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Year in Micro, Three More Bills

In this week’s Must Know:

  • Year of the Micro, Three More Bills
  • Innovative Ideas to Bolster Your Clients
  • The Goodies: information on important opportunities like trainings, funding, scholarship programs. This week’s highlight includes the groundbreaking ESL (English as a Second Language) entrepreneurship curriculum designed for entrepreneurs with limited English skills and other assets of C.E.O. Women.

Year of the Micro, Three More

The moment you’ve all been waiting for – the last of the federal bills, for now. CAMEO is involved in a bill that will be introduced in the next couple of months. And you never know, small business is all the rage. President Obama said he wants a small business bill on his desk. Let’s just hope by small, he doesn’t only mean $10 million plus. The following bills are on our radar and when they move, we’ll move.

  • Growing Opportunities for Agriculture and Responding to Markets Act of 2011, S. 1888, was introduced by Senators Robert Casey (D-PA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) in November 2011. It will institute a lending program like RMAP to start a local farm businesses with 0% capital and an 85% federal loan guarantee.
  • Investing in America’s Small Businesses Act, H.R. 3635, was introduced by Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) in December 2011; Representative Laura Richardson (D-CA) is a co-sponsor. It would give new loan loss reserves and funding for CDFIs. While CAMEO supports this bill in theory, it contains some previsions that we feel are too restrictive, i.e. small business loans are limited to $25,000.
  • Two bills, one in the Senate (Wyden) and one in the House (Doggett) were introduced in December 2011 that would help unemployed workers to start their own businesses. However, someone attached an amendment to eliminate PRIME. We will not support this bill until that provision is removed.

A lot of bills, but that’s good for us! Refer to a recent Must Know to learn what our priorities are for this year: funding technical assistance, schedule C help and crowdfunding.

Innovative Ideas to Bolster Your Clients

Occasionally we come across really interesting tools or events that can help your clients. Have you ever tried a pitch-a-thon or cash mob. A pitch-a-thon is kind of a beauty contest for business ideas. A cash mob is using social networks to get a whole bunch of people to spend $10, $20 at a local area/store. email me if you’ve done either, what your experience has been, or if you’re interested in learning more.

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.

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. CAMEO is proud to host CEO Women’s assets.

Bay Area Conference: Join the Alliance for Community Development for an interactive day to increase your confidence in managing the financial position of your business and capacity to acquire capital. Recognize that financial management is NOT about having perfect financial statements it is about Managing By the Numbers. The Financial Foundations for Accessing Capital conference is on February 7, 2012, 8:30a.m.-4:00p.m. at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 9th Street, #290, Oakland, CA 94607-4295.

Nonprofit Finance Fund is conducting its fourth annual nationwide survey examining the current state of the nonprofit sector. AEO and CAMEO hope that you will add your voice. The survey, which is anonymous and takes only 10-15 minutes to fill out, collects data on important financial and management issues facing the nonprofit sector. (View previous year’s findings and media attention.) Take the 2012 survey before February 15, 2012!

Free Webinar (hosted by AEO): Due to the state of the economy, accounts receivable (AR) management is one of the most pivotal and valuable traits for companies and organizations nationwide. Every 30 days receivables go down 12% in value. As lenders, effective AR Management can be the difference in your growth as an organization. In this webinar you will learn specific ways to improve your revenue cycle while at the same time gain experience in good collection techniques. Join AEO in taking a deep dive into the heart of valuable AR management and collection skills. Register for the webinar on February 16, 2012 from 10:00-1:00a.m. PST // 1:00-2:00p.m. EST.

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.

Economic Gardening Professional Certification: The National Center for Economic Gardening is now accepting applications for the spring Economic Gardening Professional Certification program. After completing the online application, please submit your resume electronically to Jessica Nelson, Operations Manager, Entrepreneurship Department, Edward Lowe Foundation.

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.

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.

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.

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.