Category Archives: Uncategorized
[Warning: This story is an editorial; not mine, but one I think is worth passing along unadulterated.]
Everybody loves Mother, apple pie, Ol’ Glory and small business, right? Read Steve Hochstadt’s piece about how politician’s graveling over small business owners mask the harsh reality: they’re paid to protect big business.
Seems like it’s a great time to be a small business. Nearly everybody says they support small business. President Obama praised small businesses three times in his State of the Union speech. He singled out one small business owner of eight pizza parlors in Minneapolis. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington mentioned small business once in her official Republican response. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, who offered the official tea party response, said nothing about small business. But certainly none of them praised big business.
The trouble is that rhetoric pays no bills. Private lenders have favored big business lately. Private sector lendingto small businesses declined 10 percent, while loans over $1 million to large businesses increased about 18 percent.
The government has been more helpful. Although Republicans see themselves as much more friendly to business than Democrats, virtually all of them in both the House and Senate voted against the Small Business Jobs Act in 2010, which greatly increased government lending to small businesses. The amount of money lent by the federal Small Business Administration is 25 percent larger under Barack Obama than under George Bush.
As I write this, I’m sitting in a small business. Like all unique eateries, Mom and Pop groceries, and other locally owned small businesses, BJ’s Restaurant in Jacksonville struggles against the industrial giants. The biggest American companies get the most benefits from the government. The Cato Institute, a libertarian think thank, estimated annual corporate welfare from the government to be near $100 billion, dwarfing the SBA loans. Estimates from elsewhere on the political spectrum are similar. Billions go to fossil fuel giants, but when President Obama suggested in the State of the Union address that these be trimmed, he got a stony reaction from Republicans.
By Charles H. Green
VilCap:Start – Clarkston, a start-up entrepreneur accelerator was a success in early 2013, with 12 entrepreneurs finishing the program and three selected by their peers to receive low-cost business loans. The program was a joint venture between Village Capital and Emory University’s Goizueta Social Enterprise Center.
The 12 fledgling business people met weekly for a three month program to develop stronger skills to start and operate a business. Dozens of volunteer mentors contributed time to meet and discuss various topics from financing, business law, accounting, marketing and logistics. After several weeks, these entrepreneurs practiced their ‘pitch’ to the assembled class to begin honing skills to sell their products, negotiate financing and even appeal for capital investments.
At the conclusion of the program, each entrepreneur made a final pitch to their 11 colleagues and then voted among themselves for who was the most qualified three participants who were to receive financing. The three chosen business owners each received a $10,000 micro loan to support their business.
The organizers are gearing up to run a second iteration of the program, which will launch with a new set of entrepreneurs in early 2014. For more information, read more at Village Capital Clarkston.
A documentary was produced to highlight the program, The New Entrepreneur: Odyssey for a Dream, which will air on PBA30, public television in Georgia on December 25 at 7pm (see the trailer). This film makes the case for social enterprises and the catalyst they can be to provide mentorship around and over barriers to entry for inexperienced entrepreneurs.