Has Sweeney convinced NJ legislators to turn their backs on giving a living wage to NJ workers any time soon?

Fight for $15 in NJ
Source: NJ Working Families
Why will New Jersey have a ballot referendum next year (aka constitutional amendment) that will allow state voters to decide whether to approve SCR1500 and increase the state’s minimum wage – but only by 62¢ in 2018 to $9 per hour and $1.00 a year after that to finally reach $15 an hour eight years from now, in 2024?

I got a slightly confusing reply from State Senator Bob Gordon to my email regarding this issue and have been checking into what his reply could mean. Here are the facts I’ve learned: read more

Obama’s SBA rolls out entrepreneur training and microloans for formerly incarcerated individuals

Obama visits prison
Source: Whitehouse on Tumblr
This week, the leaders of the SBA, W.K. Kellogg Foundation and microlender Justine PETERSEN announced the formation of the Aspire Entrepreneurship Initiative, a groundbreaking new $2.1 million partnership to expand access to entrepreneurial education and microloans for formerly incarcerated individuals, with a specific focus on those who are parents. Initial rollout for the initiative is planned for Detroit, MI, Chicago, IL, Louisville, KY and St. Louis, MO.

“Entrepreneurship and small business ownership are proven paths toward wealth creation and financial independence especially for people who might otherwise feel trapped by their circumstances” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. “America remains a land of opportunity, a place where we believe in second changes for those who have paid their debt to society. Entrepreneurship can be a ladder of opportunity for citizens who have paid that debt but are still struggling to find employment after incarceration. With the training and startup tools provided through this partnership, these American citizens can finally start to rebuild their lives and restore their relationships with their families and communities.” read more

Three short poems I wrote tonight in eight minutes

An exercise in the co-op management workshop I attended tonight put me in charge of motivating a team of poetry writers to produce poems; and then measure our production against the forecasts that I provided before we got started. Happy to say, my team of 7 awesome poem writers produced way above expectations, with many submitting more than one poem in each of two rounds of writing – that were each four minutes long. We had fun!

Here are my submissions. What do you think?

On a cool summer’s eve
I think about politics
I think about Wednesday
I think about going somewhere this weekend
The end of the workweek
Beginning of fun!!!
Oh, I like fun.
But, wait. My job is writing poems ….
So, really, I am having fun all week.
I guess I will need to work harder on the weekend:
To have MORE fun.
Sounds like a job.
Sounds like work.
I love work. read more

Indian man invents inexpensive menstrual pad machine & changed rural women’s lives

Arunachalam Muruganantham
Source: A Mighty Girl Facebook page

A Mighty Girl reports on Facebook:

After spending years developing a simple machine to make inexpensive sanitary pads, Arunachalam Muruganantham has become the unlikely leader of a menstrual health revolution in rural India. Over eighteen years, Muruganantham’s machine has spread to more than 400 production sites that serve 1,300 villages in the poorest and least developed sections of India. Moreover, since most of his clients are NGOs and women’s self-help groups who produce and sell the pads directly in a “by the women, for the women, and to the women” model, the average machine also provides employment for ten women. His success, both at providing women with more hygienic options and creating local economic opportunities for women, is generating interest in his machine in many developing countries. read more

Got an amazing success story? Submit it to the SBA for national recognition.

SBA small biz week award
Source: SBA small biz week award contest
If you are a small business owner with an amazing success story to tell – submit your story to the 2016 National Small Business Week Awards contest. Apply online by January 11 2016 at http://awards.sba.gov.

You can also apply by mail or hand deliver to the nearest SBA District Office. Postmark or hand delivery must be submitted no later than 3pm ET on January 11 2016. Winners will be announced during National Small Business Week, May 1-7 2016.

National Small Business Week award categories include:
Small Business Person of the Year Award
Small Business Exporter of the Year
Phoenix Award for Small Business Disaster Recovery
Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery
Federal Procurement Award- Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year Award
Federal Procurement Award- Small Business Subcontractor of the Year Award
Federal Procurement Award- Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for Excellence
8(a) Graduate of the Year Award
Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Award
Veterans Business Outreach Center Excellence in Service Award
Women’s Business Center of Excellence Award
Jody C. Raskind Lender of the Year
Small Business Investment Company of the Year read more

Uber CEO calls it: the GOP objects to Obamacare because it frees workers

Obamacare Facts
I’ve been waiting for someone with authority to come out and say this. Now Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has, and a New York Magazine reporter expands on the theme: universal healthcare in America is a problem for capitalists (represented by the GOP), because it both frees workers from staying at a job just for the health benefits and it knocks down a barrier to entrepreneurship. Capitalism always need an underclass to exploit but quality universal healthcare will make it harder to exploit workers. The worker that can easily leave a job for better conditions, opportunity or pay is a worker who has negotiating strength and may even have enough money to compete with his boss. read more

Women Entrepreneurs Rock event at legendary Stone Pony in Asbury Park on Mon 10/19

womenentrepreneursrock bannerTo facilitate a real dialog about topics important to women in business, the New Jersey Small Business Development Center at Brookdale Community College will hold its second annual “Women Entrepreneurs Rock” (aka WeRock) at a legendary music venue in Asbury Park on Monday, October 19. The event is free and open to the public.

19 October 19 2015
6-9pm (networking until 10)
The Stone Pony
913 Ocean Ave, Asbury Park, NJ 07712

A report in The State of Women Owned Businesses, 2014 from American Express OPEN says: read more

Learn how EMV chip card payment technology will affect your small business

EMV chip payment technologyThe SBA has resources to help small businesses with a payment technology revolution that’s coming soon – EMV chip card payments. Here’s what they say about it:

For merchants and financial institutions, the switch to EMV means adding new in-store technology and internal processing systems. To get chip-enabled for your business, contact your acquirer or payment services provider.

The switch to EMV also means a change in liability for credit card fraud. Today, if an in-store transaction is conducted using a counterfeit, stolen or otherwise compromised card, consumer losses from that transaction generally fall back on the payment processor or issuing bank, depending on the card’s terms and conditions. read more

Thriving local economies means more health & resilience

walmart never respectsWalmart and Target say they help communities overcome health issues and the ill effects of poverty but the reverse is true.Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Stacey Mitchell writes about the difference between communities with thriving local economies and those dominated by Big Box retail giants:

study found that counties dominated by a few big firms have … less engaged citizens than those in which economic activity is dispersed across many locally owned businesses. “We find that residents of communities with highly concentrated economies (ed note: where big box stores predominate) tend to vote less and are less likely to keep up with local affairs, participate in associations, engage in reform efforts or participate in protest activities at the same levels as their counterparts in economically dispersed environments (ed note: where small businesses proliferate)…”. read more

Start-ups need a long runway to succeed

According to Florence Lowe, Founder & CEO of SQBlueSky, the commonality all start-ups need to succeed is a long enough runway – the resources needed to ramp up to full flight when they’re getting started. The resources won’t be the same for every company. Some teams will need a lot of money to burn through while in the start-up phase, others (like Florence) count heavily on personal experience and a fabulous team, others benefit simply from applying themselves 100% to the task of getting their business fully operational. And, Florence says, read more

Army Small Business Conference Aug. 2-3

The U.S. Department of the Army Office of Small Business Programs invites small business owners to the 2012 Army Small Business Conference on August 2-3, 2012 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC.

This affordably priced national conference is designed to provide attendees with “Access to Success.” Attendees will learn about options for certifying in the various designated small business categories, how doing business with the government works and will meet directly with federal government representatives and prime contractors looking to expand their base of available small business vendors. In FY 2011, The Department of the Army awarded $23.7 billion in small business contract awards: read more

Small Business Resources

Government and Affiliated Resources

SBA Small Business Administration Website A federal resource for small business information on financing and technical assistance, a guarantor of loans for small businesses and an agency which certifies certain special small business designations which assist companies holding them with government contract procurement.

From here you can jump off to other resources like SCORE and the SBDC Centers

SCORE This is an SBA-affiliated national organization which provides free technical assistance and some training to small businesses just starting up, in growth mode or struggling with financial and other difficulties.

SCORE counsellors at one time were all retired businesspeople but now may be successful business owners and major corporation managers or executives who are currently working. Service is completely confidential and counsellors do not compete against the entrepreneurs they mentor. Most counsellors have fabulous experience in business and all are knowledgeable and share generously.

  • SBDC Centers
    These Small Business Develop Centers are partnerships provided for by federal government and community college funding, typically located at community college campuses and satellite offices throughout the country. read more