| Advanced Protection Technologies, Inc.

Florida Manufacturers Meet with Commerce Department

Advanced Protection Technologies -- the largest private-label manufacturer of surge protective devices (SPDs) in North America -- recently hosted a roundtable with Florida business leaders and Chandra Brown, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Twenty local business leaders convened at APT headquarters in Clearwater, FL to discuss the direction of American manufacturing and give feedback to the Commerce Department. As manufacturing and exports remain an important part of the economy, American-made goods have a reputation for high quality and are becoming more desirable around the world.

Business leaders discussed what the four public-private manufacturing institutes located around the country will mean for companies like APT and the manufacturing industry as a whole. The group also covered export initiatives critical to American manufacturers such as the Trade Advocacy Center, an program that coordinates government interagency advocacy efforts on behalf of U.S. exporters bidding on public contracts overseas, and the International Trade Advisory Committee.

As business leaders raised their concerns about trade and export issues affecting their businesses, Ms. Brown offered in-depth information about the Commerce Department's Gold Key matching services, a program that connects exporters with carefully selected prospective trade partners, ways to ease non-tariff trade barriers on manufacturers, and the Small Business Administration's STEP program.

Following the discussion, Ms. Brown and the roundtable guests took a tour of APT headquarters, which has been located in Clearwater since 1985. Guests saw an SPD test in one of the labs, and a similar tour and test can also be viewed here.

| Charlotte Chamber of Commerce

Charlotte Businesses Talk Energy with Administration Officials

The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce and Business Forward hosted David Danielson, the Assistant Secretary of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy, for a business roundtable discussion on February 6th. Charlotte business leaders gathered to share their concerns and enthusiasm about energy initiatives that benefit and grow the local economy. The energy industry in Charlotte has experienced high growth and accounts for more than 26,000 employees in the Charlotte area. The emerging sector attracts major employers including Duke Energy, Siemens Energy, Celgard, Piedmont Natural Gas, CB&I and AREVA. In recent years, our region has increased its focus on sustainability and energy efficiency -- ranging from solar panel installations at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, to 24.3 million square feet of LEED-Certified  space, and more than 200 Energy Star plants and buildings in Charlotte. 

The roundtable discussion highlighted the need for federal funding of job growth solutions, federal partnerships with states and local regions and certainty in regulations. Danielson, having a background in the private sector, recognized the concerns of the group and provided information about efforts being implemented to address these issues. The group learned about the Better Buildings ChallengeNational Labs and Grid Integration Initiative as examples of tools being used to connect entities ranging from municipalities to corporations. The Charlotte business community looks forward to seeing exponential growth in the energy industry in the years ahead.

Posted In: Climate Change
| April Saylor, Digital Director

INVITE: What Does January's Employment Data Mean for the Economy?

Tune in at 4pm ET Monday, February 10th for a briefing on Friday's release of January 2014 employment data with Jennifer Hunt, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Chief Economist. At the end of the webinar, participants have the opportunity to ask questions and share advice with the chief economist. 

Register for the webinar here.

Here are the details: 

What: Monthly Jobs Briefing Webinar

When: Monday, February 10 at 4 p.m. ET

Where: Your computer

Feel free to forward this invitation to your colleagues. Participants can ask questions both live during the webinar or by sending questions ahead of time to @BusinessForward on Twitter using #AskLabor.  

Join us this Thursday for a webinar with Erin Andrew, Small Business Administration’s assistant administrator for women’s business ownership. In her role with the Office of Women Business Ownership, Andrew oversees SBA’s efforts to serve women entrepreneurs in the economy, especially those who have been historically under-served or excluded.

The webinar will include an overview of SBA programs for women entrepreneurs, including training and counseling, access to credit and capital, and other opportunities to work with SBA. Andrew will also discuss recent findings from the National Women’s Business Council, a federal advisory board that serves as an independent source of advice and counsel to the President, Congress and SBA on economic issues of importance to women business owners.

There will be time for participants to ask questions at the end of the webinar. These questions can be asked live, or by tweeting @BusinessForward using #WomenInBiz. As a reminder, this webinar is off-the-record and not meant for press purposes.

WHAT: Webinar on women’s entrepreneurship opportunities with Erin Andrew, SBA

WHEN: February 6th, from 3:00-4:00 p.m. EST

HOW: Register for the webinar here

We look forward to hearing from you this Thursday and invite you to share this information with your colleagues who might be interested. 

Secretary of Labor Tom Perez speaks with businesses about hiring efforts. | Photo credit Evan Brown, Business Forward

Secretary of Labor Tom Perez speaks with businesses about hiring efforts at the White House.| Credit: Evan Brown, Business Forward.

Today, more than 100 business leaders traveled to the White House to brief President Obama and Vice President Biden on their efforts to give long-term unemployed workers a better chance in the hiring process. Chief executives from eBay, Morgan Stanley, Boeing, Bank of America and Marriot were joined by small business owners who are working together to develop and promote new hiring best practices.  

Several workers who found jobs after a long stretch of unemployment spoke about the training programs and matching services that helped them get hired – including a PG&E apprenticeship program that helped put formerly homeless veteran Erick Varela back to work.

National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker discussed hiring programs with CEOs of Fortune 500 companies who have committed to the hiring best practices, along with two workforce training programs that help connect businesses with workers: Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership and Skills for Chicagoland’s Future.

“We still consider this not a destination, but a launch,” Sperling said. “I have no question that after tomorrow, there will be more companies that will come to sign up.”

Here's the full list of best practices on recruiting and hiring the long-term unemployed and its signers. For more information about getting your business involved, please email info@businessfwd.org.

The following Business Forward member companies signed on to implement these long-term unemployment best practices in their recruitment processes.

  • Aetna
  • Alcoa
  • American Airlines
  • Apollo
  • AT&T
  • Comcast
  • Ebay
  • Ford
  • Hilton
  • KPMG
  • Lockheed
  • Pacific Gas and Electric
  • Pfizer
  • Qualcomm
  • Time Warner
  • Visa
  • Walmart
Posted In: Jobs

 We put together an infographic so you can see how the economy has changed in the last year. Share it and tell us, where do you think we’re headed in 2014?

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| Evan Brown, Digital Associate

Louisiana Business Leaders Discuss Loan and Capital Programs with SBA

Acting Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Jeanne Hulit met with a group of business leaders Tuesday at a forum hosted by the New Orleans Business Alliance and the Louisiana Small Business Development Center. The New Orleans forum focused on a discussion of access to capital for small businesses. 

Attendees discussed a number of initiatives that are aimed at helping business owners. Here’s a recap of a few programs that came up: 

  • CAPLines program: Designed for loans up to $5 million, is structured to help small business finance their short term needs for capital, and has four main lines of loan programs depending on the business’s needs.
  • Small Loan Advantage and Community Advantage: Aimed at growing access to capital for small businesses and entrepreneurs in underserved communities. SBA supports Community Advantage loan programs that allow applications for loans up to $250,000, and $350,000 for the Small Loan Advantage program. The program encourages the growth SBA 7(a) lenders, targeting community-based, mission-focused financial groups that were previously unable to offer SBA loans. It also focuses on streamlining the paperwork and application process that can bog down entrepreneurs in their startup phase.
  • SBA’s Microloan Program: Provides loans of up to $50,000 to support startups and expansions of small businesses and some non-profit childcare centers. The SBA provides funds to selected intermediary lenders. These lenders will have their own specific requirements and terms for contracts. 
  • Supplier Connection: A public-private partnership aligned with the American Supplier Initiative. The project is designed to connect small businesses with large organizations. Backed by IBM, Supplier Connection is a free, cloud-based business-to-business community that encourages collaboration between small businesses and the supply chains of much larger companies.

To get alerts and recaps for events like these, be sure to sign-up for our email list here: http://bit.ly/bizfwd-signup

Posted In: Jobs, Business Forward Events
| Evan Brown, Digital Associate

RECAP: SBA Discusses Crowdfunding Changes for Business

Yesterday, officials from the Small Business Administration joined business leaders for a webinar to discuss the development of crowdfunding and the new rules proposed by the SEC. Pravina Raghavan, Deputy Associate Administrator for the Small Business Administration’s Office of Investment and Innovation, delivered a presentation and answered questions from business owners across the country.

In case you missed it, here are a few highlights from the presentation:

  • Proposed SEC updates would expand investment opportunities for individuals so that investors with an annual income and net worth under $100,000 can give $2,000, or 5 percent of their annual income or net worth. Investors with annual income or net wealth greater than $100,000 can give 10 percent of whichever is greater.
  • Proposed rules would increase online fundraising capacity for startups, enabling them to raise up to $1 million in a 12-month period.
  • The rules would provide guidelines for which types of companies can participate in crowdfunding, clarify disclosure rules, and standardize crowdfunding platforms and practices to protect businesses and investors.
  • The SEC is soliciting public comment until February 3rd. It will then take 90 to 120 days to review these comments, with plans to issue findings within 9 to 12 months.
  • A list of popular crowdfunding websites can be found here and here.

Recommendations for businesses interested in exploring their crowdfunding options can be found on slides 18 and 19 of the presentation. You can view the full slide deck below.

In response to strong demand, the Small Business Administration has agreed to host another webinar in the coming weeks. Stay tuned to businessfwd.org for details.

Crowdfunding - A Webinar From the Small Business Administration from businessforward
Posted In: Economic Trends
| Olivia Strong, Digital Associate

Department of Labor Talks U.S. Economy, Jobs Numbers

The Labor Market Situation - January 2014 Jobs Report from businessforward
In case you missed Monday's webinar with the Department of Labor's chief economist Dr. Jennifer Hunt, you can view the full slideshow from the webinar above.
In December, the unemployment rate declined from 7.0 percent to 6.7 percent.  Total nonfarm payroll grew by 74,000, well below 2013’s monthly average job growth of 183,000.  Dr. Hunt’s presentation covers monthly job growth by sector and population segment, but it also focuses on the problem of long-term unemployment and its impact on the economy.
For those interested in learning more about causes and potential solutions for long-term unemployment, we encourage you to participate in a conference call with the White House and the Society for Human Resources Management tomorrow. This call will also cover best practices developed by the Administration and leading businesses to help make hiring more inclusive and remove barriers that may stop qualified long-term unemployed job seekers being considered for jobs.
Friday's "Best Practices for Recruiting & Hiring the Long-Term Unemployed" conference call will begin at 1pm ET. Register for the conference call here.
Posted In: Economic Trends, Jobs