Michigan Makes Venture Matching Funds Available

The Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF), through the Pure Michigan Venture Match Fund (PMVM Fund), is soliciting applications from for-profit Michigan-based companies that have received an equity investment commitment from a qualified venture fund for commercialization and growth purposes to provide a match of the investment as follows:

  • Qualified venture led investments from $700,000 to $1,000,000 will be matched by a 50% ($350,000 to $500,000) investment from the PMVM Fund.
  • Qualified venture led investments from $1,000,000.01 to $3,000,000 will be matched by a $500,000 investment from the PMVM Fund.

Applications are being accepted now at: http://www.michiganadvantage.org/Pure-Michigan-Venture-Match-Fund/

To see a list of incentives/resources for companies that are located (or want to locate) in Oakland County, Michigan visit: www.globaloakland.com

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SBA Announces Grants Available for State Trade, Export Promotion

$90 Million Jobs Act Initiative Aimed at Increasing Small Business Exporting

WASHINGTON – Beginning March 1, states can apply for grants from the U.S. Small Business Administration to support efforts to increase exporting by small businesses. The State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) pilot grant initiative is authorized to provide up to $90 million in grants to states over the next three years.

The STEP pilot grant initiative is aimed at achieving two goals: 1) increase the number of small businesses that want to export and 2) increase the value of exports for those small businesses that currently export. Established by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, the 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories are all eligible to apply for grants, which will be awarded on a competitive basis.

“The global market offers countless opportunities for small business owners who are well positioned to grow their volume and customer base beyond our borders, and in doing so, create good-paying jobs in their local communities,” SBA Administrator Karen Mills said. “These grants, through the partnerships they will create at the state level, will strengthen the support available to help small business take that first step to begin exporting, and for those who are already exporting, grow into additional markets.”

The Jobs Act authorized up to $90 million over three fiscal years, $30 million each year, beginning with the current fiscal year 2011. Individual state project award amounts will vary based on each state’s proposed project plan and budget.

A state may not submit more than one application for a grant under the initiative, but may apply each federal fiscal year through the 3-year term of the pilot grant initiative. Activities that can be supported with grant dollars under this initiative may include: participation in foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, subscription services provided by USDOC, design of international marketing products or campaigns, export trade show exhibits, training workshops or other export initiatives that are in line with the goals of the pilot grant initiative.

The STEP pilot grant initiative announcement will be posted at www.Grants.gov  on March 1, 2011. The application period will be March 1 through April 26. Awards for the first year of the grant program will be issued in summer of 2011. See more information at www.sba.gov/STEP.

SBA Loan Guarantees Revert to Pre-Stimulus Levels

The time has come to say goodbye to the 90 percent loan guarantee and reduced fees that supposedly sparked a rebound in Small Business Administration lending; though many reports have indicated small business lending has practically evaporated in spite of the stimulus package enhancements.

In a few days, the SBA will run out of the $375 million in economic stimulus funds that enabled the agency to offer these enhancements. As a result, beginning Monday, Nov. 23, borrowers will have to make a choice:  They can be put on a waiting list to receive these breaks as stimulus funds become available, or they can apply for a regular SBA loan with higher fees and a lower government guarantee for the lender.

The SBA expects additional funds to become available to make loans under the stimulus provisions since not everyone who is approved for a loan will go through with it. However, loans on the stimulus waiting list run the risk of never getting funded.

As recently as Nov. 18, SBA officials said they expected to be able to make loans under the stimulus provisions into December. But loan applications surged this past week as borrowers and lenders tried to get their applications in before the stimulus money ran out.

SBA lenders, small-business groups and the Obama administration have urged Congress to find money to extend the stimulus enhancements. But Congress has to-date failed to do so.

As a result, government guarantees on 7(a) loans will revert back to the standard 75 percent for loans of more than $150,000, and 85 percent for loans of $150,000 or less. Fees on 7(a) loans and 504 loans, which are used to finance real estate, will revert to their normal levels as well.

Members of the Small Business Community Are Invited to Participate in an Upcoming Live Webchat with US Small Business Administration Leader, Karen Mills

Members of the small business community are invited to participate in an upcoming live webchat with US Small Business Administration leader Karen Mills. Administrator Mills will be answering your questions via White House Live and the WH Facebook app on Monday, November 16 at 3:15pm. Read below for more information about the event or post your questions for Administrator Mills in the comments.

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From: Karen Mills

Subject: Small Business Financing Forum

Friend:

A few weeks ago, President Obama asked the U.S. Small Business Administration and Department of Treasury to convene a forum to discuss how we can best get credit flowing to small businesses to help them make it through this recessions, and put them in a position to grow and create jobs. We’re hosting the forum next week, and I want to make sure that everyone with a stake in our recovery has their voice heard. Which is why I’ll be taking your questions live in advance of the event this Monday, November 16th, at 3:15pm EST in a live video discussion through WhiteHouse.gov/live or through the White House’s live-chat application on Facebook. And whether you can make the chat or not, I’d like to invite you to submit a question ahead of time by emailing us in advance. We’ll post the full video of the chat afterwards. I’ll be able to share the concerns of small business owners I hear in the chat with the President and Secretary Geithner, at the Small Business Financing Forum and in our conversations and meetings afterwards. The President called for this forum because he knows that small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and that they’re driving our recovery. We want to open the doors and bring everyone who’s involved in this historic effort to the table — from Administration officials and Congressional leaders to lenders and small business owners like yourself – so we’ll also be streaming the conference at live WhiteHouse.gov/blog, Wednesday, November 18th, starting at 9am EST.

Warm regards,

Karen Mills, Administrator U.S. Small Business Administration

Contest for Small Businesses Seeking Investors

I recently received notice of a contest called ‘Pitching Across America’ to find the ‘hottest emerging companies across america’ who are seeking venture capital, so I wanted to make all of my small business readers aware of it. 

pitchacrossusa_400_092009 is the 6th year this contest has been held, and this year’s competition currently includes 130 Venture Capital and Angel Investor judges.  During each of the last 5 years, 50 companies have been selected to achieve investment funding based on the Executive Summary of their business plan.

During 2009, there will be 50 Top-rated Companies selected from across the US, and of those, 1 Company will be selected as the Top Emerging Company in America. All 50 companies will receive exclusive access to pitch to investors at FundingPost CEO events, inclusion in a featured VC mailing, a full year listing on FundingPost online, and the Top Emerging Company will even be able to pitch for free at every FundingPost event nationwide!  All of the previous years winners have raised capital since winning the competition!!

You can read the profiles of the participating VC and Angel Investor judges online by clicking HERE, and learn more about the contest and how to enter by clicking HERE.  You can enter until August 14th.

If your company is seeking to raise capital, then you need to explore this year’s ‘Pitching Across America’ competition, sponsored by Duane Morris.

Importance of Budgeting and Financial Management for Small Business

In this time of economic hardship, small businesses and micro-businesses are among those being hardest hit – particularly with their inability to access lines of credit to help maintain effective cash-flow.  Therefore, it is imperative that these business owners take the steps necessary to budget and effectively manage the funds they do have available.

However, it is a common occurrence that small businesses, particularly micro-businesses having 10 employees or less, tend to shy away from developing an operating budget.  Frequently the businesses are so small or so new that the owners are convinced they have no way of projecting their revenue and therefore have nothing to budget.  This is a serious mistake! 

Budget graphicIn spite of a ‘supposed’ inability to project revenue, the business is still incurring expenses, therefore it needs to develop a basis from which it can discern business trends and identify opportunities which will enable you to make decisions about how you are running the company.  A budget is one of the most important tools to help you do this.

To help you understand the value of developing a budget – and managing that budget – for your small business we offer the article below which recently appeared on Entrepreneur.com.

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Even startups need to forecast and plan–especially now.

By Asheesh Advani   |   Entrepreneur Magazine – July 2009

Most entrepreneurs detest budgeting. Working on something as old-fashioned as an annual budget confines the imagination and limits flexibility. Still, budgets are more important than ever in today’s market environment.

I’ve heard all the excuses for avoiding budgeting. “Startup cash flow is too unpredictable.” “One big customer order could change the course of the business, so what’s the point in setting a budget?” “I can’t predict the capital market, so how can I forecast how much cash I’ll raise and be able to spend this year?”

In my experience, these excuses mask the fact that right-brain creative entrepreneurs just don’t like left-brain financial planning. So, if you’re running your startup solo, you should force yourself to develop a budget to hold yourself accountable. Here are three reasons why:

  1. It will help you to become a better manager. When done properly, budgets can be extraordinarily useful in testing and refining your ability to forecast and manage. While boards like to use budgets to hold managers accountable, the startup CEO can use budgeting to test whether the drivers of his business hold true. One straightforward way to do this is to set an annual budget with a set of key assumptions (e.g., number of new clients; product price), then reforecast the year every quarter by updating those assumptions with the latest results.
  2. It will help you raise money. When I raised money from angel investors or institutional investors, I learned firsthand the importance of budgeting. Investment terms often specify that management must provide the investors or the board with an annual budget. Developing a company culture that tracks results to budget will help you meet and exceed the expectations of your investors.
  3.  It will help you avoid running out of money. The No. 1 risk to any startup is running out of money. If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you’ll fluctuate between a conservative reality and an aggressive dream state, which keeps you motivated and helps you inspire others. When you build your budget, start with expenses, not revenue; they’re much easier to forecast. This will keep you grounded and reduce your risk of running out of money.

Asheesh Advani is president of Virgin Money USA, author of Investors in Your Backyard and founder of CircleLending, which pioneered the business of managing person-to-person loans and mortgages and was acquired by the Virgin Group.

Recovery Act Changes To SBIC Program Mean Increased Funding Available For Small Businesses

sba logoWASHINGTON – Effective today, small businesses that would otherwise have difficulty securing private equity or venture capital may find funding easier to get as a result of changes made as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Investment Company program.

“The Recovery Act expands SBA’s venture capital program to increase the pool of investment funding available to the Small Business Investment Companies licensed by SBA,” said SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills. “We believe those companies will be better equipped by these changes to help sustain and grow small businesses for their next important growth steps.”

Read about the specific changes at http://snipr.com/mireo .