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Commerce’s NIST Announces $2 Million for Small Business Innovation Research

Wed, 2012-09-05 15:15

The Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has awarded nearly $2 million in Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards to 12 U.S. businesses. These awards provide funding to help companies develop technologies that could lead to commercial and public benefit."We are delighted by the high quality of SBIR proposals we received, and congratulate all the awardees," said Phillip Singerman, associate director for innovation and industry services at NIST.

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Is your Business Idea Patentable? A Guide to What Entrepreneurs Can Patent

Wed, 2012-09-05 07:39

Got a great idea for a business? Wondering if you can patent it before someone else comes up with something similar?
Technically, you can’t patent an idea for a business – for example, if you have a unique idea for an online store or a new chain of themed restaurants.  However, you may be able to protect and patent a method of doing business – if it meets very specific criteria and requirements.
Here’s what you need to know about what patent protection can do for your business, and about other intellectual property issues that should also come into play.

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5 Smart Things To Do Before You Search For A Franchise

Tue, 2012-09-04 08:35

If you’re thinking about becoming your own boss, and the business model of franchising sounds attractive, there are several things you need to do before you even look at a franchise business opportunity.
Even though you probably can’t wait to jump in that nice, warm franchise opportunity pool, I want you to force yourself to hold back. Read my tips below first; they’ll help you prepare for your jump.
1.      Talk To Your Family

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5 Ways to Become an Indispensable Freelancer and Earn More Money From Your Clients

Tue, 2012-09-04 07:37

If you’re a freelancer, independent contractor or consultant, scaling your business can be a challenge. After all, it’s just you. Business development and finding new clients takes time and effort, and there’s no guarantee you’ll secure the rate, volume of work or long-term relationship you need to sustain your business.
For many freelancers, success and more income come from nurturing and deepening relationships they already have. Here are some ways you can do this:
1. Make Yourself Indispensable

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Inspiring the Next Generation of America’s Entrepreneurs

Fri, 2012-08-31 12:19

The SBA is working hard to make sure small business owners and entrepreneurs have the access to capital they need to start and grow their businesses. This resulted in a record lending year in 2011, where we supported $30 billion in loans to over 60,000 small businesses. And while we’ve made great progress, we know there is more work to be done. One area we are focused on is opening the doors of entrepreneurship to more communities and demographics.

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Labor Day 2012: September 3

Fri, 2012-08-31 08:00

The first observance of Labor Day is believed to have been a parade of 10,000 workers on Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City, organized by Peter J. McGuire, a Carpenters and Joiners Union secretary. By 1893, more than half the states were observing “Labor Day” on one day or another. Congress passed a bill to establish a federal holiday in 1894. President Grover Cleveland signed the bill soon afterward, designating the first Monday in September as Labor Day.The Department of Commerce's U.S.

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New, Innovative, Online Tool to Help Weigh Benefits of Economic Development Projects Using the Triple Bottom Line Model

Thu, 2012-08-30 19:00

Guest blog post by Matt Erskine, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic DevelopmentTraditionally, the effectiveness of an economic development investment has been measured primarily by the number of jobs created and dollars leveraged. While critically important, the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has partnered with Portland State University to create an innovative, web-based tool that takes into account a broader array of economic, environmental, and social impacts to more fully evaluate the potential impact of projects.

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Do You Have an Emergency Plan? 4 Disaster Preparedness Tips for Businesses, Homeowners and Renters

Thu, 2012-08-30 15:39

If you run a small business, you understand the benefits of “business continuity” and the need to get a plan together to protect your company from being shut down by a disaster.  As a business owner, you also depend on the well-being of your employees, clients, customers and neighbors to stay in business.  So it makes good business sense to do what you can to help them prepare for any kind of disaster.

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Ready to Grow? 5 Ways to Assess Your Readiness and Plan for Expansion

Thu, 2012-08-30 07:02

Do you know where your company is headed? How do you know when it’s time to grow? How can you manage that growth so it doesn’t run away with you?
In this five-minute video – Strategies for Growth – SBA, in partnership with Dell, talked to Carey Wilson of the Maryland Small Business and Technology Development Center. He offers the following five valuable tips for preparing your small business for growth.
1. When is it time to grow your business?
You can only grow when business indicators show that you are ready for growth – and these vary by industry.

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Doing More with Less: Taxpayers Will Save with Commerce’s New Adobe Contract

Wed, 2012-08-29 12:00

Guest blog post by Commerce Chief Information Officer Simon Szykman             Last summer, President Obama launched the Campaign to Cut Waste, saying, “No amount of waste is acceptable, not when it’s your money. Just as families are living within their means, government should too, so we can invest in the things that we know will create good jobs and grow the economy.” We’re doing just that at the Commerce Department.This campaign is an administration-wide effort to make government more transparent and accountable to the American people.

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