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Tech Tools for Business

  • Be Square and Be There
  • Federal Small Business News
  • Scholarships for AEO
  • Be Counted – Fill Out The microTracker Census
  • The Goodies – This week’s highlight is a free webinar .

Be Square and Be There

CAMEO has been on a quest to bring you information about the technologies that are empowering self-employment and microbusiness. Last week, we co-hosted a lunch for our Bay Area members at Square’s offices with representatives from Square, LinkedIn, Salesforce, and Twitter to discuss how their tools help small businesses. A glimpse of what we learned:

  • LinkedIn is a great way to find partners, investors, suppliers, and interact with others in your field. It is a good place to find clients if you’re a professional, but not great to find customers if you’re a food truck.
  • Square is more than that little device you swipe your card through at your local farmer’s market. The company provides lots of other business services, like invoice solutions, inventory management, and analytics. Square also has a few capital products.
  • Salesforce just acquired RelateIQ, a database more appropriate for small businesses and easy to use.
  • If you’re going to use Twitter, have a plan. Know how you want to use it, i.e. have a goal. Think strategically about hashtags.

In essence, technology tools are available and necessary for your clients’ success. It’s our job to make sure that they know when and how to use them. To learn more about what we talked about, read Andrew’s blog post – Micro Meet Tech; Tech Meet Micro.

CAMEO is working to bring these tools to the rest of our membership. In fact, we’ve scheduled a webinar with Thumbtack on August 19, 2015 at 11:00am (click link to register and learn more). Thumbtack is a platform that matches professionals with people who need their services, i.e. finds clients for your customers!

Federal Small Business News

Two items out of Washington this week:

  • After hitting the $18.5 billion cap on 7(a) loan program before the fiscal year end, a bill to increase the lending authority for the program to $23.5 billion for FY 2015 was passed by Congress and signed by the president.
  • The Microloan Modernization Act (H.R. 2670) is making its way through Congress. It passed the Senate Small Business Committee and now goes to the full Senate for a vote. AEO writes “Microloan Program Reform Gains Traction, But Misses Key Changes“.

Scholarships for AEO

CAMEO is very pleased to sponsor seven CAMEO members for AEO’s 2015 Microbusiness Learning Conference, September 24-25 in Atlanta, Georgia. To apply for the scholarship, provide the following information in a one-page document and mail your complete application to Shufina English:

  • Title: AEO Leadership Conference, Atlanta
  • Applicant’s name, position, organization, and contact information.
  • How do you think this training will help you better serve your clients and/or your office team?
  • What specifically do you hope to gain from this training? Why?
  • What is your organization’s mission statement?
  • Provide a paragraph about your organization.
  • Provide a short description of your duties within your organization.
  • What is your Micro Enterprise training experience?
  • What is your microlending experience?

The learning conference will continue the work we did at the leadership conference in May. The conference is designed for front-line microbusiness professionals, and will focus on training, professional development and capacity building. The agenda is starting to take shape.


Make your hotel room reservation at the AEO group rate of $119 per night (expires September 2, 2015) at the Crowne Plaza Atlanta Airport.

Delta Airlines is offering AEO attendees discounts on flights. Reservations and ticketing are available via Select “Book Your Flight” and this will bring you to the “Book A Flight” page. Enter the meeting code NMLXB in the box provided. Reservations may also be made by calling Delta Meeting reservations at 800-328- 1111, Mon-Fri 7am-7pm CDT.

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!

CAMEO Op-ed: Claudia wrote Protecting the Berryessa good for environment and business in The Hill, a widely read DC publication. Thanks to American Sustainability Council for the collaboration.

For Your Clients: Banks are issuing new chip-enabled payment cards that are more secure. The deadline for phasing in these cards is October 1. Businesses need to install new card readers to process the information on the chips. Those that do not have the new technology in place by then will be on the hook for any security lapses or fraudulent transactions, instead of payment-processing firms.

New Blog: The SBA Office of Advocacy has a new blog. The Office of Advocacy is a good resource for stats on small business.

Free Webinar: Friedman and Associates host Re-Imagining the Role of Business Development Services on Wednesday, August 5, 2015 at 11:00am PT / 2:00pm ET. The CDFI industry has clear standards, guidelines and metrics for the operation of a loan fund. We cannot say the same for business development services (BDS). Why? BDS is a key strategy to support portfolio performance and mission. It requires a formal structure to sufficiently support loan clients’ path to sustainability and growth. And it needs established metrics to measure success! The webinar will demonstrate a BDS process and “product” for effective pre-loan technical assistance.

Industry Meeting: Save the date for OFN’s 2015 Western Regional Meeting September 17, 2015 at Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco (101 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94105). This promises to be an engaging meeting where CDFI staff, Board members, partners, and others can network and learn more about what’s happening in the industry and in the region. Stay tuned for more information in August.