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AEO’s Learning Conference; Connecting Clients to Customers

  • AEO Conference – A Month Away!
  • Increase Your Clients’ Customers
  • Be Counted – Fill Out The microTracker Census by September 11. (Note that the deadline has been extended.)
  • Save the Date: WOVEN – Women Veteran Entrepreneurs Network is on November 4 in Santa Ana.
  • The Goodies – This week’s highlight includes two action items to support microlending: 1) Join or endorse the Responsible Small Business Lending Coalition. 2) Weigh in on the Microloan TA program (Scroll down for more details.)

AEO Conference – A Month Away!

Join CAMEO at AEO’s 2015 Microbusiness Learning Conference, September 24-25 in Atlanta, Georgia. You’re in for a treat with some great sessions (full agenda) that include:

  • Building a Testable Hypothesis for your Organization: Learn how to use experiments, not ideas, to take your work to a new level. Using an immersive, deep-dive approach, Michael Schrage, Research Fellow, MIT, Sloan Initiative on the Digital Economy, and author of The Innovator’s Hypothesis will teach attendees how to use “experiments” to make their work more innovative and impactful. (Thursday, September 24 at 11:30 am and repeated at 2:00 pm)
  • Mapping the Pathway to Deeper Impact: Donna Gambrell, former Director, U.S. Department of Treasury’s CDFI Fund, and Visiting Scholar, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, will provide a brief overview of the history of the microbusiness industry. Attendees will gain a new perspective on the role of their organization within the context of the larger microbusiness industry and explore new opportunities to effectively collaborate with other stakeholders for deeper impact. (Thursday, September 24 at 3:30 pm)

Register for the conference and make your hotel reservations today! It’s a month away!

CAMEO is very pleased to sponsor CAMEO members to attend. To apply for the scholarship, visit our individualized training page for the application information. If you have questions contact Shufina English.

Increase Your Clients’ Customers

Thumbtack is a platform that connects service businesses and professionals with customers. At our recent webinar with Thumbtack we learned: first, the service works. Rosalinda Delgado from Accion San Diego gave a Thumbtack brochure to a client in the computer repair business. He signed on to the service and went from three customers all year to gaining five clients in one week!

Second, Thumbtack recently released its Small Business Friendliness Survey, in which nearly 18,000 U.S. small business owners rated their state and city governments across a broad range of policy factors. California’s small business owners gave the state an ‘F’ for its friendliness toward small business (ouch). To find out more about why and how California can become more friendly for small businesses, check out Thumbtack chief economist Jon Lieber’s recent article on LinkedIn.

Third, Jamil Poonja gave us tips for success on Thumbtack.

  • Have at least 2 reviews before you sign up.
  • Complete a professional profile.
  • Personalize your quotes.
  • Follow up when you don’t hear back.

Thumbtack is a tool that offers connections to markets – one of the five ingredients of a successful small business ecosystem in a DIY Economy.

The Goodies

New opportunities for training, conference information, funding, scholarships, and other information that have crossed our desks since the last Must Know. I have posted a running tab of current Industry Goodies on the CAMEO website that lists items that were in past emails. Check it out to make sure you’re not missing anything, like grants whose deadlines are still alive!

Take Action: The Small Business Borrowers’ Bill of Rights outlines six key rights that all borrowers should have. If you’re a small business lender, credit marketplace, or broker, you can sign the bill of rights. If you are another interested party, you can become an endorser. CAMEO has signed on as an endorser.

Take Action: The Senate is considering legislation passed by the Senate Small Business Committee that would change the SBA Microloan program. While some of the changes are beneficial to intermediaries, counselors, and entrepreneurs, the bill fails to include critical reforms that program participants have requested. For example, the current legislation would allow a waiver from the 25/75 Technical Assistance (TA) requirement to be issued by SBA. This is unnecessary paperwork and the requirement should be removed all together. Providing business assistance that supports entrepreneurs should be at the lenders discretion. AEO and CAMEO believe that microloan reform legislation without important changes will not best benefit the program and its users. We urge you to add your organization in support of this letter to tell the Senate to include these reforms in their legislation. If you are willing to sign on, please email our Government Relations team member John Stanford.

New Report: Read FIELD’s new report Microbusinesses, Gainful Jobs. They found that workers value the flexibility, fulfillment, and skill-building opportunities offered by their microbusiness jobs and 63% of respondents made wages at or above President Obama’s proposed increase to the minimum wage. They also found out that there’s a 1-5 cost-benefit ratio for micro business development (for every $1 of grant money spent on micro business development, $5 is created in economic activity) and microbusinesses create opportunity for those that struggle the most.

For Your Clients: The Office of Women’s Business Ownership are pleased to announce the launch of the SBA’s InnovateHER 2016: Innovating for Women Business Challenge in partnership with Microsoft. The InnovateHER Challenge is a national prize competition aimed at unearthing products and services that impact and empower the lives of women and families through local business competitions that culminate in a live pitch Final Round. Through this Challenge, the SBA is looking for entrepreneurs to create a product or service that (1) has a measurable impact on the lives of women and families, (2) has the potential for commercialization, and (3) fills a need in the marketplace. Organizations can begin submitting requests to host a local competition by sending a written request. The deadline to apply to host a competition is September 3, 2015.

Industry Meeting: Save the date for OFN’s 2015 Western Regional Meeting September 17, 2015 at Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco (101 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94105). This promises to be an engaging meeting where CDFI staff, Board members, partners, and others can network and learn more about what’s happening in the industry and in the region. Stay tuned for more information.

Grant Opportunity: U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced the launch of the Economic Development Administrations (EDA) $10 million funding opportunity for the 2015 Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program competition to spur innovation capacity-building activities in regions across the nation. Under this program, EDA is soliciting applications for two funding opportunities: the i6 Challenge, which funds organizations that help innovators and entrepreneurs turn innovations, ideas, intellectual property, and research into viable, sustainable companies, and Seed Fund Support Grants (previously Cluster Grants for Seed Capital Funds), which funds regionally-focused seed capital funds that provide early-stage capital to innovation-based startups with a potential for high growth. Stay tuned for a webinar to learn more.