Blog Posts by Adrienne Burke

  • Seven small biz questions for the Presidential debate

    Small businesses want the candidates to discuss key issues

    Domestic policy, presumably including topics of interest to small businesses, will be debated by the U.S. presidential candidates Wednesday evening in Denver starting at 9:00 pm ET. What single issue of interest to small businesses would you like to hear President Obama and Governor Romney discuss?

    Yahoo! Small Business Advisor asked leaders of six small business organizations what one crucial question they want the candidates to answer during the debate. If small business advocates were hosting the debate, here's what they'd ask:

    1. John Arensmeyer, founder, The Small Business Majority: What will you do to specifically improve the opportunity for small businesses to have access to working credit?

    2. Ryan Paugh, co-founder & chief of staff, Young Entrepreneur Council: The JOBS Act, signed last spring at the White House, is a tremendous leap in the right direction. However, there are still many opponents who believe that the way the SEC has set up the new law actually makes investing

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  • Considering entrepreneurship in old age? Here’s help

    One in four people age 44-70 are interested in becoming entrepreneurs.

    We hear a lot about young entrepreneurs and the many programs designed to encourage college students and 20-somethings to build their own businesses. But what about not-so-young entrepreneurs?

    If you're over age 50 and want to start a business, or if you're nearing retirement age but facing up to the fact that you won't have enough savings to stop working, Tuesday is your day. The Small Business Administration and AARP have partnered to celebrate National Encore Entrepreneur Mentor Day on October 2. The event is part of a broader effort by the two organizations to promote entrepreneurship among individuals ages 50 and older.

    According to SBA, 25 percent of people aged 44-70 are interested in becoming entrepreneurs. More than 60 percent of Americans plan to work during their "retirement" years. Whether that's because their retirement savings disappeared during the recession, their investment portfolios have dwindled, or they just want to keep active, SBA says small business ownership

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  • Real job creators in the White House today

    2012 Empact Showcase Companies employed nearly 8,000 people and generate $1 billion+ annual revenues

    You can argue over whether Romney or Obama have created jobs, but there's no question that the people honored in a ceremony at the White House this afternoon have. Empact and the Startup America Partnership today honored the young founders of 100 U.S. businesses that collectively employ more than 5,500 people.

    Empact, which is run by a team of young entrepreneurs with impressive credentials of their own, has a mission to "facilitate a culture of entrepreneurship in communities across the world through exposure, celebration, and early stage startup support." It runs an annual collegiate tour, promotes the "entrepreneurial mindset" at conferences nationwide, and is wrapping up a four-day entrepreneurship meeting in Washington, DC, tomorrow.

    Leading established entrepreneurs, including the founders of RedBox, Chuck E. Cheese, and Priceline, chose the 100 companies honored at the White House today from a "showcase list" of 352 leading private companies started by young entrepreneurs. The

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  • SBA increases size standards for 58 industries

    Bigger businesses in 58 industries will qualify for SBA loans

    Last week we reported on rampant confusion about the size of a small business and some Republican leaders' objections to any changes in IRS definitions of small business is right now.

    Today, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced new rules increasing the size standards for businesses in 58 industries within three NAICS sectors: real estate and rental and leasing; educational services; and health care and social assistance. Effective Oct. 24, more than 18,000 additional businesses will qualify as small businesses under the new standards, according to SBA. For some industries, average annual receipts thresholds have been doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled.

    Since the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 called for a comprehensive review of all size standards, SBA has proposed new size standards for many industries. SBA says the latest revisions "reflect changes in marketplace conditions" and public comments it received to the proposed rules.

    "New size standards will enable more

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  • About those 18 small business tax cuts

    A report says small business tax cuts don't add up to 18

    Throughout their campaigns, President Obama and Governor Romney have each claimed to be the better candidate to support small business. The President has repeatedly pointed to the 18 tax cuts he's made on behalf of small businesses. Do you know which tax cuts he's referring to?

    This week CNNMoney dug into the details and the math. Turns out the Obama campaign is counting some cuts twice, and many have already expired. By CNN's count, there were only 14 tax breaks, not 18; 4 have expired, and 5 have been weakened. That leaves only 5 still in full effect for small businesses. Chances are great that you are not benefiting from more than one of them.

    The first cut of the five reportedly still in place was made available by the Affordable Care Act; the other four were created by the Small Business Jobs Act. They are:

    • a tax credit to companies that pay some health insurance and have 25 or fewer employees with average salaries of $50,000 or less. (A credit that, as we've reported, few
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  • Confused by small business definitions?

    A small business is bigger than a breadbox

    It's little wonder there's so much confusion about just what exactly a small business is. There are many definitions, and even within the federal government, there are varying standards.

    The U.S. Census tracks small businesses with under 500 employees. According to its data, 78 percent are actually self-employed individuals, and more than 95 percent of small businesses have 10 or fewer workers. Only 0.3 percent fall into the 100 or greater category.

    For research purposes, the U.S. Small Business Administration generally considers firms with fewer than 500 employees to be small businesses. But to identify candidates for its programs, the SBA defines a small business, depending on industry, based on sales or number of employees. Sales thresholds range from under $1 million to $35.5 million, with $7 million the most common benchmark. Employee number thresholds range from 50 to 1,500 employees, with 500 employees the most common benchmark.

    Among the various exceptions to SBA's 500

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  • Surprising small biz election survey results—Part 2

    Small business voters care less about taxes than jobs

    George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management says its latest survey of small business owners, conducted with, was designed to provide the media, policymakers, and the public at large with a better understanding of what small businesses value in the 2012 Presidential election. In addition to the stunning revelation that more small business owners would reelect President Obama than would vote for Governor Romney, here are some other stats from their recent Small Business Political Sentiment Survey of more than 6,000 small business owners.

    The economy/jobs was far and away the top election priority cited by respondents who identified themselves as Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. From a list of 12 polling-booth priorities including "Beating Obama" and "Beating Romney," far more respondents (40 percent) chose "economy/jobs" than any other issue. A distant second concern was "ethics/honesty/corruption in government," the top priority of 13

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  • Surprising small biz election survey results—Part 1

    Surprising small biz election survey results!

    Believe it or not, more small business owners say President Obama is a better supporter of small business than Governor Romney, according to results of a Small Business Political Sentiment Survey being widely reported this week.

    The survey contradicts the findings of a Yahoo! Small Business Advisor survey, as well as another recent poll of small business owners.

    Yahoo's survey, conducted in June and July, asked 250 respondents which candidate would be best for supporting small business issues. Responses mirrored the survey's election forecast: 47 percent said Romney's positions are best for small business, 36 percent preferred Obama's.

    And a Manta poll of more than 1,900 small business owners in August revealed that a significant majority—61 percent—said they plan to vote for Governor Romney on November 6.

    George Washington University reports, however, that based on its July-August online survey of 6,164 small business users of, 47 percent of small business owners will

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  • Small businesses tell Washington they need cash

    Small business owners told legislators this week they need access to capital, or tax certainty.There’s been a lot of talk about small businesses this election season, but this week in Washington small business owners did the talking. Their focus was on access to more money to expand their businesses. Some argued for loans, others for tax breaks.
    The Small Business Majority flew in 14 entrepreneurs from around the country for two days of meetings with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee Chair Mary Landrieu, and members of the U.S. Small Business Administration. They discussed access to capital, healthcare reform, clean energy policies, and legislative solutions to economic issues such as jobs creation. And the entrepreneurs urged Congress to pass bipartisan legislation allowing more credit unions to lend to small businesses.
    Meanwhile, several more business owners (unrelated to the Small Business Majority) explained to members of the House Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access yesterday how uncertainty about

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  • What drives innovation? SBA seeks entrepreneurs’ input

    SBA symposium will ask, What drives innovation?

    Ever wish you could tell U.S. Small Business Administration officials directly how they could support innovation? Here's your chance.

    SBA's Office of Advocacy is seeking input from small business owners and entrepreneurs in advance of a symposium it will present in Seattle next week. The event, Small Business and Government: Maximizing Entrepreneurship, Driving Innovation, hosted in partnership with the Northwest Entrepreneur Network, the Seattle Center Foundation,, and K&L Gates, will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 19, from 8:30 am — 5:00 pm PST.

    SBA is asking entrepreneurs to join an online chat to propose questions and ideas about how best to drive innovation that will help direct conversations that will take place among SBA officials, leading entrepreneurs and innovators, and investors during the event. The public is also invited to participate in the live-streamed symposium via tweet, chat, or with comments and questions directed to the panelists and speakers.


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