Focus on DIY Economy and Take Action on SB 197

  • Do-it-Yourself Economies Concepts Gain Traction
  • SB 197 on Governor’s Desk! We Need You to Take Action!
  • Register for WOVEN – Women Veteran Entrepreneurs Network on November 4 in Santa Ana.
  • The Goodies – This week’s highlight is that early bird registration for the 2015 OFN Conference (November 9-12, 2015 in Detroit) ends on September 30.

Do-it-Yourself Economies Concepts Gain Traction

Everyone is talking about Uber, the gig-economy and self-employment. Aspen Institute recently held a roundtable – The 1099 Economy: Exploring a New Social Contract for Employers, Employees, and Society – to discuss what this means. Everyone agreed that the question has moved from ‘is this happening?’ to ‘how does this effect workers and what do we do about it?’ It’s accepted that:

  • The on-demand or ‘sharing’ economy is exploding.
  • Microenterprises are proliferating.
  • Estimates of the percentage of the workforce that is contingent (or freelance, contract or self-employed) range widely from four to 40 percent.

And now we can turn our focus to:

  • What is driving this trend?
  • What are the implications for workers trying to earn a living in today’s economy?
  • As the social contract between employers and employees deteriorates, how do workers access stable and adequate incomes, protections from abuse, and basic benefits like health care and retirement?
  • How should labor and social policies evolve to ensure work in America can still lead families to a better future?

I highly recommend listening to the session and learning what the big picture issues are and what other folks are thinking. Microbusiness development definitely could have had a larger role in the policy discussion – just means there’s more work for us to do!

On a related note, the American Independent Business Alliance has posted an excellent article on the multiplier effect of locally owned business versus chains. Independent locally-owned businesses recirculate a far greater percentage of revenue locally compared to absentee-owned businesses (or locally-owned franchises). In other words, going local creates more local wealth and jobs. On average, 48 percent of each purchase at local independent businesses was recirculated locally, compared to less than 14 percent of purchases at chain stores — and only 1 percent of purchases from online retailers.

To learn more about Do-It-Yourself Economic Growth, check out our white paper that focuses on why we need a new approach to economic development, explains the reality of small business and self-employment labor market trends, and delineates some of the tools that local economic developers can use to create a sustainable future for their regions.

SB 197 on Governor’s Desk! We Need You to Take Action!

We’re trying to contain our excitement and biting our nails! The California Senate passed SB 197 (Block) on Thursday, September 10 (co-sponsored by CAMEO and Opportunity Fund). That means the only step left is for Governor Brown to sign the bill into law and we’re taking it day by day on when he’s going to do it. Before we can celebrate, we need you to do one more thing – tell Governor Brown to sign the bill. It only takes a couple of minutes to get your letter to me by the end of Friday, September 19, 2015. Thanks to those of you who have chimed in already!

  1. Download the Brown Signature Letter Template.
  2. Put it on your letterhead.
  3. Personalize to your organization (and feel free to edit).
  4. Save as a pdf.
  5. Email it to me! And I will deliver letters to the governor.

Anyone can write a letter. Ask your staff, your board. The more, the better.

SB 197 is crucial to California small and microbusinesses, especially underbanked ones, as they may not be learning about and receiving the most appropriate financing available. The bill will remove a competitive disadvantage that currently affects licensed commercial lenders in California. The bill will allow them to pay referral fees to those from whom they receive business, subject to certain restrictions intended to promote responsible lending.

For more information check out the Must Know that featured it.

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!

Opportunity: Betsy Densmore of Academies for Social Entrepreneurship announces the Social Entrepreneurship Venture Challenge. The program will bridge the gap between venture philanthropists seeking financial and social impact AND well-vetted social enterprises that can deliver double bottom line returns. Contestants may be for-profit, not-for-profit or hybrid early stage social enterprises. Applications are due by October 30, 2015. Learn more by participating in this free webinar on Monday, September 21, from 3:00-4:30pm PT.

Free Webinar: FIELD and the Responsible Business Lending Coalition are hosting two identical webinars to introduce small and microbusiness organizations, lenders, funders and investors to the Small Business Borrowers’ Bill of Rights. Participate in a conversation about BBOR and learn about the ways it can help you educate borrowers and promote responsible lending practices! Pick your date: September 24, 2015 at 11:00am PT // 2:00pm ET or October 15, 2015 at 11:00am PT // 2:00pm ET.

Free Webinar: The Federal Reserve’ Connecting Communities® presents Small Business’ Perceptions and Understanding of Online Alternative Loan Products: Findings from Online Focus Groups on September 29, 2015 at 12noon PT // 3:00pm ET. Description: The marketplace for small dollar lending to small businesses is transforming as access to capital moves to online sources. Online alternative lenders (e.g., CanCapital, OnDeck, Lending Club, Kabbage, PayPal) offer small dollar, small business products including cash advances, online lines of credit and a variety of short-term loans. Technology and online platforms are changing virtually all small business lending processes from underwriting, to loan pricing, to loan delivery, to loan servicing. To help shed light on this growing, crowded and potentially confusing marketplace, an online focus group of small businesses that are potential online borrowers was asked about their perspectives and understanding of this relatively new marketplace.

For Your Clients: The California Commission on Disability Access (CCDA) is developing a tool kit for California businesses regarding the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Therefore, we need to know more about what information business owners and operators have and do not have about disability access, what resources businesses need and want, and how CCDA can best serve the California business community. By distributing and/or taking this survey by September 30, you will provide fellow California businesses with a relevant and valuable resource. Take the English CCDA survey or the Spanish CCDA survey.

For Your Clients: The U.S. Census Bureau recently released The Census Business Builder: Small Business Edition. It’s a tool that allows small business owners a way to easily navigate to and use key demographic and economic data to help guide their research into opening a new or expanding their existing business. These key data includes the most recent and/or relevant data that Census provides that are useful to small business owners.

2015 OFN Conference: Register for the conference, November 9-12, 2015 in Detroit. This year’s curriculum offers sessions across 14 tracks reflecting the breadth of the CDFI industry’s financing sectors and issues, including small business. Early bird registration ends September 30.

Professional Development: Philanthropy University is a first-of-its kind educational initiative helps people working for social good deepen their impact and change the world. Attendees have the chance to earn a certificate in social sector leadership from Berkeley-Haas. Two classes begin in October: Global Social Entrepreneurship on September 29 and Financial Modeling for the Social Sector on October 13.

For Your Clients, Webinar: Our friends at the SBA and Small Business Majority are helping businesses navigate the changes and opportunities in health care through the Affordable Care Act 101 webinar series this fall – What the Healthcare Law Means for your Small Business. The October dates are 1, 15, 29 in English and October 20th in Spanish.

COIN Tax Credit Investments: The second 2015 COIN CDFI Tax Credit cycle is now open. There are still $9.3 million in COIN CDFI Tax Credits available to support $46.5 million of private investment into COIN Certified CDFIs. The COIN team is available to help answer your questions, so please feel free to reach out to them. The deadline to submit applications is Friday, October 2, 2015 by close of business. CAMEO Members 3CORE and Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV) received COIN investment this year. See photo of Marc Nemanic (3CORE), Stacie Olivares-Castain, Managing Director for COIN, and Devon Johnson (WEV).

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.