SmallBiz Vote
  • 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

    Read More »from Surprising small biz election survey results—Part 1
  • 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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  • Economic uncertainty plagues small businesses, survey shows

    source: NSBA 2012 Midyear Economic Report

    "The constant barrage of negative campaigning and near-complete failure of Washington to govern is having a broad, negative effect on America's small businesses," according to National Small Business Association President and CEO Todd McCracken. NSBA today released its mid-year economic report, which reveals that, since the organization's December 2011 year-end report, the number of small-business owners who anticipate a recessionary economy has jumped from 14 percent to 34 percent and the number who anticipate economic expansion in the coming 12 months has dropped from 20 percent to 11 percent.

    Still, more than half of respondents (55 percent) expect a flat economy in the coming year and the same ratio says their businesses are already growing or will see growth opportunities in the coming year.

    Economic uncertainty was cited by 68 percent of small business owners surveyed as the most significant challenge to the future growth and survival of their business. Other significant

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  • #StartupLab engages young entrepreneurs to mentor peers

    StartupLab will offer entrepreneurial mentorship on Facebook

    The Young Entrepreneur Council with funding from Citi today launched #StartupLab, the beta version of a free online program that will engage age-40-and-under business founders to mentor fellow entrepreneurs.

    The program, developed in partnership with dozens of colleges, business organizations, and government agencies, will offer aspiring and existing business owners access to online mentorship via interactive video chats, how-to content, and weekly email lessons. Participating organizations will be able to request in-person mentorship events with young entrepreneurs.

    Young Entrepreneur Council founder Scott Gerber says the program aims to disrupt and democratize the delivery of business mentoring. "We need to get smarter about how we connect with people at the right stage to ensure the right outcome. This is the beginning of a new trend in the digital dissemination of mentorship resources," Gerber says, adding that the initiative is also a step toward alleviating youth joblessness and

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  • Romney’s 5 steps target business, but lack detail

    Romney's acceptance speech offered a 5-step plan for recovery

    Republicans trotted out two more entrepreneurs at the GOP convention last night to reinforce the party's argument that Mitt Romney's business experience makes him better suited than the incumbent to turn around the American economy and create better conditions for businesses.

    When Governor Romney at last took the stage to accept his party's nomination, he too emphasized what he called President Obama's lack of understanding about entrepreneurship and job creation, and outlined his own five-step plan to create 12 million American jobs. The plan was short on details, and at least one report this morning points out that economic analysts predict a gain of 12 million jobs by 2016 regardless of who is in office.

    But a poll of 250 small business owners conducted this summer by Yahoo! and IpsosMediaCT showed that Romney is the candidate favored by more small business owners. And the key issues of concern to those polled are the same ones Romney promised in his speech to address.


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SmallBiz Vote discusses candidates, policy, and news of the 2012 U.S. elections from the perspective of business owners and entrepreneurs.

SmallBiz Vote Bloggers

  • Adrienne Burke, Blogger/Writer, Yahoo! Small Business

    Adrienne Burke has been editing and writing for B2B publications since 1993 …

  • Virginia Hines, Yahoo! Small Business Advisor

    Virginia Hines leads the Yahoo! Small Business Advisor product team.



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