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by Marshall Kirby, Public Policy Analyst

President Obama recently announced a move which has garnered significant attention in the political and business communities.  The announcement amounts to a review of current regulations which the Federal government has placed on businesses and the way they operate.  This move has come as a bit of a surprise, but was not entirely unanticipated.  With the Democrats losing control in the House of Representatives and losing several seats in the Senate, and with the White House facing low approval ratings, most political insiders and commentators have expected Obama to adopt more centrist policies and work harder at improving a sputtering economy.

Since entering office, President Obama has been hit repeatedly from conservatives and the business lobby over concerns of higher taxes and a more encumbering regulatory environment as a result of health care reform and the proposed cap and trade legislation.  Last year, the Administration engaged in a very public battle with the US Chamber of Commerce over legislation with the US Chamber of Commerce accusing the President’s policies of being job killing and unfriendly to business.  Tom Donohue, the President and CEO of the US Chamber even went so far as to say that US based businesses were facing a threatening “regulatory tsunami” (Wingfield, Brian). Read the rest of this entry »

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Although we offer several financing solutions through our Chamber, sometimes you are going to need a little more.  However, in this tight market, venture capitalists are being careful, so perhaps some of the options in this article will help . . . (orginally posted here):

by Dileep Rao, PhD

Your small company isn’t sexy enough to entice venture capital nor does your collateral give skittish banks enough comfort. Bootstrapping aside, here are five often overlooked alternative sources of funding in this tough environment.

Local Development

This hodgepodge includes a host of intermediaries under the auspices of the Small Business Administration. Gaining prominence are Community Development Financial Institutions (previously known as Community Development Corporations); these entities have more resources to throw around thanks to sponsorship in recent years by the U.S. Treasury. Development programs tend to offer larger loans at lower rates than banks do, though you’ll be expected to create jobs (or at least maintain them) in the community.

Asset-Based Financing

A great source of working capital for companies that market to other businesses and to governments–but beware Read the rest of this entry »

from entrepreneur.com:

In the State of the Union address last night, President Barack Obama sent a message to small business owners: Your innovative ideas are key to recharging the American economy.

What wasn’t discussed much was the way the Obama administration plans to offer much of its stimulus for innovation. Recently passed legislation will shift much of the government’s funding for innovation into contests that award prizes, rather than straightforward grants.

The change came in the reauthorization of the America Competes Act, which was part of the crush of last-minute legislation passed at the end of last year. Where previously, much of the funds the federal government uses to reward innovative companies in science, technology, engineering, and related fields has been through a grant-application process, that’s changed now. Read the rest of this entry »

as posted here:

The past decade or so has seen explosive growth in the number of social entrepreneurs — innovators who take a business-like approach to solving social problems. NPR is profiling a number of these people this year.

NPR’s Larry Abramson looks at how the movement has matured — it’s even becoming a full-fledged academic discipline.

On a recent evening, a few dozen people gathered at a Washington, D.C., restaurant to share food, drinks — and ideas on how to attack some of the biggest problems on the planet, such as hunger in Africa and health care in India.

But this group isn’t made up of big-time diplomats or bureaucrats. Many head small organizations they started themselves.

The attendees were brought together by Ashoka, an organization that has been helping entrepreneurs launch themselves for 30 years. Among the attendees is a man who hopes to join this exclusive club.

Advocating For Music In Schools

David Wish, in his 40s with salt-and-pepper hair, is not fighting hunger or disease. But he is just as passionate about addressing another problem: the disappearance of music education from public schools. His organization, Little Kids Rock, is active in 26 cities. It helps provide instruments and music instruction to kids, at no cost to the schools. Read the rest of this entry »

The following article was posted in late December, however, we thought it deserved another read.  We especially liked the part about the Small Business Innovation and Research funding bill getting hijacked, taking everything out of it that has to do with small business assistance, and used to pass the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal.  Bravo Congress.

previously posted here:

Two federal programs that help foster small-business innovation have struggled for financial support this year.  The Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs limp along from year to year on annual authorizations, waiting for lawmakers to get up the gumption to make their more than $2 billion in funding permanent.

An agreement to reauthorize the funding for a year almost coalesced last summer, but then ground to a halt when the Senate and House couldn’t agree on language that might have helped venture capitalists invest and helped more-established businesses qualify for the funding.

We all know money for innovation and research is always money well-spent. New products and new technologies help drive the economy forward again.
So what’s the holdup? Here’s why this vital funding effort continues to flounder:

Too many bigger problems. This has been a year of big-picture thinking — healthcare reform and big stimulus packages. SBIR kind of got lost in the shuffle. Read the rest of this entry »

as posted here:

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., /PRNewswire/ — 3G technology will account for 82 percent of total mobile subscriptions inPuerto Rico by 2015, according to a new report from Pyramid Research (www.pyr.com).

Puerto Rico: Network Improvements, Possible Operator Consolidation and a Capex Bonanza offers a precise profile of the country’s telecommunications, media, and technology sectors based on proprietary data from Pyramid’s research in the market. It provides detailed competitive analysis of both the fixed and mobile sectors, tracks the market shares of technologies and services, and monitors the introduction and spread of new technologies.

Download an excerpt of this report here: http://www.pyr.com/downloads.htm?id=18&sc=PRN011911_CIRPR

“Puerto Rico’s shrinking fixed voice market, in combination with a growing demand for data applications and contents, brings new revenue opportunities to local operators, both in the fixed and mobile segments,” says Eulalia Marin-Sorribes, Research Analyst at Pyramid. “As Puerto Rico has the highest 3G penetration in Latin America, operators are now trying to make customers use the technology for services beyond SMS and MMS by promoting the use of smartphones,” says Marin-Sorribes. Read the rest of this entry »

Although this is an old article, it deserves a reprint as it show the over-burdened regulatory environment of small business and the implications for future growth.

as posted here :

Washington, D.C. Federal regulatory costs on U.S. business grew to $497 billion in 2000. Furthermore, these costs fell disproportionately on small business. These are the primary findings of a study released today by the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

The report, by W. Mark Crain and Thomas D. Hopkins, entitled The Impact of Regulatory Costs on Small Firms, examines the cost of regulation on small versus large firms across four broad industrial sectors – manufacturing, trade (wholesale and retail), services, and other.

“These research results are very disturbing,” said Office of Advocacy Acting Chief Counsel Susan Walthall. “This new study shows that the cost of federal regulation continues to increase on business and that as this regulatory burden grows these costs disproportionately hit small business.” Read the rest of this entry »

The following is a really good example from a social media marketing test that Entrepreneur.com did for a local BBQ joint.  Moral of the story, get your social media cranking or lose a valuable marketing avenue:

It’s been just over 30 days since we began our Social Media Challenge for Big Papa’s BBQ in Denver. Turns out, “challenge” was the perfect word for it. There was no online barbecue conversation to speak of in this city when we started. There were no followers for Big Papa’s. They had no brand, voice or marketing plan. The winter was bearing down — hardly BBQ season. And as for Big Papa’s experience in social media? Nonexistent.

But, in Denver’s Best BBQ Battle — the social media campaignLeeReedy/Xylem Digital created, we’ve built a brand, a following and, most importantly for those who doubt social media’s value, an increase in revenue for the restaurant.

To our reporting detriment, it took three weeks for Big Papa’s BBQ to institute proper tracking mechanisms in its three restaurant locations. But we have two significant successes to share: the number of people walking into their restaurants who heard about us through our social media efforts and year over year revenue for December.

In one week: Read the rest of this entry »

by Marshall Kirby, Public Policy Analyst

For the first time since 2008, Puerto Rico will begin a general obligation bond sale.  The exact figures are not yet disclosed, but the President of the Government Development Bank, Carlos Garcia, has announced that the sale of bonds will be to finance infrastructure and significant public projects.  He estimates that there will up to $2.1 billion in other bond sales this year (Plans General-Obligation Sale).  Portions of the bond sale will include financing projects for capital improvements in the electrical and natural gas sectors (the other portion of the project’s financing will be discussed later).

This is a significant step for the Commonwealth, as it could mark a clear financial and credit turn around from impending disaster.  The island currently has a bond rating which is lower than any state in the US (Plans General-Obligation Sale).  For years, the island has been mired in financial and credit issues which have led to trouble financing needed projects/programs and meeting its continuing expenditures. Read the rest of this entry »

Por Julia Cortazar, Policy Analyst

¿Qué pasará con los pequeños empresarios del turismo en Puerto Rico en los próximos 10 años? Si te preguntas cuál será su futuro, entonces aquí te dejamos algunos puntos para que imagines hacia donde podría dirigirse el negocio.

En los últimos años la actividad económica del turismo se ha convertido en una de las que más ha crecido alrededor del mundo y lo que está sucediendo en Puerto Rico puede confirmarlo. Se estima que la economía del turismo genera cerca de $1,100 millones, sostiene alrededor de 60,000 empleos directos e indirectos y tiene una aportación aproximada al Producto Nacional Bruto (PBN) que sobrepasa el 7%. Además, la relevancia que está ganado el Turismo Sustentable, entendido como la actividad que contribuye a generar ingresos y empleos en el sector turístico para la población con un bajo impacto sobre el medio ambiente y la cultura local, al interior del sector. Por lo que el tamaño y la competitividad que la actividad del turismo está adquiriendo aumentan la confianza en ella como motor de crecimiento de la economía puertorriqueña.

Entonces, ¿Cómo pueden los pequeños empresarios beneficiarse con estos datos tan esperanzadores? Observemos el caso de los empresarios dueños de Paradores. Read the rest of this entry »

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