 2014
This post originally appeared on NIST Baldrige Award.
Applications are now being accepted for the 2014 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s highest Presidential honor for performance excellence. Organizations can apply for awards in three business sectors—manufacturing, small business and service—along with health care, education and nonprofit (including government agencies).
All applicants will be evaluated rigorously by an independent board of examiners in seven areas defined by the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence: leadership; strategic planning; customer focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce focus; operations focus; and results. To purchase the 2013-2014 Criteria, go to www.nist.gov/baldrige/publications/criteria.cfm.
Created on January 27, 2014
Small businesses that suffered economic losses when the owner or a key employee was called up to active duty are eligible to apply for a low interest loan of up to $2 million from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Small businesses can apply for a Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan (MREIDL) any time from the date of notice of expected call-up and ending one year after the date of discharge or release. The program was created to enable eligible small businesses to pay operating expenses it could have covered if the owner or key employee hadn’t been called to active duty.
“The absence of just one employee whose expertise is critical to the success of the company can pose significant challenges for a small business,” said SBA Acting Administrator Jeanne Hulit.
“These Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loans provide funds that will help these small businesses cover operating expenses. This way our brave men and women in uniform don’t have to choose between serving their country and growing their businesses.”
The MREIDL is a direct working capital loan, managed by SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance. The interest rate on these working capital loans is 4 percent, with terms up to a maximum of 30 years. In general, no collateral is required to secure an MREIDL of $50,000 or less. The loan cannot be used to replace lost income or profits, refinance long-term debt or to expand the business.
Created on January 24, 2014
National Export Initiative Connects Businesses with World Markets
Did you know that according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data, minority-owned firms are twice as likely to export as other U.S.-owned businesses? The data indicates that minority-owned firms are best positioned to succeed and expand in the growing global economy. With 95 percent of the world’s consumers outside of the United States, exporting enables businesses to boost their bottom line while building their international competitiveness. For many U.S. firms, international diversification has enabled them to weather changes in the economy much better than if they had been selling only in their backyard.
That said, many more minority-owned firms could be exporting more. Many business owners that I meet don’t export, in part because they believe exporting is too burdensome, or they’re unaware of the various resources available to assist them. However, expanding your business through exporting is more viable today than ever before. If you have a good track record of selling in the United States, one of the most open and competitive markets in the world, you are likely a good candidate to make overseas sales.
In 2010, President Obama launched the National Export Initiative (NEI),aimed at expanding federal government-wide efforts to assist exporters while supporting millions of U.S. jobs. These efforts have helped contribute to record U.S. exports culminating in an all-time high of $2.2 trillion in 2012. As a result of the NEI, more and more businesses are taking advantage of key export tools and resources to expand their global market share.
Created on January 22, 2014
On October 23, 2013 the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted unanimously to propose rules under the JOBS Act to permit companies to offer and sell securities through crowdfunding.
Crowdfunding describes an evolving method of raising capital that has been used outside of the securities arena to raise funds through the Internet for a variety of projects ranging from innovative product ideas to artistic endeavors like movies or music. Title III of the JOBS Act created an exemption under the securities laws so that this type of funding method can be easily used to offer and sell securities as well. The JOBS Act also established the foundation for a regulatory structure for this funding method.
SEC Chair Mary Jo White noted that the intent of the JOBS Act is to make it easier for startups and small businesses to raise capital from a wide range of potential investors and provide additional investment opportunities for investors.
Created on January 17, 2014
One of the most effective ways to grow your business is also one of the oldest: networking. While it may not get as much buzz these days as social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, old-fashioned, face-to-face networking is still essential for building a business.
When we think of networking often times images of happy hour, spending an inordinate amount of time in the evenings at a restaurant or office building with a whole lot of chit chat that may yield little to no business at all. While this type of activity can seem tiresome and unnecessary, it can be a great way to get your business off the ground. This simple, cost-effective (sometimes FREE) way of advertising is a means of getting the word out about your business.