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Financial Education


  • Submitted on 13 July 2015

    Created on July 13, 2015
     

    Apple & OrangeAfter the recent financial crisis, traditional banks are more reluctant than ever to fund small businesses. Entrepreneurs need not be discouraged though, as a new trend has emerged in the world of finance: “alternative lending.” What exactly is alternative lending and is it right for your business? Here are some resources to help demystify the latest options in small business financing.

    “Alternative Lending” Defined

    You may walk through open doors of your local bank only to hit a brick wall. According to this Alternative Lending e-guide, traditional banks decline up to 80% of small business loan applications.

  • Submitted on 23 June 2015

    Created on June 23, 2015
     

    CrowdfundingThis is a guest blog post by Erin El Issa, a Content Writer for NerdWallet.  NerdWallet is focused on helping people lead better lives through financial education and empowerment. NerdWallet has featured MBDA on a recent Google Hangout and is engaged in sharing resources with the MBDA network.  A series of shared blogs will feature content provided by NerdWallet staff as part of MBDA’s continued support for Small Business Week 2015.

    In recent years, crowdfunding has become a popular way to fund small business endeavors for those who aren’t independently wealthy. But how does it work? Here’s what you need to know about crowdfunding and how to get started if you want to start or fund a project.

  • Submitted on 01 June 2015

    Created on June 1, 2015
     

    On May 6th, NerdWallet hosted a Google Hangout with U.S. Department of Commerce representatives from the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA).  On behalf of the agency, Carmen West and Nick Perkins, of MBDA’s Access to Capital team, spoke with Cindy Yang, a small business expert at NerdWallet about how MBDA helps minority-owned businesses to grow in size and capacity.

    San Francisco-based NerdWallet hosted the conversation as part of a mission to provide clarity on all of life’s financial decisions. To that end, NerdWallet provides various educational materials and tools for small businesses to use when tackling financial, legal and tax challenges.

  • Submitted on 28 May 2015

    Created on May 28, 2015
     

    Online MatchmakingCash flow is the lifeblood of all small businesses. Across the nation, thousands of small firms are searching for term loans, equipment financing, lines of credit, invoice financing, and real estate loans to help them build their business and create new jobs. Finding a business loan can be time consuming, and often times frustrating and disappointing.

    Changes in technology have made the process of finding and securing a small business loan less tedious and time consuming. Online matchmaking services, pairing lenders with prospective borrowers, comprise a multibillion dollar industry. Examples include the TV commercial in which a creditworthy home buyer goes online and is delighted to find banks competing to finance her home. Small business lending is the next frontier for these online “matchmaking” services. Using the power of the Internet, commercial lenders are finding creditworthy business borrowers, while entrepreneurs are finding loan officers who are ready to sit down and talk specifics.

  • Submitted on 29 April 2015

    Created on April 29, 2015
     

    National Small Business WeekIn honor of National Small Business Week 2015, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency is teaming up with NerdWallet to host a Google Hangout on how minority-owned businesses can start and grow their companies.

    The online discussion will feature Carmen West and Nick Perkins, of MBDA’s Access to Capital team, and Cindy Yang, NerdWallet’s small business expert. During the discussion, the panelists will address how the MBDA helps minority-owned businesses expand, and Yang will discuss NerdWallet’s resources for small businesses just starting out.

    “MBDA’s Access to Capital team seeks to align with organizations that speak to America’s business owners and minority communities,” says Efrain Gonzalez, Associate Director, Office of Business Development. “MBDA is pleased to participate in this Google Hangout to share and discuss how our 44 business centers across the country provide capital resources that complement the services of NerdWallet and other organizations that provide resources to small businesses.”

    The Google Hangout will be broadcast live on NerdWallet’s Youtube channel. During the second half of the webinar, Perkins, West, and Yang will take questions from the audience through Twitter. Tweet questions using the hashtag #DreamSmallBiz to either @NerdWallet or @USMBDA.  

  • Submitted on 24 April 2015

    Created on April 24, 2015
     

    Credit CardsThere are various factors to consider when deciding to use credit for your business. The most crucial and overlooked component is can you afford to use it? Every business’s credit needs are different. Many small business owners have the misconception that if business credit is granted to them, they can afford to use it. Credit applications don’t ask what your business expenses are, whether or not your business equipment is outdated and needs to be replaced soon, or if you need to hire new employees, or how much is spent on advertising each month.

    So before you start applying for business credit or accept the first credit offer that comes in the mail, understand that there are three main points to consider before filling out an application. Let’s review these three key points below:

    Business Spending Patterns

    The first question to be addressed is how you intend to use your company’s credit. As a business do you plan to pay off the balance owing every month, or do you anticipate carrying a balance month to month? Do you plan to use your business credit for day to day purchases, or just for unforeseen expenses?

  • Submitted on 16 April 2015

    Created on April 16, 2015
     

    Financial LiteracyApril is National Financial Capability Month!

    According to the findings of a 2014 Intuit study, more than 40 percent of U.S. small businesses consider themselves financially illiterate. Yet, 81 percent handle their business’ finances. April is National Financial Capability Month, so now is a great time for small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs to brush up on their financial literacy skills.

    Whether you are a seasoned small business owner, a new small business owner or have dreams to be a future small business owner, it is inevitable that you will at some point have to deal with securing the capital to fund and/or expand your business venture.

    There are several financing options to explore when funding a small business such as loans, grants, venture capital, angel investors and crowd funding, but most small businesses rely on lenders to obtain the capital needed to open a business or to finance capital improvements.

  • Submitted on 05 March 2015

    Created on March 5, 2015
     

    Retirement PlanningThe U.S. Department of the Treasury created myRA (my Retirement Account), a new retirement account, to help people save for retirement. myRA is a simple, safe, and affordable way to take more control of your future. Here are the top questions employees have about myRA.

    What is myRA?

    myRA is a new type of Roth IRA* – a popular retirement savings tool – that has been specifically designed by the U.S. Treasury to address many of the most common barriers to saving, such as fees and minimum initial contributions. There is no cost to you to participate, and myRA carries no risk of losing money. The account stays with you when you change jobs, and if you have more than one job, you can contribute to it through multiple employers. myRA has no minimum contribution requirement, which means you can contribute the amount you choose.* And best of all, it’s easy to set up and manage.

    Who can sign up for myRA?

    myRA could be a good option if you don't have access to a retirement savings plan through your job. myRA follows Roth IRA rules so it is generally available to anyone who earns an annual income of less than $129,000 a year for individuals and $191,000 for married couples filing jointly.* You can set up direct deposit into your myRA through your employer.

  • Submitted on 11 February 2015

    Created on February 11, 2015
     

    The Internal Revenue Service has announced the launch of a new, online public directory of tax return preparers.

    Tax HelpThis searchable directory on IRS.gov will help taxpayers find a tax professional with credentials and select qualifications to help them prepare their tax returns.

    “This new directory will be a practical tool for the millions of Americans who rely on the services of a paid return preparer,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Taxpayers can also look to these tax professionals for help if they have questions about the new health care provisions on this year’s tax forms.”

    The directory is a searchable, sortable listing featuring:  the name, city, state and zip code of attorneys, CPAs, enrolled agents and those who have completed the requirements for the voluntary IRS Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP). All preparers listed also have valid 2015 Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTIN).

  • Submitted on 23 December 2014

    Created on December 23, 2014
     

    Did you know that the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) Program has been helping small business access capital for more than fifty years?

    What’s the SBIC Program?

    The Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) Program is a multi-billion dollar program that, in fiscal year 2013 alone, invested $3.5 billion in financing dollars to small businesses! So how does it work?

    SBIC flow chart depicts private investor funds and SBA funds funneling into SBICs funneling into small businesses

    SBICs are privately owned and managed investment funds. They’re licensed and regulated by SBA and use their own capital plus funds – borrowed with an SBA guarantee – to make equity and debt investments in qualifying small businesses.

 

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