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Association for Enterprise Opportunity: Microbiz Monthly: April 2014

Friday, May 02, 2014  
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Microbiz Monthly: April 2014

Your guide to happenings from Main Street to Capitol Hill. News, events, policy updates and more.



"Microbusinesses make a much larger impact than they get credit for, making them a vital strategy to any solution for reinvigorating and sustaining broad-based economic growth. We argue they are worthy of continued advocacy for increases in financial investment and policy support." - Connie Evans, President and CEO, AEO


2014 National Microbusiness Conference


Keynote speakers announced!


Mitch Landrieu, Mayor, City of New Orleans


In 2010, Mayor Mitch Landrieu launched the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA), a first  ever public-private partnership to inspire economic development in Orleans Parish. The Mayor charged the Alliance with creating a strategic five-year plan, and last June, Mayor Landrieu and NOLABA unveiled Prosperity NOLA, the response to that charge. It is a living, actionable plan to drive economic growth across five key industries that will increase wealth and quality job opportunities for Parish residents.


AEO and Prosperity NOLA share common goals: drive job and wealth-creation opportunities. A sure path to that end is microbusiness.


There are 25.5 million microbusinesses in America. Although these businesses account for 92 percent of all U.S. businesses, and contribute to employing 41 million individuals, economic inequities and deficient standards for inclusion hinder many owners from accessing the critical services and capital they need to start or grow their businesses.


Mayor Landrieu will address the conference during the Microbusiness Champions Luncheon. We will be honoring New Orleans’s Microbusiness Champions, stalwarts who’ve endorsed the Prosperity NOLA vision, and in doing so, championed Main Street entrepreneurs.


Micro Capital Task Force Summit Keynote Address


Amias Gerety

Acting Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions,

U.S. Department of the Treasury




Guest Blog: Teaching Microbusinesses about Business Credit

By Judy Hackett, Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp.


As anyone who has helped small business owners knows, successfully growing a business involves a tricky mixture of focusing on short-term tactics, while maintaining a long-term strategy. 


In the short-run, small business owners usually have to jump through quite a few hoops, and one of those may be applying for a free D&B D-U-N-S® Number. Getting their DUNS is one of the steps needed for small businesses when applying for an SBA loan, attempting to land their first government contract, launching a business app, applying for a corporate supplier program or any other number of business activities that require a DUNS number.


Applying for a DUNS number is simple (and free) but what many business owners often don’t realize is that the creation of a DUNS number will trigger the creation of a business credit profile that will last for the lifetime of the business and can potentially have long-term implications on how that business is seen by others.

Read the full blog post Teaching Microbusinesses about Business Credit.


Judy will be speaking at the AEO National Conference during the Spotlight Series and also on the panel The Important and Changing Landscape of Business Credit.


Guest Blog: Meet the Speaker - Paige Chapel, President & CEO, CARS


I’m looking forward to being part of the 2014 AEO National Conference. And I’m especially excited about the panel discussion on how data and analysis can strengthen the microbusiness industry; specifically, microfinance. The organization I lead, CARS Inc., has identified a number of opportunities to help strengthen the field by attracting new funders and investors, and by creating tools to help microlenders become stronger and more efficient.


If you’re not familiar with CARS Inc., we are an information service for community investors—those seeking to create economic opportunities in underserved markets. (Some think of us as the Moody’s for community investing.) We provide data, due diligence, and advisory services to support underwriting and monitoring of community development financial institutions (CDFIs). CARS Inc. has been rating for CDFIs for 10 years, in that time issuing nearly 350 ratings reports on 90 CDFIs, including 24 microlenders.


Read the full blog post.


Paige will be a panelist in the session "How Big Data and Analysis Can Be Used to Strengthen the Microbusiness Industry".


Guest Blog: New Research Broadens Understandings of Microbusiness Financial Vulnerability


CFED is excited to release a study titled In Search of Solid Ground: Understanding the Financial Vulnerabilities of Microbusiness Owners. In 2013, with support from MasterCard’s Center for Inclusive Growth, CFED launched an effort to gather insights from business owners themselves, identifying their greatest challenges and informing the suite of solutions that might address them. The study sheds light on the many factors that contribute to or detract from microbusiness owners’ financial capability--a combination of knowledge, behaviors, and access and use of safe, appropriate financial products and services.


Findings from the study show that microbusiness owners’ business and personal finances are closely intertwined, and that they are dealing with significant financial vulnerabilities that reach far beyond access to credit. Going forward, CFED will engage partners in a national dialogue focused on moving from research to action.


Read the full blog post New Research Broadens Understandings of Microbusiness Financial Vulnerability.


Webinar Recap: Meet Your Loan Deployment Goals


Click here to access a pdf of the slides.

Click here to access a live recording.



Women Entrepreneurs Matter: Gallup and Sam's Club


Did you know that women-owned businesses are growing at a rate never seen before? The numbers don't lie.

Yesterday on CBS This Morning, our President & CEO Rosalind Brewer released new data from Sam's Club in collaboration with Gallup that shows women are 25 percent more likely to be owners of America's newest microbusinesses -- companies with five or fewer employees -- than they were 20 years ago. However, an astounding 67 percent still rely on personal savings for business financing.

It's never been clearer just how much supporting women matters.

Read on to learn about what Sam's Club is doing and about their just launched Microbusiness Tracker.


SBA Announces National Small Business Week


Aspiring entrepreneurs, small business owners and others are invited to attend the U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Week events held May 12-16, 2014.


Every year since 1963, the U.S. Small Business Administration takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from across the nation through National Small Business Week.  This year, events will take place across the country to engage the small business community and highlight their importance as innovators and job creators who strengthen the nation’s economy.


Activities will include forums and panels discussing trends in small business, business innovation, financing, growth, matchmaking events, as well as networking opportunities and award ceremonies.


Throughout the week there will also be webinars and other live events.  Interested individuals can register online at where additional information on National Small Business Week events will be made available.


SBA Improves Small Businesses Access to 7(a) and 504 Loan Programs; Enhances Job Creation


A new rule that took effect April 21 aims to make it easier for U.S. small businesses to secure loans through two SBA programs.


The Final Rule published by the SBA eliminates or revises several requirements for its two main loan programs, 7(a) and 504. The rule expands eligibility, makes it easier for small businesses to secure SBA-backed financing, and encourages job creation.


“These 504 and 7(a) program enhancements will expand program eligibility and improve access to capital for small businesses. Improvements in CDC corporate governance oversight enhance program integrity and encourages more local involvement,” said Ann Marie Mehlum, SBA Associate Administrator for the Office of Capital Access.


The changes include, but are not limited to:

  • Elimination of the personal resource test which benefits borrowers by adding flexibility in the management of their allocation of personal resources to the small business;
  • Elimination of the nine-month rule for 504 eligible project expenses which allows businesses a longer timeframe in which to organize and initiate their small business project;
  • Revised 504 loan program collateral requirements to allow Third Party Lender to take collateral in addition to Project collateral under certain conditions; and
  • Enhanced CDC corporate governance requirements to ensure more board accountability and to reduce risks to the SBA portfolio.


For the full text of the Final Rule as published on the Federal Register, visit


Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Announces Progress on 2014 Farm Bill Implementation


Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced significant progress on implementing the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill), which President Obama signed into law on February 7. The 2014 Farm Bill reforms agricultural policy, reduces the deficit, and helps grow the economy.


“We are making tremendous progress implementing the new Farm Bill,” said Secretary Vilsack. “This law is critically important to America’s farmers and ranchers and to our nation’s economy. Every USDA agency is working diligently to implement the Farm Bill’s new provisions quickly and effectively.”

With 12 titles and over 450 provisions, the Farm Bill drives food, farm, conservation, trade, research, energy policies and more. Implementing such a large piece of legislation within the mandated timeline requires a coordinated effort across all areas of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


USDA also launched a website that provides details on Farm Bill implementation in one convenient location and the Economic Research Service launched a website highlighting some of the economic implications of the new programs and provisions.


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