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Amazon Attacks Small Local Biz

We were appalled when we read the following on Gawker: “ announced it will pay customers up to $5 to go into a local store, scan an item, walk out, and buy the same item on Amazon.”

The Amazon action directly undermines local small businesses – our entrepreurs! So we set up a petition – we would greatly appreciate it if you would 1) sign the petition and 2) pass the word onto your clients.

Amazon has this “promotion” slated for Saturday so spread the word today!

In this week’s Must Know (an eclectic mix!):

  • CDBG Funding Changes and Rural Stories
  • Building the Microloan Pipeline, a workshop
  • The Goodies: information on important opportunities like trainings, funding, scholarship programs. This week’s highlight is a TV appearance with Claudia, Sharon Miller (Renaissance Center) and Emily Gasner (Working Solutions) on Friday, December 9th at 8:30 PM on Comcast channel 15 – KMTV in the Bay Area. Learn more about the program and where to see it.

CDBG Funding Changes and Rural Stories

California’s Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) is changing its process for awarding CDBG funds in rural areas. We know that many of you depend on CDBG funds to sustain your programs. The first, new “Super NOFA” will be released in January 2012 and we want to help our rural members be prepared.

Join us for a conference call on Thursday, December 15th from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. to discuss HCD’s new “Super NOFA” process and strategize with fellow CAMEO members on how to position yourself in this new environment.

Dial-in Number: 1-218-936-4700 (Midwest)

Access Code: 7799781#

The Department of Housing and Community Development will host workshops and webinars in January and February about the changes and application process.

Also, mostly for the rural members – the Center for Rural Affairs is advocating for the Rural Microbusiness Investment Credit Act (HR. 2858). The bill was introduced by Representatives Herger (CA-2nd) and Kind (WI-3rd). The Center wants to attract some publicity for this Act by profiling some successful microbusinesses in California and how a tax credit would help their businesses. They would ask questions like “How would this tax credit help your business?” or “What would you do with this investment credit if it already existed? Please provide business client profiles to Heidi Pickman, and contact her with any questions about the bill.

Building the Microloan Pipeline

CAMEO is launching new programs for building microlending in California. We will hold our first training of 2012 – Financial Training Workshop for Business Counselors – on Wednesday January 25- Thursday, January 26. This is an intensive, nine-hour, in-person training.

Help your business clients successfully qualify for a microloan. Send your staff to this workshop to learn how to develop loan-ready microenterprise clients. They will learn what lenders are looking for, common eligibility criteria and how determine a quality loan referral.

On Wednesday, a panel of leading microlenders will answer questions about referring clients, eligibility and underwriting criteria. On Thursday, Susan Brown will lead an all day workshop on understanding financial statements, creating cash flow projections and best practices for microloan referrals.

The workshop will take place at the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center in San Francisco. Learn more and register.

The Goodies

New opportunities for trainings, conference information, funding, scholarships, and other information that have crossed our desks since the last Must Know. A running tab of current Goodies is on the CAMEO website.

Micro Marketing Webinar: We had a very successful Micro Marketing webinar to learn about a really neat new tool for your clients called pubfish that allows them to have a web presence in minutes. If you missed it and would like to attend, find out when the next webinar is and/or let your clients know about it.

FIELD’s PRIME microTrackers program: The Data Analytics for Microenterprise program will help microenterprise development organizations further enhance their capacity to use data to benchmark and improve performance. The free program will help practitioners with a range of data collection and analysis experience, and will offer training and one-on-one technical assistance to help practitioners to use microTracker resources and their own data to answer program-determined questions. Proposals are due December 8th (a maximum of three pages.) Members of SMAs have priority in the selection process. And you know how important data collection is!

Free Webinar on Measuring Success by Field: Learn how to adopt data analytic techniques long used by the private sector to improve performance. The December 9th webinar will help you use benchmarking tools in detail to understand the state of the industry and assess your program’s performance. Register today!

Free Webinar: Join CFED for Ready, Set, Save: Assessing IDA Participants’ Readiness. The webinar will offer strategies to help determine whether prospective applicants are ready for an IDA program. We’ll also explore ideas for helping current savers make steady progress toward purchasing their assets. Register for the webinar on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. PST // 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. EST.

Free Webinar: Join CFED for Empowering Entrepreneurs at Tax Time, a webinar sponsored by the Northwest Area Foundation, to learn about two creative ways to adapt the self-employment tax strategy for your own tax assistance program, microenterprise development agency or other community-based organization. RSVP for the webinar on December 14 from 1:00-2:00 p.m. PST.

Free Webinar: AEO is hosting Strategic Advocacy for Microenterprise Development, a webinar on December 15th from 12:30-1:30pm EST // 9:30-10:30 a.m. PST. Ann Sullivan of Madison Services Group will discuss strategies for effective microenterprise advocacy. Join the webinar to learn how to engage with policy makers in support of your mission. CAMEO of course will be on the call.


Free Webinar: The AFI Resource Center hosts a series of webinars featuring an overview of the AFI grant program and application process; suggestions for developing strong projects; and strategies for building partnerships with community organizations for bigger impact. The AFI grant program provides funding to eligible organizations to provide Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) and related supportive services for qualified individuals in their area. Register for the first webinar on December 15, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. PST // 2:00-3:30 EST.

Job Opening: Visit our jobs page for available positions in the industry.

For your clients: CARAT is providing technology training programs for free to small businesses in California. Check out the schedules for December 2011 and January 2012.