Spirit of the Times, Zeitgeist and Micro

In this week’s Must Know

  • Zeitgeist – Spirit of the Times, what it means for Micro
  • AB152 Hearing is March 20
  • The Goodies: This week’s highlight is the 2013 Citi MicroEntrepreneurship Awards. Your organization can win a $75,000 grant from AEO and Citi and your clients can receive up to $25,000. Last year a CAMEO member client won!.

Zeitgeist – Spirit of the Times, what it means for Micro

The world is shifting and changing at such a fast pace that it’s hard to keep track. The people who succeed in today’s world will be those who are aware of the changes and can adapt. While this might be scary, it’s what entrepreneurs like, right? Give us a problem and we’ll look for an answer. Where others see problems, we see opportunity. Earlier this week, CAMEO’s board members gathered for the annual meeting, where we discussed how to make sense of our changing world and the implications for our industry.

On Monday, we focused on the changing nature of work. Steve King and Carolyn Oeckels presented their research on self-employment, State of Independence Report. Companies want flexibility, creativity and lower costs, which has led to a growing population of independent workers, now 17 million. This trend has both a positive and negative affect and current institutions are not equipped to mitigate the negative and encourage the positive.

The next day put our heads in a whirl. Consider these trends:

  • Convergence of two generational growth spurts – the boomers (b. 1946-1964) and Gen Y (b. 1980’s-1990’s)
  • Increase in the creative class
  • Growing diversity
  • Undereducated population
  • Do-It-Yourself
  • Design Thinking
  • Continuous cycle of innovation
  • Bye bye business model, hello business platform
  • Extreme wealth inequality

A results of our conversation was that CAMEO can and should play a role in interpreting the trends for its member organizations and likewise, our member organizations should play that role for their clients. Before you are overwhelmed, think of an electricity transformer. It takes all that powerful voltage and sizes it down into a form that can be used in a house. It’s our role to take these trends and present them to our audiences, you and your clients, in smaller bites.

Our first foray into the larger conversation is wealth inequality. There’s a video going around the internet that illustrates the differences between what Americans think is a fair division of wealth, what Americans believe the reality is and what the actual distribution of wealth is in this country. It’s a video everyone should watch – find it on our website and Facebook page. One reaction is to throw up your hands in desperation. But another is to look at it as an opportunity. What might this mean for your organizations? What might it mean for your clients. Please weigh in on the discussion.

AB152 Hearing is March 20

Yes, you’ve heard it right. We have our first hearing of the bill to help the unemployed start their own businesses. If you will be or can be in Sacramento on March 20, please contact me! We need bodies at the hearing.

We’ve received letters of support from a bunch of you. If you have sent your letter, but haven’t sent it to CAMEO, send us copy of your support letter.

Please support AB 152, Self-Employment Assistance Program, introduced by Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada and sponsored by CAMEO. We estimate it will create 5,000 businesses and 12,500 jobs and generate at least $400 million in economic activity. You can support by writing letters, all the instructions to support AB152 are on a previous Must Know on our website.

The Goodies

New opportunities for trainings, 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 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!

Member Kudos: Check out all the Central Coast CAMEO members in the Santa Cruz Sentinel article: “Micro-enterprise urged as answer to Watsonville economic woes.”

New Report: FIELD has just released a new report, Microenterprise Development as Job Creation. The report draws on surveys conducted with nearly 2000 entrepreneurs who received assistance from 23 microenterprise organizations in 2009. A teaser: The average number of jobs per business, including the owner, was 2.9.

Small Business Survey: Small Business California released the results of their survey of 1300 small businesses. A couple of interesting results that have implications for your organizations: 65.9% do not need capital but for those that did 145 were able to get it and 291 were not (opportunity!); 73.7% had never heard of the Affordable Care small business health tax credit (shows need to educate business owners – see next item).

Healthcare Info: Thanks to Small Business Majority for healthcare resources. Small business owners and the self-employed need to know how the Affordable Care Act will bring down costs, create a greater choice of insurance options, and the opportunities it offers to expand coverage.

For Your Clients: Thank You Small Business offers a variety of free webinars to small businesses. They’ll find everything from brand building to collections. Check ’em out!

Contracting Opportunity: Attention consultants and other orgs, CDBG microenterprise program in the City of Williams, Colusa County is looking for a contractor to administer the CDBG grant, underwrite microloans and provide technical assistance or subcontracting to a qualified service-provider. Contact the City of Williams for more information.

Attn PRIME Recipients: AEO is soliciting feedback from organizations that participate in the SBA’s PRIME Program. AEO is interested in learning about your organization’s overall experience with the PRIME Program and welcomes any feedback. The survey results and feedback will help advocate for the program’s budget. Please complete the survey by Wednesday, March 13th.

Renaissance Online Business Prep Class: Attention service-starved areas, the webinar-based classes are scheduled from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. PST one evening a week for 12 consecutive weeks, with two optional 30-minute individual telephone consultations. Clients are expected to participate in every webinar and complete about 3 hours of homework weekly. The next one starts on March 13, 2013. Learn more and register for the Renaissance Online Business Prep Class.

Free Webinar: Aspen’s FIELD staff present Income Patching among Microentrepreneurs on Tuesday, March 19, 11:00 am – 12:30pm PT // 2:00-3:30 pm ET. Learn key findings on income patching and discuss with practitioners and participants what these results mean for the microenterprise industry. Learn more about Income Patching among Microentrepreneurs and register. Read a synopsis of the FIELD findings on income patching.

Free Webinar: AEO sponsors “Collections Pilot Information Session” on March 21, 2013 at 10:00 am PT // 1:00 pm ET. Is collections management a challenge for your organization? Has your loan fund devoted scarce staff time and energy to recovering charge-offs with little success? Might outsourcing a portion of collections activities represent an attractive solution for your organization? If so then register to learn more about an AEO program to help with collections.

Free Business Leader Call: Small Business Majority and CAMEO co-sponsor White House Immigration Update on Friday March 22, 2013 at 10:00am PT // 1:00pm EST. Register to receive the call call information and learn about the progress being made towards the passage of immigration reform.

2013 Women in Leadership Conference: The Berkeley-Haas School of Business hosts Path-Bending Leadership – the type of leadership that helps drive business towards a better, more sustainable, healthier, and more just future. The conference offers opportunities to hear from and connect with women leaders who have achieved both personal and professional success. Register for the conference on Saturday, April 6, 2013 from 8:30am – 5:00pm at the Berkeley-Haas School of Business.

AEO Conference: Tilt Forward will be May 5-8, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri. If you’re not an AEO member, CAMEO members receive a $75 discount with the code SMA2013. If you’re an AEO member, registration fees are 50% of the full conference price – another reason to join the national network. CAMEO can offset some of the costs for this conference; contact Shufina English. Enter the 2013 Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards. Finalists will attend a luncheon on Wednesday and have the opportunity to win real cash. Your organization can win a $75,000 grant from AEO and Citi and your clients can receive up to $25,000 (Last year a CAMEO member client won!) Find out more and apply for the 2013 Citi MicroEntrepreneurship Awards.

Micro Census: FIELD released the comprehensive program and performance data collected last year during its U.S. Microenterprise Census campaign. More than 200 organizations responded to the Census on microtracker.org, contributing their FY 2011 data to a rich data set that is now available online. Stay tuned, this spring, FIELD will launch the 2013 U.S. Microenterprise Census to collect FY 2012 data.