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SBA Announces Funding Competition to Organizations Providing Training to Service-Disabled Veteran Entrepreneurs

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration today announced non-profit organizations, state and local agencies, and institutions of higher learning are eligible to compete for funding of up to $150,000 to deliver entrepreneurship training to service-disabled veterans.

Up to six awardees will use $300,000 in total funding to participate in the Service-Disabled Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program with grants from SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development. These funds will be used to cover the costs of educating service-disabled veterans planning to start a new business or expand and diversify existing small businesses.

“Despite challenges they may face, service-disabled veterans have pursued entrepreneurship and established successful companies nationwide,” said Larry Stubblefield, Associate Administrator for SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development. “We look forward to working with the awardees to provide more service-disabled veterans and their families with the training and resources they need to start or grow a small business.”

Eligible organizations should submit applications for the Service-Disabled Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program funding opportunity only through Grants.gov . Applications not submitted via Grants.gov will not be evaluated. The submission deadline is Wednesday, July 24 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development hosts a conference call Thursday, July 11 at 2 p.m. EDT to answer questions related to the Service-Disabled Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program grant announcement. Please submit questions in advance to Jerry Godwin at jerry.godwin@sba.gov no later than Tuesday, July 9 at 4 pm. EDT.

The call-in number and access code are:

  • Call in number: (202) 765-1264
  • Conference ID: 13482739#

Information, including a transcript of the webinar once it is available, will be posted on grants.gov and www.sba.gov/ovbd.

SBA Announces FY 2018 State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) Awards

SBA Awards $18 Million to Expand Small Business Exporting

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that $18 million in funding has been awarded to 47 State international trade agencies through SBA’s competitive State Trade Expansion Program (STEP), to support export growth among U.S. small businesses.

STEP is designed to meet three distinctive goals: to increase the number of small businesses that export, to increase the value of exports for small businesses, and to increase the number of small businesses that explore significant new trade opportunities. Expanding the base of small business exporters and making the process as easy as possible is a key component of the Administration’s small business strategy.

“The SBA is committed to ensuring equal access for small businesses to international markets and expanding export opportunities, and ensuring small businesses have the resources they need to drive their businesses and local communities forward,” said SBA Administrator Linda McMahon. “The STEP awards are an important resource that provide small businesses with the confidence and funding they need to thrive in this competitive international market.”

Since the beginning of the STEP program seven years ago, approximately $138 million in grants have been awarded to fund export opportunities and increase the footprint of small businesses in countries all over the world.

“The 2018 STEP awards is a great opportunity for states to help small businesses with the information and tools they need to succeed in exporting,” said SBA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Michelle Christian who oversees SBA programs in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, D.C. and Pennsylvania. “Assistance includes participation in foreign trade missions, foreign-market sales trips, and services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, as well as design of international marketing campaigns, export trade show exhibits, training workshops and more.”

STEP awards are managed and provided at the local level by state government organizations. The program is managed at the national level by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of International Trade.

SBA Announces Decrease in Surety Bond Guarantee Fees

WASHINGTON –The U.S. Small Business Administration announces the first fee decrease in Surety Bond Guarantees in 12 years. The fee decrease will be in effect for guaranteed bonds approved during fiscal year 2019, taking effect October 1, 2018 and ending September 30, 2019.

The Surety Bond Guarantee (SBG) program is reducing the Surety fee from 26 percent to 20 percent of the bond premium charged to the small businesses and reducing its contractor fee from $7.29 per thousand dollars of the contract amount to $6.00 per thousand dollars of the contract amount.

“Reducing the SBG program fees will not only directly help small businesses, but also will incentivize surety companies and their agents to increase support for small businesses in the marketplace,” said Peter C. Gibbs, Acting Director of the Office of Surety Guarantees.

Under its SBG program, the SBA guarantees bid, payment and performance bonds for small and emerging contractors who cannot obtain surety bonds through regular commercial channels.  SBA guarantees contracts up to $10 million, including the streamlined QuickApp application for those up to $400,000.

“This is great news for America’s entrepreneurs,” said SBA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Michelle Christian. “Incentivizing sureties to provide bonding for small contractors improves access to contracts, which are often make-or-break opportunities in the life of a business.”

Currently, there are 34 participating sureties and over 350 active agents in the SBG program.  On average, completed surety bond applications are reviewed and processed in less than two days.
The program is currently outperforming its previous year results yielding 27,000 jobs supported, 3,000 final bonds, and $1.7 billion in final bond contract amounts in fiscal year 2018.

For more information about this decrease or further assistance, contact Jermanne Perry, Senior Management Analyst, Office of Surety Guarantees, (202) 401-8275; jermanne.perry@sba.gov, or your local SBA District Office.

Small Businesses and Workers Benefiting from Tax Cuts

BY: SBA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Michelle Christian

President Donald J. Trump had taxpayers and small business owners in mind when he signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law December 22, 2017. The new law cut corporate tax rates from 35% to 21% for 2018 and lowered income tax at nearly all levels. Tax cuts for working families allow them to keep more of their hard-earned money and provide more opportunity for everyone to achieve the American dream.

Cutting back taxes for American business owners allows our nation of entrepreneurs to grow the economy from within while competing globally with international businesses interests. A lower tax rate opens the door to new and better opportunities. It also enables employers to reward their employees with higher wages, bonuses and better benefits, which frees up hard-earned capital for growth-minded businesspeople to reinvest in their companies by hiring more workers, buying better equipment, and building new facilities.

The new tax cuts are applied nearly across the board, but with emphasis on businesses that are key to stimulating economic growth as a benefit to the whole country. Lower taxes mean more of our own money is free for us to grow and create jobs ourselves. When we pocket more of our salaries and more of our business profits, we are more likely to spend that “newfound” money, which continues to bolster the economy so we all benefit from this increase in our “bottom line.” As I travel across SBA’s Mid-Atlantic Region to speak with business owners, they tell me they are using these tax savings to reinvest in themselves, and their communities.

As a direct result of the new tax law, Dollar Bank in Pittsburgh earlier this year announced $2,000 permanent raises for their employees making $60,000 or less per year – about 60% of their 1,300-person workforce. NexTier Bank in Butler, Pennsylvania paid out $1,000 bonuses for all employees and is using their tax cuts to fund tuition reimbursement, on-the-job training and wage raises for hourly employees.

Please be sure to think ahead about how this tax relief law affects you and your community. Look over the new tax rules with your accountant if you use one, or speak to one of the thousands of SBA-sponsored SCORE mentors or with your local Small Business Development Center for advice on the next steps for your small business. Take advantage of the extra money in your pocket and reinvest in yourselves, your business, and your country. We have a great opportunity to once again prove what small businesses can do for the economy when we remove barriers to their success.

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