Global Entrepreneurship Week is Nov. 12-18

This has become a big event in the world of entrepreneurship, and the Maricopa SBDC is celebrating by putting on a program called “Going Global with Google”. Part of our commitment to the HP-Life Program, where we provide valuable computer and business skills to small businesses, is to honor the movement. The Google program will be held on Thursday, Nov. 15th from 11:30 to 1:30 at the downtown Phoenix HP-Life Center, 2400 N. Central, Suite 102 (South of Thomas, right behind International House of Pancakes). Our HP-Life staff will be on hand to present the Google Online program, and how you can take your small business global by using online tools and getting involved.


Post Election – What needs to be done

Taken from Online Business Journal, a good perspective on what the next few months need to look like. The Country needs to pull together and get things moving!

It’s safe to say that many business owners didn’t want President Barack Obama to be re-elected. But now they’re stuck with him. How do you make this relationship work? Here are three suggestions from business leaders as to how Obama and Congress should work together:

Put aside partisan bickering and start solving problems. This is one area where there is widespread consensus among business leaders. “The time for politics is over. It’s time now for governing,” said Greg Casey, president and CEO of the Business Industry Political Action Committee. “I think the business community is ready to participate in that.” “The nation will expect cooperation from the White House and the Congress,” said John Engler, president and CEO of the Business Roundtable, which represents large businesses. “The partisan rancor, negative rhetoric and perpetual gridlock must come to an end so that we can begin to heal this country and get it moving again,” said Chris Holman, chair of the National Small Business Association, CEO Of Michigan Business and president of the Greater Lansing Business Monthly. With Obama’s victory comes the responsibility to lead efforts to find bipartisan solutions to problems, business leaders say.

Avoid the fiscal cliff and extend current tax rates for a year. Most business groups doubt that any long-term solution to the fiscal cliff can be reached in the few weeks that remain before these across-the-board spending cuts and tax increases go into effect in January. That’s why they hope Obama and Congress will agree on a short-term solution to avoid the fiscal cliff, and then reach a grand bargain on taxes, spending and entitlement reform next year. That means extending current tax policy for another year, instead of picking winners and losers in a lame-duck session, they say. “There is no reason why all tax relief measures set to expire at year end cannot be extended for another year to allow for a working transition period on tax reform,” said Karen Kerrigan, president and CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. “There should be no rush to judgment on an issue that will affect virtually every American citizen,” said Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla.

Obama, however, made it clear during the presidential campaign that he thinks tax rates on higher-income Americans should be allowed to increase as scheduled Jan. 1 in order to reduce federal deficits.
“I would think he is going to stand firm on that,” said John Arensmeyer, founder and CEO of Small Business Majority. Arensmeyer thinks raising taxes on high-income Americans next year is a good start toward deficit reduction, since it would raise $1 trillion over 10 years. This tax increase wouldn’t hurt many small business owners, he contends, despite claims to the contrary by other business groups and Republicans. Kerrigan thinks a compromise will be reached to avoid the fiscal cliff, but “someone’s ox will be gored in the short term.” “The fog is too thick from the nasty campaign to see who or what industry that may be,” she said.

Make health care reform work for small businesses. Health care reform is here to stay, thanks to Obama’s re-election and Democrats’ success at retaining control of the Senate. So even business groups that opposed health care reform must now learn to live with it. Some business groups, such as the National Federation of Independent Business, will focus on provisions of the law that they contend make health insurance more expensive, such as a new tax on health insurers. Amanda Austin, NFIB’s director of federal public policy, said the tax will raise the cost of health insurance premiums by about $500 a year.
“We encourage President Obama to make good on his praise of small business during the campaign by working with the new Congress to repeal this tax, which is already holding back hiring at the small business level,” Austin said.

Obama isn’t likely to agree to repealing this tax, since it’s part of how Congress paid for the law’s expansion of health care coverage. Arensmeyer, whose group supported health care reform, said the time for repealing even part of the law is past. It’s time now to “get this thing implemented in a way that’s going to be most favorable to small businesses.” That means states that have been resisting health care reform should move forward with setting up health insurance exchanges for individuals and small businesses so they can get better deals on insurance, he said. It also means encouraging more small businesses to use the law’s tax credits, which can help some firms cover some of the costs of covering their employees.
“Let’s start getting it implemented, and see what works and what doesn’t,” he said.

SBA Loan Volume Down in Fiscal 2012

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s popular programs that guarantee loans to small businesses were down in Arizona from fiscal years 2011 to 2012.
The gross dollar amount loaned through the SBA’s 7(a) and 504 programs was down from $540 million in fiscal 2011 to $478 million for the year ended Sept. 30, 2012.
Still, the 2012 figure is higher than the 2010 total of $368 million.
The number of loans closed, however, did not follow the same path. That figure increased from about 1,200 in 2010 to more than 1,300 in 2011, then dropped to about 1,000 this past year.
The silver lining during this three-year period is that the average loan size increased steadily each year, from $289,000 in 2010 to $450,000 in 2012.
The SBA’s 7(a) and 504 programs both guarantee loans to small businesses. The former are typically made by commercial banks, while the latter are made by nonprofit economic development corporations.
The figures in fiscal 2011 may have been inflated because of the expiration of incentives in the Small Business Jobs Act, according to lender specialist Craig Jordan of the SBA’s Arizona district office.
The act temporarily gave lenders a 90 percent guarantee of the loan amount and waived all fees to borrowers. The normal guarantee is 75 percent.
“If I’m getting my loan for free … that is a pretty big advantage,” said Wells Fargo regional sales manager Jim Valley, a 20-year veteran of small-business lending. “In fiscal 2012 and the numbers that just came out, none of those things existed.”
Jordan said SBA lending in Arizona totaled about $140 million for the three months ended Sept. 30 — far greater than the $100 million or so the state typically does per quarter.
One factor that may be pushing quarterly numbers higher is the desire by business owners to get out of lease arrangements by purchasing a building. That is a financing need Valley has seen increase in the past 12 months at Wells Fargo. The economics are there to make the switch, he said.
Top SBA 7(a) and 504 lenders for fiscal 2012:

By loan amount:

Wells Fargo Bank: $75,201,100
Business Development Finance Corp.: $34,931,000
JPMorgan Chase Bank: $31,104,200
Metro Phoenix Bank: $30,2889,900
US Bank: $29,264,900
By number of loans:

JPMorgan Chase Bank: 210 loans
Wells Fargo Bank: 183 loans
BBVA Compass Bank: 107 loans
Business Development Finance Corp.: 66 loans
US Bank: 45 loans
Source: U.S. Small Business Administration

Arizona #50 in ranking of States Growth of Disposable Income

Wondering why you and your neighbors might be feeling the pinch of the great recession more than the U.S. average? The Per capita disposable personal income in Arizona rose less than 5 percent between 2006 and 2011, the lowest rate of any state in the nation besides Nevada.

New research from ON Numbers shows Arizona’s per capita disposable personal income was $30,557 in 2006 and $32,015 last year, for growth of 4.77 percent [over five years!]

Disposable personal income is defined as all money received from all sources, minus federal, state and local income taxes and motor vehicle taxes.

The strongest growth was seen in the Dakotas, which has seen an oil boom in recent years.
Per capita disposable personal income shot up by 42.2 percent in North Dakota during the most recent five-year period tracked by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. South Dakota is a respectable runner-up with a growth rate of 32.6 percent between 2006 and 2011.

No other state registered an increase larger than 24 percent over that span. Disposable income grew by 11.7 percent on a national basis during the half-decade, barely outstripping the inflation rate of 11.6 percent.
The only state to see disposable income drop was Nevada, where it fell 2.3 percent from 2006 to 2011. [Nevada was 51st on the list, at the very bottom.]

Gateway CEI Incubator Planning 500 New Jobs for Region

Officials with a new business incubator at GateWay Community College in central Phoenix say they hope to add nearly 500 jobs to the area within the next few years.

To accomplish that goal, they know they must carefully select businesses and startups with potential to grow and excel.

The Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation has 35 spaces available, but only two businesses have completed the center’s rigorous application process. The facility, which cost about $6 million to build, seeks to house and develop early-stage companies focused on biotechnology, clean technology, renewable energy, technology and software, and professional services.

“We provide a phenomenal amount of entrepreneurship service,” Executive Director Jeff Saville said. “All entrepreneurs see something shiny, and they will chase that for a while, but it’s our job to make sure they are staying focused.”

Phoenix has in interest in the development. The city contributed about $800,000 to the project — using 2006 voter-approved bond money — and it also helped leverage a $2 million grant from the Economic Development Administration, according to John Chan, Phoenix’s community and economic development director.

Chan said the city has targeted bio-life sciences and “young emerging enterprises” as industry sectors to focus on: “These sectors attract high-quality jobs and have high-growth potential.”

The Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation staff and mentors work closely with each of the budding businesses, both residential and affiliate. So far, only Voltmarc Technology Inc., a circuit tracing and monitoring research and development company, and Arbsource, a biotechnology company, have successfully signed on. An advisory board must approve all participating companies. Saville said they have about six more companies in the “pre-incubation queue.”

“I take pride in CEI being an incubator that advertises a high degree of selectivity,” Arbsource founder and CEO Mark Sholin said. “Resident companies have to have not only an excellent business model but also a strong network and sufficient financial traction to be able to support habitation at CEI.”

Arbsource, which deals with waste-water treatment in the food and beverage industry, was founded in August of last year. The company took up residence in the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation in July, after leaving SkySong, the Arizona State University Scottsdale Innovation Center.Sholin decided the company had enough money to branch out and find a larger space with new networking opportunities.

“We went in with an open mind and had high expectations,” he said of the GateWay project. “CEI has the perfect mix of office space, lab facilities, mentoring, and business-development resources to complement what we have built so far with Arbsource.”

Along with its 35 spaces, the center offers the resources of 85 mentors whose clients, both residential and affiliate, can utilize, according to marketing assistant Monique Jones.

“We lean heavily on our mentors to really help us manage the clients and help the clients,” Saville said. Mentors dish advice and provide support in areas such as human resources, accounting, public relations, social media and day-to-day activities.

The center also provides furnished offices, eight equipped wet labs, shared conference rooms and break room, and equipment needed for day-to-day office activities.

Although companies lease the space on a year-to-year basis, the incubation program takes from two to five years.

Despite Arbsource leaving SkySong for the Phoenix-based project, Saville said the center collaborates with all incubators in the area. He called the relationship between the incubators a “neat ecosystem.”

The National Business Incubation Association estimates there are 7,000 business incubators in the world, and typically 87 percent of companies that graduate from such programs stay in business three years later.

“What we want to get out of this is opportunity to get in front of investors and to grow the business so that we can create jobs here in Arizona,” said Mark Mahoney,Voltmarc Technologies Inc. founder and inventor. “This is a huge asset to our business, it really is.”

Saville said the center pursues companies that have a business plan that can produce jobs, and helps foster companies that are not yet ready to join the program. Saville’s goal is to add 500 jobs to the Phoenix community in three to five years, but he has 10 years to accomplish that goal.

As the center grows, Saville said the GateWay Community College campus, near 40th and Washington streets, and surrounding area will become a hub for entrepreneurial activity.

The center had a small-scale opening in October and began accepting applications in March. Jones said they will host a grand opening in the spring, following the completion of the remaining construction in December.

“I’m just amazed at the opportunities out here,” Saville said. “I’m meeting some of the best startup companies I’ve seen in a long time.”

Read more:

Congratulations to Sanjay Dhole, Maricopa and Now Arizona State Star!

Sanjay Dhole is Technology Coordinator for the Maricopa SBDC in Phoenix, and recently awarded the Star Peformer Award by the Arizona SBDC Network in July in Prescott, Arizona. He will go on to the National level in September, and the Association of Small Business Development Centers will recognize him as an outstanding SBDC employee at its 32nd Annual Conference, Tuesday, September 11, 2012 in New Orleans. ASBDC State Stars are SBDC employees exhibiting exemplary performance, significant contribution to their state or regional SBDC program, and shows a strong commitment to small business. Congratulations to all of this year’s State Stars!

For the Facebook posting from ASBDC go to the following link…

Arizona Entrepreneurial Efforts Showing Results!

Arizona entrepreneurs are creating more jobs, making more money and are expressing more optimism about the future of the economy than counterparts in other markets, according to the Global Entrepreneur Indicator.
The GEI, an annual survey from the Alexandria, Va.-based nonprofit Entrepreneurs’ Organization, surveyed entrepreneurs around the world to measure their success and their predictions for the future.
Arizona entrepreneurs rated highly, surpassing their counterparts from across the globe.
In the past six months, 62 percent of Arizona entrepreneurs added full-time employees compared to the global average of 59 percent, according to the survey.
During that same time frame, 71 percent of local entrepreneurs reported an uptick in revenue. The global average was 68 percent.
Revenue wasn’t the only increase, either, with 60 percent of Arizona entrepreneurs reporting an increase in their businesses’ net profit, whereas only 16 percent reported a decrease over the past six months.
While there are conflicting indicators and data about whether or not the economy is on the mend, 41 percent of Arizona entrepreneurs are optimistic the U.S. economic environment will improve in the coming months.
Though fewer than half are optimistic about the economy’s future, 85 percent of local entrepreneurs said they would start a new business in the current economic climate, according to the EO survey.
The numbers back up the notion that Arizona is a great place to start and do business, said Jason Rush, chairman of Entrepreneurs’ Organization Arizona.
“There is a good environment for entrepreneurial companies in Arizona,” he said.
Rush said that many of the members of EO Arizona are not cutting back, but instead are expanding and hiring.
David Anderson, chair of the communications committee with EO Arizona, said the survey results indicate what everyone has been saying: small businesses are going to drive the economic recovery.
“It’s stronger in Arizona (because) this is a very predominant small to mid-size business market,” Anderson said. “What the EO survey represents is the economy is growing across all sectors.”
Because of Arizona’s dearth of larger companies, entrepreneurs are key to Arizona’s economy, said Max Hansen, CEO and co-founder of, a recruiting company which has experienced exponential growth in the past year.
“Since we don’t have many Fortune 500 businesses headquartered in Phoenix, I think the community has kind of thrived in small businesses, which in turn has started to develop new businesses and entrepreneurs,” Hansen said.
Hansen cited the burgeoning incubator scene in the Valley as one of the reasons why entrepreneurs fare so well in Arizona.
“Arizona is just an excellent place to start and launch a business,” Hansen said.
Rush said because Arizona’s population skews younger, it is natural there would be more entrepreneurial ventures and businesses in the state.
“It creates more opportunities for them to do new and different things,” he said.
Arizona offers access to the West Coast, has an attractive cost of labor, diversity of labor and some legislative actions that make Arizona attractive as a market, Anderson said.
Rush admits even with the strong numbers from this survey and stories from EO members, everything is not rosy economically in the state.
“I think things are starting to come back in different segments,” he said. “Is it perfect? No. Is there full access to capital that’s probably really needed? No. But it’s better than it was a couple years ago.”