Minority Business Development Agency looking for guest bloggers

This from the Minority Business Development Agency

MBDA’s Minority Business Blog is looking for Guest Bloggers.  We would like to invite you to write a guest post on the MBDA Minority Biz Blog. The topic should be relevant and something that provides information or tools to minority businesses to help them grow and be competitive.  It also serves as communication outreach with the business community, and we also like to highlight stories about successful minority-owned businesses.   Currently, we are looking for a few guest bloggers to create a series of articles.  To start we ask that you submit at least one article for publication on the MBDA Minority Business Blog

Together we can build the next generation of $100 million dollar minority businesses.  Please add your voice to the minority business community.
Some guidelines for submitting guest blogs:
* The article content must fit within the vision and mission of MBDA and add value to MBEs.

* The article should be original content that has not been previously published on any site.

* The article should be between 400 and 600 words in length.

* We can add images, but if you have an image to accompany yourarticle – it would be appreciated.  If necessary, include appropriate photo credit or copyright information.

* OLEIA reserves the right to edit or not use any articles we feel are inappropriate in anyway.
Please submit blog articles to Public_Affairs@mbda.gov

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Comments from SCORE Chicago counseling clients

SCORE surveys clients after their initial visits.  Below is a set of comments from clients.

  • Score was very helpful and I would recommend this helpful free service to anyone! Thank you for all your help!
  • Extremely impressed and overwhelmed at the professionalism and execution of my experience. Thus far with Score. My experience from navigating the website, to emailing and phone conversation with counselors, to setting appointments all has been wonderful experience. Kudos to the organization.
  • At first the counselor did not know exactly what I wanted but we got on the same page . thank you again.
  • I had no idea what to expect from SCORE.  I found it to be one of the most valuable hours I have spent in a long time.  What a wonderful service!
  • There are no easy or immediate solutions to my situation.  Hopefully, the first meeting will lead to future meetings and further discussions.
  • He enlightened me to a few new ideas. He affirmed the direction I needed to follow. We covered a lot of ground in the short time we had together.  He made a few suggestions that I am considering and pointed me in the direction of S.C.O.R.E. seminars that are offered.
  • He got us to think about our business from a different angle.  It was an hour well spent!
  • Counselor was helpful beyond my wildest expectations. He gave me what is basically a blueprint, I just have to execute. Anything else he would have been doing the work for me. The very next day I was recommending SCORE to a friend who is interested in starting a catering business

Of course, not all comments are this positive.  For some clients, it takes more than one visit.   For help for your business, visit our web site. www.scorechicago.org

Posted in Chicago small business, Clients, SCORE. Tags: , , , . Comments Off on Comments from SCORE Chicago counseling clients

Innovate and Thrive: A New Way to Lead Your Business

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) will present a 30-minute, interactive webinar on how small businesses can succeed through innovation Oct. 14, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. (ET).  This unique opportunity is free and open to all small businesses.

During the webinar, small business owners and business experts will discuss how to innovate in a live interactive session utilizing videos, online polling and a Q&A session.  Several small businesses included in the webinar demonstrate how using innovative ideas have helped them to thrive.  They are:

  • The Thunder Show of Springfield, N.J., See how a young wine retailer is using YouTube and other social networks to reach 20-somethings
  • Bike Arc of Palo Alto, Calif.Learn how a bicycle owner created a new product line by rethinking how and where to park your bike
  • To-Go-Ware of Berkeley, Calif See how one woman’s start-up encourages people to reduce their “forkprint” by buying reusable containers and utensils

SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills is featured in the webinar along with savvy business experts, including Stephen Key, an inventor and founder of inventRight.com, and Steve King, founder of Emergent Research and author of a major study on small business.  Discussion will focus on:

  • How to recognize innovation when it occurs in your business;
  • The habits of highly successful business owners;
  • New tools to help you stimulate innovation; and
  • How to improve your competitive position in the coming decade.

“Small businesses are the key driver of our nation’s economy and innovation that will create jobs and strengthen our competitiveness in the global market,” Mills said.  “This type of best practice sharing and discussion is another part of SBA’s commitment to making sure small businesses have the tools they need to succeed.”

Small businesses can register for the webinar by going to D&B’s Small Business Portal at

https://dnb.webex.com/dnb/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=713748772.

Posted in Chicago small business, Management. Tags: , , , . Comments Off on Innovate and Thrive: A New Way to Lead Your Business

City of Chicago deserves recognition for First Annual TechExpo

Despite the Olympic disappointment of last Friday, the city deserves kudos for Thursday’s TechExpo at the UIC Forum .

The official line on the Tech Expo was…

The Chicago TechExpo introduces and connects small business owners to technology solutions to grow and evolve their businesses. The one–day conference and exposition provides relevant, training and education, to allow business owners to learn how technology can improve operations, minimize time spent on administrative tasks, market their business and increase sales by using a very powerful tool: technology.

The training and education provided at the conference will empower business owners to ask questions and gain a better understanding of what technology to implement and when the best time to do so.

In today’s highly competitive environment businesses thrive by having the right technology at the right time.

The theme for this first annual conference is Positioning your business for the future. Now more than ever it is critical for businesses to position themselves for growth and technology is a powerful tool.

The city gets an A for effort.  There was a set of sponsors and exhibitors ranging from Microsoft, Harris Bank and Best Buy, through such companies as SurePayroll and Openhill, to small IT consulting and web development companies.

Attendees got a great exposure to a wide rage of IT related solutions.  While this is a start, we need to go forward..  Chicago of the 20th Century was a wonderful invention driven city.  While service is important, next year, it would be great to see a bit more on invention.

Posted in Chicago small business, Internet. Tags: , , , , . Comments Off on City of Chicago deserves recognition for First Annual TechExpo

How our workshops helped a client

One of our clients who is a participant in our certificate program submitted the following note on our website.   Our questions in bold.

Share your experiences with our counseling or workshops. We’d like to post them on our site:

Hello, I attended the get financing workshop. Unfortunately I was in a rush to catch my train to the western suburbs and was unable to fill out the feedback form. Mr. Wood was there to greet us and handed booklets and info and was very inviting.  Irv Williamson kicked off the meeting and was very knowledgeable and down to earth with great lay mans terms advice I could understand.  Mr. Bob Esquival followed and just floored me with the vast amount of knowledge and inner workings of government type loans and what is needed to succeed. Capping off the Workshop was special guest Michael Knazur from Banco Popular.  Michael was very informative and explained the financial formulas needed to help banks help you with startup loans and what bankers really look for in a business plan.

If you have a question or comment just for us, add it here.

The workshop was exactly what I was looking for. Honest real world advice and more info I had no knowledge of that will help me in my future endeavors.

Posted in Business resources, Chicago small business. Tags: , , . Comments Off on How our workshops helped a client

Spend your money on what you need; not what you want

I did the blog posting below on 6 questions to ask on getting a loan, it seemed natural to follow with with posting.  Kathryn Kerrigan, of Kathryn Kerrigan Footwear, got her loan.  She relates in this video, that she quickly realized that she had to spend her money on what she needed (inventory) as opposed to what she wanted (ads in fancy magazines).

She took stock of her capabilities and decided she could write copy and do PR.  But without shoes, she was out of business.

Posted in Chicago small business, Management, Retail business, Women. Tags: , , , , . Comments Off on Spend your money on what you need; not what you want

Interested in Obama Stimulus ARRA – Consider these 6 Points

  • First consideration is likely to go to companies who are already doing business with government
  • Spending decisions will be made by Federal, State and Local Agencies who are in charge of that area
  • Many of the Projects to be funded are likely already proposed – or extensions of current programs
  • All the money appropriated may not be spent
  • There will be transparency on award and scrutiny on spending (investment may be required to comply)
  • Find a niche (consider being a subcontractor) – then find the money
  • Please check out our interview with Kevin Ferguson of Kwame Building Group.  Kevin discussed how his company is positioned. http://blip.tv/file/2610567

    Additional information is at: www.recovery.gov and www.recovery.org .

    Posted in Chicago small business, Management, Marketing. Tags: , , , , . Comments Off on Interested in Obama Stimulus ARRA – Consider these 6 Points

    Why Lenders want a business owner to share in the risk

    This is a copy of a weekly posting done in conjunction with Crain’s Chicago Business.

    Posted by Ann D. at 8/26/2009 6:00 AM CDT

    It’s a question that Score Chicago advisers hear often in their small-business workshops: “Why does the bank expect me as the owner to come up with most of the money to start my business?”

    Quite simply, the bank wants to make sure that you have significant skin in the game. That’s the view of Frantz Osse, a Score Chicago counselor and former vice-president at Wells Fargo Bank.

    Mr. Osse reminds would-be entrepreneurs that their suppliers, partners and family investors are putting money at risk. They expect the business owner also to put money into the venture. 

    In fact, he cites this as a factor in the recent meltdown in the residential mortgage market: Many homeowners with no skin in the game could just walk away from the house, leaving the bank holding the bag.  

    Similarly, lenders like to see that small-business borrowers are willing to commit their own capital to a startup. 

    You can learn more about the lender’s perspective in
    this 25-minute video interview with Mr. Osse.

    Posted in Chicago small business, Financing and Loans. Tags: , , , . Comments Off on Why Lenders want a business owner to share in the risk

    Update on Stimulus Plan (ARRA)

    Program that will provide an update on the Stimulus Plan on September 15 from 3:30 to 5:30 in the afternoon.

    The Obama Stimulus plan has been part of the public record since February of this year. The plan has created expectations among small business. Receive an overview of the plan as passed in February;. Get updated from the SBA on current activity; hear from an executive in the construction business on how his company is taking advantage of the plan. Learn how you can work with a construction management company to participate in this opportunity.

    Receive an update from Alfred Belluomini of the SBA and get insights from Kevin Ferguson of Kwame Building Group, A Construction Management Company.  Kwame is a company focused on providing services to state, local and municipal entitities

    Click here for Registration information.

    Below is a video excerpt from an interview done in February with Alfred Belluomini of the SBA.


    Posted in Chicago small business, Financing and Loans. Tags: , , , . Comments Off on Update on Stimulus Plan (ARRA)

    Naming Your Business

    This is a copy of a weekly posting done in conjunction with Crain’s Chicago Business.
    Posted by Ann D. at 8/19/2009 6:45 AM CDT

    It’s a question Score Chicago counselors hear often in their small-business workshops: How can I protect my business name and the brand names I develop?

    Brian Fons of Corporate Creations and a frequent presenter at Score Chicago notes that many entrepreneurs start with a Google search. If the name does not come up in a search engine, they feel they are OK.

    While an Internet search is a good start, it does not really protect you.

    To really ensure that you are protected, you should first have an expert perform a trademark search.

    This is a process in which a professional combs through the federal, state and common laws databases to see if the names you’ve chosen for your business or products have been claimed by someone else.

    Once the name is deemed acceptable, Mr. Fons suggests the business owner have the trademark registered at the federal level.

    Unless you really understand the process, it is best that you hire a professional. The search and registration should cost between $1,000 and $1,500.

    You can learn more by viewing Score Chicago’s recent video interview with Mr. Fons.

    More information on trademarks and copyrights is available via this YouTube video.

    Got a question for Score Chicago? Send it via e-mail toadwyer@crain.com. Be sure to write “Ask Score” in the subject line.  We’ll run it past Score Chicago’s team of advisers and post answers every Wednesday.

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