Ms. CAMEO Goes To Washington

In this week’s Must Know:

  • Ms. CAMEO Goes to Washington
  • Micro Conference Time
  • The Goodies: information on important opportunities like trainings, funding, scholarship programs. This week’s highlight is Aspen’s free trial of microTracker.

Ms. CAMEO Goes to DC

A note from Claudia,

Last week I was privileged to meet with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and the Board of Governors in a private meeting with four other small business researchers and practitioners. We presented our insights on what small and micro-businesses in under-served communities need in order to grow and add jobs. Remarkably, we all emphasized the critical importance of business technical assistance in making businesses loan- ready. Dr. Gregory Fairchild, one of our group, reported that borrowers that received TA were 40% more likely to succeed than borrowers that did not receive such assistance.

I recommended that the Federal Reserve should collaborate with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to amend regulations on Community Reinvestment Act credits such that grants for TA have equal weight as capital investments in low-moderate income communities. This recommendation is supported by many CAMEO member CDFI’s and CRC members.

In other news from DC, our friends from the Center for Rural Affairs tell us that the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program funds awarded in FY 2011 will be released. Your USDA state director should be in touch soon, but it wouldn’t hurt to reach out to them.

Finally, I’ve heard from several PRIME recipients last week about how the proposed PRIME elimination in 2013 will affect their organization. If you are a PRIME recipient and haven’t weighed in, email me.

Micro Conference Time

Several important industry conferences are happening in the coming months, so make those travel plans.

First, mark your calendars for CAMEO’s Annual Meeting in Sacramento, June 6-7, 2012. Expect an ‘official’ invitation in a couple of weeks.

A whole bunch of CAMEO members in San Diego (ACCION San Diego, CDC Small Business Finance, Foundation for Women, International Rescue Committee) along with other partners will host the 2012 San Diego Microfinance Summit: Technology and Innovation on April 4, 2012 at the University of San Diego. Register and learn more.

The AEO 2012 National Conference: The Power of Micro-Business is on April 30-May 2 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. Register for the conference and book your plane flight and hotel early for the best prices. CAMEO members will receive a discount off their registration. Also CAMEO offers some scholarships.

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.

Free microTracker Trial: Aspen is offering a free trial of microTracker’s subscription features; features that are powerful, and yet easy to use—that help you understand the micro enterprise industry, that help you see how you compare, and that can help you improve your own performance. The free trial expires March 9, 2012.

New Report: Empowering Entrepreneurs At Tax Time. This report includes research about the role of self-employment in job creation and community wealth building; the vital connection between tax preparation and microenterprise development services; and key lessons gained through four years of the SETI Demonstration and other SETI partnerships.

For your clients: Have your clients fill out this survey on small business attitudes sponsored by Small Business California. Since 2004 this survey has been an important tool for educating elected officials and policy makers about the concerns and challenges faced by small business owners in California.

New Report: Small Business Majority released Making California’s new healthcare exchange work for small businesses. The report includes discussion on providing insurance at an appealing rate, providing valuable services to small businesses, constructing a successful marketing and outreach strategy, offers recommendations on how to create a robust exchange.

California Small Farm Conference: The California Small Farm Conference will take place on March 4-6, 2012 in Valencia. It is the state’s premier gathering of small farmers, agricultural students, farmers’ market managers and others involved in the small farm industry. The three day educational conference includes day-long short courses and on-farm tours; focused workshops; engaging keynote addresses and numerous networking opportunities. Call 888-712-4188 to learn more about the conference.

CDFI Conference: Registration for the 2012 CDFI Institute is open! The Institute will take place on March 7th and 8th in Washington, DC at the Embassy Suites Convention Center Hotel. Learn more and register.

Free Legal Workshop: Attention business trainers and your clients, the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC), and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights are holding STARTING A BUSINESS 101: A FREE Legal Workshop to Help Your Business Idea Become Reality. The workshop will be on Thursday, March 8, 2012, 6:00-8:00pm at Mandela Gateway Community Room, 1350 7th Street, Oakland, CA 94607. Register and learn more or email for questions.

Grant Opportunity: The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced the availability of $20.6 million in grant funding for the Reintegration of Ex-Offenders Adult Program. DOL expects to award 17 grants of approximately $1.2 million each for 27-months. Any non-profit organizations with IRS 501(c)(3) status may apply for these grants to provide pre-release and post-release services (including job training) to ex-offenders returning to high-poverty, high-crime communities. The Solicitation for Grant Applications is available on the Employment and Training Administration website. The deadline is March 13, 2012. Note to CAMEO members: you may want to partner with other prison groups to go after the funding and provide self-employment training.

Small Business Loan Fund Conference: The NADO Research Foundation’s Economic Development Finance Service (EDFS) will host a conference on April 24-26, 2012 in Burlington, VT. The event includes sessions that offer best practice examples from peers, plenaries that bring in top notch leaders in small business finance and technical assistance, a roundtable of federal agency program staff and many opportunities for attendees to share and exchange information, suggestions for problem solving, and a format for learning about new programs or solutions that can be replicated in your region. Register and learn more.

Grant Opportunity: In 2012 the California Consumer Protection Foundation will be accepting applications for approximately $1 million of grants under the Telecommunication Consumer Education Fund (TCEF). Successful TCEF projects will support the efforts of community-based organizations to ensure that Californians become more informed, savvy consumers of wireless telecom services. The next 2012 application deadline is May 1, 2012. Learn more.

Open Source Entrepreneurship Curriculum: C.E.O. Women was perhaps most noted for its groundbreaking ESL (English as a Second Language) entrepreneurship curriculum designed for entrepreneurs with limited English skills. On December 21, 2011, C.E.O. Women unfortunately had to close its doors due to funding cutbacks and the difficult economy. Believing that their work and innovations could still be of great benefit to the micro-enterprise industry at large, they decided to open source their most valuable assets, including their curriculum. CAMEO is proud to host CEO Women’s assets.

Take Action: Two-thirds of American small business leaders believe the controversial U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United v. FEC case hurts small companies. Our friends at the American Sustainable Business Council wants to overturn the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court decision. Learn more.