Get Started: Small Business Week, online seminars

NEW YORK (AP) — MAKE ME A MATCH

The Small Business Administration is holding matchmaking events during Small Business Week aimed at helping small businesses win federal contracts. Matchmaking brings small companies together with federal agencies and businesses that have federal contracts; the events give company owners the chance to learn about specific opportunities for government contracts and subcontracts.

The matchmaking meetings will last 15 minutes. The first event will take place in Dallas on June 18. The second and third will be held in Washington, D.C., on June 20-21. You need to register in advance at http://www.sba.gov/nsbw/ Click on the city you're interested in, and you'll be taken to the registration page.

Small Business Week, which includes networking events, meetings and other programs around the country, runs from June 16-21. The SBA is sponsoring all-day events in Washington, Dallas, Seattle, St. Louis and Pittsburgh.

MENTORING OPPORTUNITIES

Small Business Week events will include speed mentoring sessions that will pair entrepreneurs with mentors from the SBA's Small Business Development Centers, Women's Business Centers and SCORE, the organization that provides free counseling to small businesses. Business owners can get advice on topics including access to capital, marketing, exporting and getting a contract with the government.

The sessions will be held in Seattle on June 17, Dallas on June 18, St. Louis on June 19, Pittsburgh on June 20 and Washington, D.C., on June 21. Business owners who wish to take part must register by June 12. You can learn more about the events at http://www.sba.gov/nsbw/nsbw

THE IRS AND SMALL BUSINESS

House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) has asked the IRS whether it has targeted small business owners for political reasons as it did conservative nonprofit groups.

In a letter sent Friday to Acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel, Graves asked whether returns of small businesses were selected for closer scrutiny during the past three years. He asked how many small business returns were selected for review and what criteria were used to select companies for audits. He also asked for the average time that it has taken the IRS to do a small business audit, and how that length of time compared with all taxpayer audits.

Graves said disclosures that the IRS has targeted conservative groups raise questions about other actions the agency has taken, and that he wanted "to ensure that all taxpayers, including small businesses, are being treated fairly." He asked Werfel to respond to his questions by June 17.

The IRS did not immediately respond to a reporter's request for comment on the letter.

ONLINE SEMINARS

Small business owners can learn about using social media and building their websites at online seminars sponsored by the SBA and SCORE.

The SBA is holding a seminar to help owners learn how to engage with influencers — people who can help enhance a company's online reputation. It will be held Wednesday at 1 p.m. Eastern time. You can register at http://tinyurl.com/jwnavcy

SCORE holds a seminar Thursday with tips about building a website, including design basics. It will be held at 1 p.m. Eastern time. You can register at http://tinyurl.com/ml8uyex

On June 13, SCORE will hold a seminar on search engine optimization and other strategies for helping companies get more visitors to their websites. It will be held at 1 p.m. Eastern time. You can register at http://tinyurl.com/lerwrfo

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