NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - A campaign to promote new businesses and create jobs, bringing together government agencies and high-powered businesses such as Intel and IBM, was launched Monday by the Obama administration.
The Startup America Partnership aims to support overall entrepreneurship - with a focus on high-growth, job-creating industries such as clean energy, medicine advanced manufacturing and information technology. The partnership will rely on various means to achieve its goal, including funding, training and mentor programs.FULL STORY
New York (CNNMoney.com) - After months of debate and significant pressure from the White House, the Senate on Thursday passed a $42 billion bill aimed at helping small businesses.
The House passed its own version of the bill about 3 months ago. The Senate's version of the Small Business Jobs Act will now have to go back to the House, where it's expected to pass, before President Obama can sign it into law.
The measure is expected to create 500,000 jobs, according to a Senate summary of the bill. Hiring by small businesses, considered a key driver of job growth, has been shrinking over the last two and a half years.
The bill aims to spur hiring by making credit more available to small businesses. The number of loans has dropped by 17.8% since the second quarter of 2008 and the total value of those loans plunged by $60 billion to $650 billion, according to data from the FDIC.
New York (CNNMoney.com) - As mom-and-pop businesses struggle to make ends meet, the latest attempt to help them has gotten mired in Washington politics.
The debate began in October, when President Obama started pushing ways to get cheap capital to small businesses. It continued after his State of the Union address, in which he touted the proposal.
But that didn't go anywhere because of stiff congressional opposition to using money from the TARP bank bailout fund.
Now nearly two months after the administration proposed a new multibillion dollar package of loans and tax credits - with its ties to TARP stripped out - the effort to help small businesses has hit a wall.
New York (CNNMoney.com) - Stimulus money helped revive the government's small business lending program after the recession threw it into a near freeze.
But this quarter, as the bonus funds ran out, the program's growth again began to stall.
The SBA's flagship 7(a) lending program backed 12,123 loans totaling just shy of $3 billion in the three-month period that ended Wednesday. That's a 7% increase from the number of loans made in the same quarter last year, and a 21% jump in the total dollars lent out.
But compared to the first three months of 2010, lending pulled back quite a bit. The number of loans backed by the program fell 27% from the prior quarter, when the SBA processed 16,558 loans totaling $3.7 billion.
New York (CNNMoney.com) - President Obama and several members of Congress are drafting legislation for a new, $30 billion fund that would infuse community banks with capital specifically earmarked for small-business lending.
The plan is the latest spin on a proposal Obama first unveiled in October and touted in his State of the Union address. The idea went nowhere, thanks in part to the unpopularity of Obama's plan to fund the program with money from the Trouble Asset Relief Program. Congress didn't want TARP treated like a piggy bank, and community bankers didn't want the stigma of taking funds from a program known for Wall Street bailouts.
But small business lending remains a glaring trouble spot - a critical problem because small companies are traditionally the country's main generator of new jobs. Banks have slashed billions from credit lines, and small firms weakened by the recession are struggling to meet tighter underwriting standards.
New York (CNNMoney.com) - To motivate the well-off to funnel more of their cash into small businesses, should the federal government offer investors new tax breaks?
President Obama thinks so. He's thrown his support behind a proposal to eliminate capital gains taxes on investments made in 2010 and 2011 in qualifying small businesses. The House of Representatives has already passed the legislation; the Senate has yet to take it up.
"We should eliminate all capital gains taxes on small business investment so these folks can get the capital they need to grow and create jobs," Obama said at a February town hall meeting in Nashua, N.H. "That's particularly critical right now, because bank lending standards have tightened since the financial crisis and many small businesses are still struggling to get loans."
It's a message he's repeated often in recent months, and one that resonates with entrepreneurs: Nearly 60% of the 500 small business owners polled in February by PNC Financial Services Group think their business would benefit from the move.
Here's a look at what the tax break would do - and who would benefit:
New York (CNNMoney.com) - President Obama called on Congress Tuesday to recycle $30 billion of the remaining Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds into a new government lending program offering super-cheap capital to community banks that boost their small business lending this year.
Touted last week in Obama's State of the Union address, the plan is the latest incarnation of a proposal the president first floated in October. While credit conditions for large businesses have improved over the past year, small companies are still widely reporting problems finding the capital they need to fund their operations.
Since small businesses employ about half of American workers, policymakers worry that the ongoing credit crunch they face is contributing to the nation's high rate of job losses. Improving the job market "must be our No. 1 focus in 2010," Obama said last week.
At a town hall meeting in Nashua, N.H., Obama unveiled his proposed new Small Business Lending Fund. The initiative targets banks with assets of under $10 billion, which collectively account for more than half of the nation's small business lending, according to White House estimates.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - As small business lending continues to dry up, the federal government is readying two new initiatives aimed at reversing the trend. To unveil them, President Obama traveled Wednesday to Maryland, where he visited a family-owned company that used a government-backed loan to fund a recent expansion.
"There are still too many entrepreneurs who can't get the loan they need to open their doors and start hiring," Obama said from the headquarters of Metropolitan Archives, a Landover, Md., company that stores and delivers paper files. "There are still too many who are struggling to make payroll and stay open. And there are still too many successful small businesses that want to expand further and hire more but just don't have the capital to do it."
The new measures - a collaboration between the Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration - aim to make capital cheaper for community banks and raise the funding limit for loans backed by the SBA.
Under the new plan, banks with less than $1 billion in assets will be able to borrow money from the government at a 3% dividend rate. That's a reduction from the 5% rate the Treasury currently offers borrowers through its Capital Purchase Program, a TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) initiative. To qualify, banks will need to submit a small business lending plan illustrating how they'll use the borrowed money to expand their small business lending.