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Happy New Year! Ready for a Full Plate?

CAMEO hopes that everyone had a happy, healthy and safe holiday season! And a restful one – you’ll need your energy for all the exciting experiences ahead in 2012!

In this week’s Must Know:

  • Advocacy’s Full Plate
  • Community Advantage Changes
  • The Goodies: information on important opportunities like trainings, funding, scholarship programs. This week’s highlight is CAMEO’s Financial Training Workshop for Business Counselors – on Wednesday January 25- Thursday, January 26 in San Francisco. This is an intensive, nine-hour, in-person training.

Advocacy’s Full Plate

Last year from March to December, our advocacy work centered on the federal budget. All of us- CAMEO, AEO and our colleagues did it! In a climate of cut, cut, cut, we kept funding for PRIME and the cuts were -ahem- tolerable. In future budgets we will advocate for restoration and increases in funds. And guess what, discussions start in February. (Excuse the photo pun – cuts, PRIME, full plate – couldn’t help myself.)

This year I’ve counted nine micro-related federal bills that are floating around Congress – bills to encourage self-employment, bills that provide tax credits for investment, bills that offer access to capital for your organizations and your clients. CAMEO will weigh in on them with varying amounts of effort, but be forewarned that we will call on you for advocacy help! I will give a short summary of one or two each week until we’ve put all the bills out there. Also, let me know if you know of other bills that we might consider for action.

The first two bills are reminders – we told you about them last year. We will support these bills and ask for your support when the time arises.

  • Rural Microbusiness Investment Credit Act of 2011 or H.R. 2858 was introduced by Representatives Ron Kind (D-WI) and Wally Herger (R-CA). The Rural Microbusiness Investment Credit Act of 2011 would help new enterprises start and existing enterprises grow by providing a 35 percent tax credit on up to about $30,000 of new investment.
  • The Microenterprise and Youth Entrepreneurship Development Act of 2011 was introduced by Representative Cedric Richmond (D-LA) in October 2011 with several California co-sponsors: Karen Bass, Barbara Lee, Laura Richardson. The bill, H.R. 2809, would restore and enhance the SBA’s PRIME Programs:
    • Increase focus on technical assistance to very low-income individuals;
    • Give the SBA the ability to waive the matching requirement associated with a PRIME grant;
    • Streamline PRIME’s application and grant award processes;
    • Create of a Youth Entrepreneurship Program at the SBA designed to provide new tools, including technical assistance, to youth entrepreneurs below the age of 25;
    • Create a Microenterprise Coordinator position at the SBA who would be responsible for coordinating between existing micro-business programs to enhance their impact.

Community Advantage Loan Program Changes

If your organization participates in the Community Advantage Program, please note the changes to the program by reviewing the Participant Guide. Some highlights include:

  • Loan Pricing: Maximum interest rate allowable is Prime + 6%. (2% higher than previous cap).
  • Lending operations: Outsourcing of lending operations will now be permitted. This may include sourcing, evaluating and underwriting, closing, disbursing, servicing and/or liquidating.
  • Oversight costs: Average oversight costs are projected to be $150 per $1m in loans originated (e.g. .015%)
  • Criteria for participation: No minimum capital requirement for participation.
  • Application Process: Applications will be reviewed within 45 days of their receipt.

In addition to the changes listed above, the SBA clarified that the requirement to disperse 60% of an intermediary’s loan portfolio in underserved communities refers to the dollar value of the loans not the number of loans.

Thanks to AEO who made recommendations to the SBA. AEO had a webinar about the changes and will host upcoming calls related to Community Advantage. Stay tuned.

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.

Claudia Quoted: CAMEO’s CEO talks about alternative financing for businesses in Restaurant Management Magazine. VEDC and it’s client Blue Bottle are also mentioned.

CAMEO Training Workshop: Build the Microloan Pipeline. CAMEO’s first training of 2012 in this series – Financial Training Workshop for Business Counselors – is on Wednesday January 25- Thursday, January 26. This is an intensive, nine-hour, in-person training. Anyone who wants to understand how to prepare your clients for loans should attend.

For Your Clients: Learn about a really neat new tool for your clients called pubfish that allows them to have a web presence in minutes. Find out when free webinars are offered (Tuesday and Thursdays in January) and/or let your clients know about it.

Award Nomination: The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco welcomes you to submit your nomination for the 2012 Community Reinvestment Awards: Strengthening Small Businesses for Economic Recovery. The awards will be given at the 2012 National Interagency Community Reinvestment Conference in Seattle in March, 2012. The deadline for nominations is January 13, 2012.

Webinar – Borrow Less Tomorrow (BoLT) Program: CFED and NeighborWorks America will host a discussion of the Borrow Less Tomorrow (BoLT) Program, a behavioral approach to helping low- and middle-income individuals and families pay down expensive debt. Learn more and Register for the webinar on Tuesday, January 17, 2012, 10:00-11:00am PST/ 1:00-2:00pm EST

Webinar- Time for Microlenders to Report Business Credit?: This webinar will discuss the importance of consumer and business credit reporting of microloans as well as share “how to” lessons learned during our 2011 pilot program. Most importantly, we will engage in a dialogue on how consumer and business reporting can enable microlenders to build entrepreneurs and small businesses and lead the charge in helping creating a credit economy where healthy small businesses are underwritten for business loans – not consumer loans dressed up as business loans. Register for the webinar on Thursday, January 19, 2011 10:00-11:00am PST // 1:00-2:00pm EST.

For your clients:: CFED and Bank of the West are pleased to share a new Financial Education Guide designed specifically for taxpayers receiving assistance at VITA programs. This free, easy-to-read guide (available in English and Spanish) walks clients through some important things to consider when they receive their refunds to help them make the most of the money they expect to receive.

For your clients: Little Independent is a website that seeks to be the alternative to Amazon for small businesses. Your clients can list items for very low cost to sell online and capture a large audience. Pass on their brochure to your clients.

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

Take Action: Our friends at the American Sustainable Business Council wants to overturn the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court decision. Learn more.

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

Happy New Year,

Heidi Pickman
Communications Director

P.S. You received this email because your organization is a CAMEO member or you attended a meeting that a CAMEO staff member attended in 2011. We hope that you find it useful.