Economic Development

Washington State Small Businesses Connect to Go Green


SEATTLE, WA (October 15, 2018) - Green Business Advocate Stephanie Gowing created an ecosystem map of Seattle displaying all green energy businesses in the region and how they connect to each other, to encourage further entrepreneurship and collaboration in the clean energy sector.

Read more here.

American Companies No Longer Dominate Global Venture Capital Investments

Image courtesy of the  Center for American Entrepreneurship

WASHINGTON, DC (October 11, 2018) - American businesses’ share of global venture capital funding has declined from 95% in the 1990s to 50% today, and is continuing to diminish quickly.

China’s share is growing fastest, reaching nearly 25% of the global total in 2018. Thailand has also become a leader, seeing nearly 600% growth.

While Asia’s growth is skyrocketing, the US continues to thrive and break records. American companies received more venture capital investments in the first six months of 2018 as they did in the past ten years total, according to PitchBook.

Read the article here.

Oakland Establishes Public Bank to Invest Money in Local Community


OAKLAND, CA (October 8, 2018) - Oakland will establish the first city-owned public bank in the United States, with ownership shared by Oakland, Richmond, Berkeley and Alameda County. Local residents’ distaste for corruption on Wall Street inspired this initiative, to avoid spending millions on debt servicing and transaction fees at big banks and reinvest money into the community.

The Bank of North Dakota is the only other public bank in the US and has proved to be a success thus far, earning $136 million for the state last year in its thirteenth consecutive year of profits. $30 to 50 million of these profits fund education, infrastructure projects and disaster relief programs each year.

Read the article here.

Chicago Attracts Increasing Numbers of Startups and Tech Companies

Startup Funding Chicago

CHICAGO, IL (October 3, 2018) - Chicago has proven to be fertile ground for business as growing numbers of tech companies, including Amazon, have recently put down roots in the Windy City.

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel launched the ChicagoNEXT program in 2013 to promote the city’s appeal for the tech world, by building relationships and community as well as improving the city’s IT infrastructure and STEM education. In July, the state of Illinois established the Department of Innovation and Technology for similar purposes on a state-wide scale.

"Unlike Silicon Valley, Chicago's startups and other tech companies have been developing new business models from scratch and getting them to thrive on their own without necessarily having them acquired by someone else," said Todd Thibodeaux, CEO of the tech trade association CompTIA.

"It's the Chicago DNA," Andy Cohen, COO of Snapsheet said. "The people here aren't afraid to get their hands dirty and get companies going.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Harvard’s 'Opportunity Atlas' Displays Economic Mobility Challenges in America

Image courtesy of The Opportunity Atlas via NPR

Image courtesy of The Opportunity Atlas via NPR

CAMBRIDGE, MA (October 2, 2018) - A new interactive map designed by Harvard University economists and based on Census data exhibits the economic mobility patterns and challenges of neighborhoods across the United States.

The accompanying report determined that family stability, social networks, early childhood development, and college and career readiness were essential elements spurring upward mobility. Segregation was identified as a major obstacle.

“You see that for kids turning 30 today, who were born in the mid-1980s, only 50 percent of them go on to earn more than their parents did,” Harvard economist Raj Chetty says. “It’s a coin flip as to whether you are now going to achieve the American dream.”

Read the article here.

Venture Capital Limited by Geography, Race and Gender in 2017


BOSTON, MA (October 1, 2018) - Fewer than 10% of venture capital-backed startups had a female co-founder, and fewer than 1% had an African-American female cofounder in 2017, according to a recent report by Pitchbook. The study also determined that 75% of all venture capital went to companies in California, Massachusetts and New York.

Increasing access to venture capital is imperative in 2018, to empower and maximize the potential and impact of entrepreneurs of all genders and races throughout the United States.

Despite the lack of venture capital funding, companies with a woman on the founding team outperformed all-male companies by 63% in a ten-year study by First Round Capital. Racially diverse companies outperformed industry norms by 35%, according to a McKinsey study.

Read more here.

North Carolina Business Owners Seek Relief After Hurricane Florence

SBA Loans North Carolina

WINSTON-SALEM, NC (September 28, 2018) - Small business owners in North Carolina affected by Hurricane Florence face an uncertain path to recovery.

The Small Business Administration offers disaster loans specifically for victims of Hurricane Florence.

"I'm doing some research now about (Federal Emergency Management Agency) grants, disaster loans, and claiming flood insurance so I'll be prepared to advise clients in the aftermath," said financial planner Matt Stevens.

Read the article here.

Small Businesses Booming in Rhode Island


PROVIDENCE, RI (September 26, 2018) - The state of Rhode Island invested in numerous small business development and funding programs and is enjoying a subsequent boom in small businesses and startups.

The state government recently launched a small business funding program providing capital to 125 new businesses, as well as initiatives to help new and existing businesses on product development, research and recruiting new talent.

“Providence seemed like a place where people could really follow their passions and open the store of their dreams,” said Emma Ramadan, owner of Riffraff Bookstore and Bar. “Every person we turned to for help or assistance, whether in government or the small business association or our lender, helped us so much along the way.”

Read the article here.

Latino Small Business Owners Drive $700 Billion of Growth Annually, New Study Finds


WASHINGTON, DC (September 25, 2018) - Latino small businesses earned $700 billion last year and grew 31.6% since 2012 - more than double the average growth rate of small businesses in that period - according to a new study by the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

"Providing access to better and faster financing options will allow Latino-owned businesses to build upon this momentum," Manuel Chinea of Popular Bank said.

Read the entire article here.

GFA Federal Credit Union First to Fund Legalized Marijuana Industry in Massachusetts


GARDNER, MA (September 17, 2018) - GFA Federal Credit Union will become the first credit union to bank for the newly legalized marijuana industry in Massachusetts.

“When the Commonwealth legalized medicinal and recreational cannabis, we knew the multi-millions generated by this fast-growing industry would soon become a safety issue, if unbanked,” CEO Tina Sbrega said. “Our board of directors recognizes the need to provide banking services for the safety of our citizens in reducing the cash on the streets, and I applaud them for their vision and commitment to providing public safety.”

Read the entire article here.

Indiana Grants Help Small Businesses Thrive

Indiana Business Loans

LAKE COUNTY, IN (September 7, 2018) - The Lake County Economic Development Commission is awarding $750,000 in grants to support small businesses, specifically targeting rural and minority-owned ventures.

The initiative’s goal is to create as many jobs as possible, while also providing new buildings and industrial equipment for food processing and manufacturing companies.

Read more here.

Launch Alaska Funds Alternative Energy Startups

Alaska Small Business Finance

ANCHORAGE, AK (September 6, 2018) - A new business accelerator Launch Alaska is funding alternative energy ventures to explore solutions for the state’s high energy usage.

Isaac Vanderburg can! “Alaska is the ideal place for an alternative energy start up today,” said Isaac Vanderburg of Launch Alaska. “It’s a great place to prove your concept and get some traction.”

Read the article here.

MIT Collaborates with Sioux Tribes to Develop Small Business in North Dakota

BISMARCK, ND (September 3, 2018) - The Massachusetts Institute of Technology launched the Oceti Sakowin Fellowship this year to connect the MIT community with entrepreners from the Sioux tribes with a focus on clean water, economic prosperity, affordable housing and renewable energy.

“In the Dakotas, creativity and ingenuity abound, yet so often entrepreneurs in these regions have been far too under-resourced. Together we can drive abundant collaboration for all doers in Oceti Sakowin and beyond,” tech entrepreneur Megan Smith writes.

Read more here.

New Hampshire Hosts Radically Rural Conference

New Hampshire Entrepreneur Resources

KEANE, NH (September 1, 2018) - The new Radically Rural Conference, hosted on the streets of Keane, New Hampshire, will highlight culture,  entrepreneurship and business development resources opportunities in rural New England.

“How do we have an event that emphasizes how cool it is to live in rural areas and what wonderful things are going on? That they’re great places to live, but also how do they become great places to work?” asked organizer Mary Ann Kristiansen, in her quest to establish a new approach to this subject.

Read further here.

Partnership Grant Funds Business Development in New Orleans

Small Business New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS, LA (August 31, 2018) - A $6,000 Partnership Grant to New Orleans nonprofit Urban Conservancy will fund programming to educate business owners in the greater New Orleans area.

“Receiving the grant enabled us to be creative in our programming,” Abigail Sebton of Urban Conservancy said. “It is incredibly important to both create programs and to strengthen relationships between local organizations and their banking partners in the Greater New Orleans area.”

Read the article here.

Businesses Pursue Loans Before Federal Reserve Boosts Interest Rates

Business Loans

WASHINGTON, DC (August 30, 2018) - Federal Reserve interests rates are projected to rise from 2% to 3.1% by the end of 2019, indicating that the longer businesses delay to secure loans, the higher the interest rate they will pay.

“Business owners continue to invest in their firms and are finding success in securing capital, according to our latest figures,” CEO Rohit Arora says. “Smaller banks are a good source of capital for startups and companies with less than stellar credit rating.”

Read the article in Black Enterprise here.

Maine Towns Finance Business Growth


PORTLAND, ME (August 29, 2018) - Numerous towns throughout the state of Maine are issuing economic development loans to spur business growth and job creation.

The city of Portland loaned $3.04 million since 2013 to 38 different projects ranging from a daycare to tortilla manufacturers.

“The city’s commercial loan program exists to assist Portland businesses that are not yet bankable or that have a financial gap with a bank to support business growth,” Nelle Hanig, Portland’s business programs manager said.

Read the article here.

University of Nebraska Launches Biz Kids Camp to Encourage Student Entrepreneurs


KEARNEY, NE (August 25, 2018) - The University of Nebraska’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Rural Development is teaching students age 10 to 14 to develop business ideas and manage finances.

"It's to kind of light that entrepreneurial fire for these students. They might know they want to start a business someday and we're really just helping them refine those skills and put them into practice," said Aliese Hoffman, coordinator of youth education.

Read more here.

FCC Awards $254 Million to Expand Internet Access to Missouri Small Businesses

Missouri Small Business Financing

ST. LOUIS, MO (August 24, 2018) - The Federal Communications Commission allocated $254.7 million to provide over 95,000 small businesses and homes in rural Missouri with broadband internet service.

“Making sure rural Missourians have access to broadband will improve quality of life and enhance economic opportunities,” Senator Roy Blunt said of the program.

Senator Claire McCaskill called it “an important step toward connecting rural communities throughout Missouri with high-speed broadband — a service that is only becoming more and more necessary for small businesses.”

Read the article here.

Tech Partnerships a Major Success for African-American Bank in South Carolina

Business financing

COLUMBIA, SC (August 15, 2018) - South Carolina Community Bank rebounded from the financial crisis by developing a new network of Fintech partnerships.

“As a small bank, we don’t have a large innovation lab budget; we don’t have the thousands of people focused on product development that large banks have,” CEO Dominik Mjartan said. “But we do have some very good partners we’re working with that could really transform our ability to innovate and then scale the innovation.”

Read the article here.