Credit Union Lending Bill Would Help Small Firms

Huffington Post

Co-authored by Erica Schoder at R Street Institute

A look at the numbers makes it clear that America’s economy relies on small business. After all, they create a majority of new jobs and employ four out of six American workers. And it’s not often political leaders miss an opportunity to tout the importance of this critical constituency.

Like all businesses, small businesses need credit to innovate, expand and prosper. That’s why the two of us — whose organizations often come down on opposite sides when it comes to political issues — both believe Congress must act to free up more small business credit. In particular, we think lawmakers should approve a regulatory relief effort that would allow credit unions to lend more money to small business. Doing so is simply common sense.

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Help for Small Business After Hurricane Sandy

John Arensmeyer

John Arensmeyer

In the aftermath of one of the biggest storms the U.S. has ever seen, Northeastern small business owners are working tirelessly to deal with the damage Hurricane Sandy wreaked on their facilities, inventories and bottom lines. Because of the superstorm, many hardworking entrepreneurs were forced to close their doors for a few days, a week, or in some cases longer—which means lost profits. For some, it will be a matter of time until business as usual resumes. But as small business owners continue to recover from this huge setback, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is standing by to help.

There are a several SBA disaster assistance resources available for East Coast small business owners who were impacted by Sandy. First, businesses and non-profits of all sizes can apply for loans of up to $2 million to deal with physical damage to their businesses. This money can help them repair or replace their buildings and inventory.

Second, the same types of businesses can apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). Intended to help make up for profits lost while businesses’ doors were closed, these loans are also worth up to $2 million. Regardless of whether their businesses suffered property damage, owners in affected areas are eligible for EIDL loans to help with their working capital needs.

Finally, small business owners who own their homes can apply for loans of up to $200,000 to help fix damaged real estate. Along with renters, these homeowners can also apply for loans worth up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged personal property. Click here to find out more about your options and apply for assistance.

Immediately following Hurricane Sandy, the SBA began conducting damage assessments for affected businesses. They have a full team ready to mobilize at your beck and call, should you wish to have one of these assessments at your business. You can also get free help filling out applications and outlining plans to rebuild at your local Small Business Development Center. To find the location nearest you, click here.

Our thoughts go out to all the small business owners impacted by Hurricane Sandy. This is a difficult time, but small business owners are inherently resilient and will rebound in time. The SBA can help in many ways, and we hope you’ll join us in letting your fellow entrepreneurs know what resources are available to them.

Poll Finds Small Businesses Wary of Fiscal Cliff, Looking for Pragmatic Fix

Huffington Post

As Fairfax, Va., small business owner Mike Brey prepares to close the books on 2012, he’s also starting to make expansion plans. But he hasn’t sealed the deal on his two new Hobby Works stores yet — largely because of growing economic uncertainty as we race toward the edge of the “fiscal cliff.”

Mike isn’t the only entrepreneur who’s worried about how business will stand up to the fiscal cliff. In fact, the vast majority of entrepreneurs, 78 percent, are familiar with this situation, marked by a host of tax increases and billions of dollars in automatic spending cuts to begin Jan. 1 if lawmakers don’t devise a plan to reduce the deficit by then. According to a scientific opinion poll Small Business Majority released this week, strong majorities of entrepreneurs are concerned about nearly every fiscal cliff issue they were asked about.

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October Employment Reports Offer Small Business Rejuvenated Encouragement

Huffington Post

With the news Friday that the private sector added 171,000 jobs in October, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s evident our country is on its way to recovery. As the economy improves, it’s also clear small businesses are becoming more confident in their ability to rebound. This heightened optimism — critical in putting America back to work — is exemplified by our recent opinion poll that found, despite recent reports claiming otherwise, most of our nation’s smallest businesses believe success is on the horizon for their companies.

It makes sense entrepreneurs feel this way, given the economy has added private sector jobs for the last 32 straight months and the unemployment rate is at 7.9 percent. Hiring has been steadily picking up over the last 12 months, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the economy has created an average of 173,000 jobs a month since July. While there’s still plenty of work ahead to fix our country’s unemployment problem, our polling helps underscore the significant impact America’s smallest firms have on our economy: over half of them report increased sales or revenues over the last two years and another 50 percent plan to hire within the next two.

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