Year of Micro – Priorities

Ride the Micro Wave (Be a CAMEO Member!) – Renew or Join CAMEO!

News Flash: SBA elevated to cabinet level and CAMEO’s response. More to come next week!

In this week’s Must Know:

  • Year of Micro – Part II, Our Priorities
  • The Goodies: information on important opportunities like trainings, funding, scholarship programs. This week’s highlight includes two grant opportunites and 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.

Year of Micro – Part II, Our Priorities

As I mentioned last week, I’ve counted nine micro-related federal bills that are floating around Congress. CAMEO will be 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 learn of other bills that we might consider for action.

This week, I’ll outline our three priorities: crowdfunding, free tax advice for schedule C’s and HR 2809 Micro bill. Working backwards:

  • Priority #1: 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 (District 39 – Los Angeles, westside), Barbara Lee (District 9 – Oakland), Laura Richardson (District 37 – Long Beach). The bill, H.R. 2809, would restore and enhance the SBA’s PRIME Programs and give Micro a seat at the table. AEO worked hard to make this bill a reality.

    Action: Thank the California representatives who have already co-sponsored if you are in their district. We will seek more co-sponsors at a later date.

  • Priority #2: Entrepreneur Startup Growth Act , or H.R. 3571, was introduced by Judy Chu (D-CA)!! in December of 2011. The bill would provide free schedule C tax advice and help low-income business owners file taxes. CAMEO is quite pleased as the bill would institutionalize our successful CA-SETI project. Rep. Chu introduced this all on her own, and currently is looking for co-sponsors.

    Action: So you know what to do… find your legislator, then ask them to co-sponsor the bill. Download sample letter.

  • Priority #3: Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act, or HR 2930 was passed in the House in November 2011. The bill will amend the SEC’s securities laws to provide for registration exemptions for certain crowdfunded securities, and for other purposes. This bill would allow small investors to invest in their locally owned small businesses. A similar bill is in the Senate, S.1970.

    Action: For now, CAMEO will leave the major lifting for this bill to our allies. They’ve set up a Legalize Local Investment petition on It takes 30 seconds to support. Please do and sent on to your friends.

Warning! This is not the last you will have heard about these three – they are our priorities in the federal legislation. Let me know if you send letters.

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.

Member in the News: From the Fresno Business Journal on January 5, 2012: The Fresno County Economic Opportunities Commission will open its own credit union to take a bite out of costly payday loans while offering a full line of reasonably priced credit services to area residents.

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.

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 to ex-offenders returning to high-poverty, high-crime communities. These services will include job training leading to credentials for in-demand industries, employment preparation, mentoring and assistance connecting to supportive services such as housing, and substance abuse programs and mental health treatment. The Solicitation for Grant Applications is available on the Employment and Training Administration website. Note to CAMEO members: you may want to partner with other prison groups to go after the funding and provide self-employment training.

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 2012 application deadlines are February 1, 2012 and May 1, 2012. Learn more.

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.

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.

Community Advantage Briefing: AEO is hosting a briefing on changes to the SBA’s Community Advantage Pilot Program. If you’re a current and prospective Community Advantage lenders, register for the briefing on Tuesday, 24 January at 11:00 am PST / 2:00 pm EST. Patrick Kelley, Senior Advisor to the Associate Administrator of the Office of Capital Access, will present an overview of the Community Advantage program and answer your questions.

For Your Clients: The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is seeking nominations for awards honoring the critical economic role small businesses play in federally funded research and development through SBA’s Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs. The deadline for nominations is January 31, 2012.

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.