Get Started: Health care help, women entrepreneurs

NEW YORK (AP) — HEALTH CARE HELP

The federal government has created a new website for business owners to learn more about how the Affordable Care Act will affect them.

The site, part of the general business website BusinessUSA.gov, includes information about the law as well as questions and answers on topics such as how a company calculates the size of its full- and part-time work force.

You can visit the site at http://business.usa.gov/healthcare .

The Small Business Administration runs a separate, but connected, website: www.sba.gov/healthcare . If you click on a link on the Business.gov site to find out more about key rules and regulations, you'll be taken to the SBA site.

The Small Business Majority, an advocacy group, is holding weekly online seminars about the health care law. You can learn more and register at http://tinyurl.com/lo7djaa .

WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS AROUND THE GLOBE

In 2012, 126 million women entrepreneurs around the world started or ran new businesses, according to researchers at Babson College and universities in Chile and Malaysia. But sustaining their businesses remains a challenge.

"In most economies around the world, there are fewer women than men starting and running new businesses, but there are even fewer running mature ones," said Babson College Professor Donna J. Kelley, lead author of The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2012 Women's Report. "This raises a red flag about the ability of women to easily transition from starting to sustaining their businesses."

Female entrepreneurs trailed the percentage of male-owned businesses in almost all the 67 countries and regions studied, according to the report. Only in Mexico, Panama, Thailand, Ghana, Ecuador, Nigeria and Uganda did women's levels of entrepreneurship match or surpass that of men.

Between countries the number of women business owners varied widely. In Pakistan, only 1 percent of women were entrepreneurs in 2012. In Zambia, the number totaled 40 percent.

Women tended to own companies catering to consumers. In every region studied, at least half the women were in a consumer-related business. And, women were more likely to operate without employees. Men tended to operate businesses in a wider variety of industries. The report found that women tended to have lower perceptions of their business abilities than men did, and a greater fear of failure.

"Entrepreneurship is increasingly recognized as the driver of economic growth and societal well-being," said Babson College President Kerry M. Healey. "The report's findings suggest new ways to enable aspiring women entrepreneurs to overcome the unique challenges they face and, in the process, contribute significantly to economic development."

The report was sponsored by Babson, the Universidad Del Desarrollo in Chile and the Universiti Tun Abdul Razak in Malaysia. You can learn more about it at http://tinyurl.com/kwppmby .

SOCIAL MEDIA SURVEY

Small businesses' use of social media is rising, but nearly half of owners still don't have a Facebook page or Twitter account to support their marketing strategy, according to a survey conducted by Newtek, a provider of loans and business services to small companies.

The survey, which questioned more than 2,000 businesses, found that just 57 percent have a Twitter or Facebook account. That's up 10 percent from a survey last year.

The results show that small businesses don't take enough advantage of social media as a marketing tool, said Barry Sloane, Newtek's CEO.

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Follow Joyce Rosenberg at www.twitter.com/JoyceMRosenberg

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