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Year of the Micro: Davos, 11 Bills and SOU

In this week’s Must Know:

  • Year of the Micro: Davos, 11 bills
  • State of the Union
  • 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: Davos, 11 bills

Never before has so much attention been on micro-business. The world’s economic and business leaders meet in Davos Switzerland this week for their annual World Economic Forum. The founder, Professor Klaus Schwab, writes

The key to mitigating a catastrophic situation is to provide young people with the capability to create their own jobs: to move from the pure concept of unemployment to the concept of micro-entrepreneurship. This will require fundamental changes in educational systems, nurturing a societal spirit of entrepreneurial risk-taking…

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Micro-entrepreneurship is being recognized on the world stage as a new model for job creation. Something we’ve known all along.

On the domestic front, I found two more bills that were introduced in April of last year that will expand access to capital for very small businesses. More specifically, the companion bills (one in the House and one in the Senate) would increase the percentage of credit union assets that may be loaned from 12.25 percent to 27.5 to its member businesses, as long as certain safeguards and monitoring are met. The bills introduced are H.R. 1418 by Rep. Edward Royce (R-CA) and S. 509 by Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO). The bills have bi-partisan support in both houses including lots of California sponsors. Click on the bill link above to find out if your representative co-sponsored the bill. And everyone can thank Senators Boxer and Feinstein with a quick note:

Thank your ongoing support of micro-businesses. I just learned you are a co-sponsor on S509 which will increase capital available to very small businesses.
Please make another consideration. In order to deploy the capital successfully, we need to invest in entrepreneurial training. You can read more:

These bills bring the total of micro-related bills in Congress to 11. You now know about seven. Refer to last week’s Must Know to learn what our priorities are for this year: funding technical assistance, schedule C help and crowdfunding.

State of the Union

As you may have heard: “The state of our Union is getting stronger.” The President mentioned “small business” three times, once in the context of broadband access for rural businesses and twice on what he proposes, which seem like more of the same. Read a summary of the main ideas in his speech from our DC political team, CAMEO’s response, and the whole magilla if you missed it.

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.

Free webinar: CFED will release the 2012 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard in a national webinar on January 31 at 9:00am PST //noon EST. The webinar, The 2012 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard: How Financially Secure are Families?, will highlight key national and state findings, including the latest asset poverty rates and other measures of financial security and opportunity. Register to find out how your state fares in helping its residents achieve financial security.

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.

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.

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.

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: 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.

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: 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.