The Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is seeking nominations for the 2017 National Medal of Technology and Innovation. The medal is presented each year by the President of the United States and is this country's highest award for technological achievement.
The medal is awarded annually to individuals, teams (up to four individuals), companies or divisions of companies for their outstanding contributions to America's economic, environmental and social well-being. By highlighting the national importance of technological innovation, the medal also seeks to inspire future generations of Americans to prepare for and pursue technical careers to keep America at the forefront of global technology and economic leadership.
Financial technology remains a hot topic for consumers, offering the possibilities of increased convenience and access to financial services at a lower cost. As part of its FinTech Forum series, the FTC continues to promote public discussion of the ways in which innovative FinTech services – many provided by non-banks and technology companies within the FTC’s jurisdiction – can benefit consumers and the potential issues for stakeholders to keep in mind. Like the first FinTech Forum on marketplace lending, the FTC’s second FinTech Forum brought government and industry participants, consumer advocates, and other stakeholders together. They discussed two evolving types of financial technology: peer-to-peer payment systems and crowdfunding platforms.
Peer-to-peer payment systems are online services – often mobile apps – that allow consumers to exchange money electronically. Millennials may account for the majority of early adopters, but as two panelists pointed out, people across all age groups use peer-to-peer payment systems and these services are expected to grow among older users. Some panelists touted the potential benefits that peer-to-peer payment services offer consumers, including convenience, speed, and the relatively low cost of sending money, and suggested that benefits like that could be particularly important to consumers in financial distress.
Each year, procurement from World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank-financed projects generate thousands of contract awards annually and provide opportunities for U.S. consultants, advisors and suppliers.
Did You Know...
- The World Bank implemented procurement reforms in 2016, moving from a 'lowest cost' to a 'fit for purpose' and 'value for money' model
- World Bank operations totaled $60 billion in 2015
- The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) has 26 member countries, all in Latin America and the Caribbean
This week is National Consumer Protection Week, but what the FTC does to protect consumers is only part of the story. We also work hard to help small business get down to business. Here are just a few examples of what we’re doing to protect your business from deceptive practices.
Fighting fraud that targets small business. Scammers have smaller companies in their sights. The FTC has gone to court to challenge the conduct of telemarketers who claimed to offer bargain rates on office supplies, but then allegedly overbilled small businesses and sent additional shipments without authorization. Or it may start with phony messages that companies are about to lose their URLs if they don’t fork over a renewal fee. Other fraudsters send fake invoices, hoping that busy workers will simply pay up. In a variation on the scheme, con artists call companies claiming they need to “verify” an order or a mailing address. If an unsuspecting employee confirms the contact information, the scammers later try to claim that’s “proof” the order was authorized. If business owners dare to fight back, they’re threatened with lawsuits, damaged credit – or worse.
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Procurement Center Representatives (PCRs) assist small businesses in obtaining federal contracts through six area offices across the U.S. and its territories. PCRs view many acquisition and procurement strategies before they are announced.
This enables them to influence opportunities that should be set-aside for small business concerns including all socio-economic categories of 8(a) (Small Disadvantaged Businesses), Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB), Economically Disadvantaged WOSB (EDWOSB), Service-connected Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDV), and Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) small businesses. As a result of this privilege they fall under the Procurement Integrity Act (PIA) and cannot divulge pre-solicitation information.