The fourth annual Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF) will be held in Atlanta, Georgia on November 14-16, 2010. The ACF brings together national leaders from the public and private sectors for high-level discussions on regional competitiveness and innovation, as it relates to business ventures, economic development and trade. This year’s theme for the ACF program is “Building a Prosperous and Sustainable Future for the Americas.”
The forum will primarily focus on green technologies, education and workforce development, entrepreneurship, small business development and trade facilitation. More than 1,000 leaders from the 34 nations of the Western Hemisphere will join Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke, in sharing new ideas on how to improve business in a variety of industries.
Also joining Secretary Gary Locke at the ACF is David A. Hinson, national director and Alejandra Castillo, national deputy director for the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). Both leaders will leverage the event to promote business-to-business opportunities between U.S. minority-owned firms and small and medium sized enterprises outside the United States.
On the heels of completing final approvals of loans to nearly 2,000 firms that has been in its loan queue waiting for final approval of the Small Business Jobs Act, the U.S. Small Business Administration has finished implementation of another major element of the bill: increasing maximum sizes in several of its loan programs.
The changes – effective today – are permanent for general small business loans under SBA’s 7(a) guaranteed loan program, fixed asset loans through the 504 Certified Development Company program, Microloans, and International Trade, Export Working Capital and Export Express loans. A temporary increase for SBA Express loans is good for one year.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk are visiting the Memphis, Tenn. area this week to meet with local businesses and discuss the opportunities and challenges of exporting. Locke and Kirk toured the FedEx Express Super Hub on Tuesday night where each day, millions of packages are moved through the hub to reach over 220 countries and territories around the world. They also held a rountable discussion on exports and the economy with small- and medium-sized businesses today to discuss President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI) and how it can help U.S. companies sell more of their goods and services overseas and support the creation of American jobs.