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Mike Sabellico Bio

Mike Sabellico is a versatile executive management professional.  He possesses over twenty-five years of diverse work experience in leading programs, managing multimillion dollar budgets and assets, and improving quality and processes.  Mike is a twenty year veteran of the US Coast Guard (USCG) with several Command Cadre tours.  During his time with the Coast Guard, Mike gained a significant amount of experience in Maritime and Emergency Response, ranging from Search and Rescue and Maritime counter smuggling efforts to hurricane and natural disaster response.  He has hands on executive experience from both a planning and actual operations perspective.  After leaving the Coast Guard, he managed a robust business development program for a San Diego based defense contractor with offices throughout the US.  He left that company in 2010 to launch Vanguard Global Solutions, a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business specializing in Homeland Security, Emergency Preparedness, and specialized business consulting focusing on marketing, growth strategy, certifications, and sales.

Mike is a hands-on program manager with an impressive ability to coalesce diverse technical and management skill sets within a team environment to achieve desired results.  His government contracting experience in multiple industries provides an exceptional understanding and knowledge base into the challenges faced by small business owners entering government contracting.   Mike’s working knowledge of entering and maintaining a federal government contracting space combined with a team of exceptional professionals provides Vanguard Global Solutions a competitive advantage in the consulting business.

Mike was a consultant at the Orange County Small Business Development Center in Santa Ana, California from 2010 until recently.  He was a valuable asset to his clients at the Orange County SBDC, providing a wealth of experience in the areas of procurement, government contracting, and networking. He belongs to several defense industry associations and has built an impressive network within the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security communities in the Southern California. He fosters a strong sense of collaboration with many local organizations including the Procurement Technical Assistance Centers and State procurement offices in the region, referring clients and working collaboratively to address their needs.

Mike was recently named as the new Executive Director  for the Disabled Veteran Business Alliance (DVBA).  The DVBA formed in 1994 following the establishment of the Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE) program by the California legislature in 1989. The California DVBE program set a 3% goal for DVBE participation in state contracts for goods and services. It also required eligible DVBEs to obtain certification of their capabilities by the state’s Department of General Services before they could participate in the program.

Mike was selected as the Orange County/Inland Empire Small Business Development Center (SBDC) network’s recipient of the 2013 State Star Award. The State Star award is presented annually to an outstanding staff member from each SBDC network from across the country that shows a strong commitment to small business success and makes a significant contribution to their regional SBDC program.  Over the years, Sabellico has shared his experience and provided expert guidance in the areas of procurement strategy, certification, marketing, networking and government contracting. His assistance has led clients to be awarded over $48.8 million in contracts, $22 million in increased sales, and to create and retain 558 jobs.

Recently, Mike was selected to receive the 2014 Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Santa Ana District Office.  Sabellico was nominated for the award by Leila Mozaffari, Director of the Orange County Small Business Development Center (SBDC), in recognition of his efforts serving the veteran business community as a mentor, consultant, and volunteer.

Mike is a native of Suffield, CT. He graduated from the United States Coast Guard Academy in 1987 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Government and from the University of Phoenix in 2013 with his Master’s in Business Administration. He currently lives in Carlsbad, CA with his wife, Kathryn, and sons Shawn and Kevin.

Sandy Schneeberger bio

Ms. Sandy Schneeberger retired from the United States Army Reserves in 2005, having served from 1984-2005 for over twenty one years, including four years in active duty status.  Her specialty training allowed her to work in several job positions in Administration, Training, Logistics, and Transportation serving first at the company level, promoted to battalion, brigade and retiring out of the Headquarters Regional Support Command G-1 at Los Alamitos.

Sandy started her business during her military career, and focused on growing an environmental consulting firm providing a variety of services including hazardous materials, geology/hydrogeology, and her specialty, cultural resources management.  She received a Master’s Degree in Anthropology from California State University, Fullerton. Once retired from the Army, Sandy grew her company as President and CEO of The Sanberg Group, Inc. to three locations, including Los Angeles, San Diego, and recently Henderson, Nevada.  The firm has projects throughout the California region, Arizona, Nevada, Maryland and Minnesota.

The Sanberg Group, Inc. is a small disadvantaged business, service disabled veteran owned small business (SDVOB/DVBE), and woman / disadvantaged business enterprise (WBE/DBE), providing environmental consulting and construction contracting services to federal, state, and local government, and private industry.  Her clients include several government agencies including VA, USACE, BLM, DOD, USDA (Forest Service).  The Sanberg Group, Inc. manages numerous diverse projects and continues to develop marketing strategies in response to changes in the economy and market.

In addition to The Sanberg Group, Inc., Sandy is the owner of GSJ Utility Supply & Service, a distributor for a variety of construction materials for highway projects, and also mechanical and electrical products in the both private and public sectors. Her clients include the VA Hospitals, VA Veterans Homes, Department of Corrections, and Cal-Trans and several large construction firms.  GSJ is also a certified DVBE/SDVOB, WBE, and DBE firm.

As an advocate for the past five years, Sandy has worked to bring awareness of veteran small businesses to corporations and local government agencies and to make veteran small businesses aware of these opportunities and how to do business with corporations and government agencies in the region. She currently serves as a President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Elite SDVOB Network, a national veteran organization, and participates on several counsels or boards, including Metro (MTA) TBAC, Metropolitan Water District (MWD), City of Los Angeles, and SoCal Edison representing the local disabled veteran community in order to develop more DVBE programs and contracting goals within the Los Angeles market space.  She often serves on panels, discussions and workshops in support of the veteran and disabled veteran business community. Recently she has been appointed as California Department of Veteran Affairs, (CDVA) Co-Chair for the DVBE Council for state level advocacy.  Serving on the CDVA procurement committee, her focus is to establish more city and county DVBE programs within the state for more contracting opportunities. At the national level, she also a member of the Small Business Task Force of the American Legion, Post 1, Washington D.C. in order to keep up with the national legislation involving veterans and disabled veteran businesses that the Legion is advocating.  In 2013, The Sanberg Group, Inc. received both the Los Angeles District and the Western Regional SBA Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year, the Wells Fargo Bank Community Impact Award, and the Southern California Edison Supplier Diversity award in recognition of her commitment and service to the veteran and disabled veteran businesses and making a difference.

In addition to involvement in other professional organizations, Sandy has been an active member of the La Habra American Legion Post #267, and has served as the 3rd Vice Commander to help coordinate the post community outreach programs for the city and county. Participating in these organizations helps her to continue her commitment to serve our nation’s military veterans.

Balancing the endless hours of running her business, Sandy finds time to enjoy time with her husband of 27 years and keeping up with her two daughters.  A strong believer in giving back, she travels outside the U.S. to teach English as a second language and supports her husband abroad when planning and constructing water wells in developing nations.

 

2013 Top Three CAMEO Microlenders

CAMEO’s microlenders made 2,049 loans last year, a 30% increase over 2012, but the majority of those loans came from the following three lenders:  Opportunity Fund, VEDC and Accion San Diego. Seventy-seven percent of all CAMEO loans came from three lenders, and over half came from Opportunity Fund.  Overall these three programs have seen significant growth from 2011, anywhere from doubling or tripling the number of loans they’ve made and increasing the dollars on the street – all while maintaining their portfolio’s quality.

This is snapshot of those organizations’ lending programs; for more information, visit the microTracker website, or see our forthcoming white paper on the 2013 Microenterprise Census.

OppFundTrends

Opportunity Fund has seen the fastest growth among CAMEO’s microlenders, almost tripling the number of loans they made in 2011. They account for more than half of the total lending activity among our member network, and made 1,067 loans in 2013 with a combined volume of $11.1 million; the average loan size was $10,381. This represents a 21% increase over the previous year’s 882 loans, and a 296% increase over 2011. Despite the size of their portfolio, their borrowers pay on time and consistently, with less than 1% of their loan dollars declared unrecoverable at year’s end. They served 1,481 clients.

Opportunity Fund reported $3.33 million in revenue for the microenterprise program last year, supporting 20 FTE staff and 8.9 FTE loan officers. Their average revenue per client was $2,251.

Learn more at Opportunity Fund’s microTracker profile.

VEDCTrends

The second largest lender in our network, the Valley Economic Development Center served 1,849 clients in 2013, 302 of whom received microloans totalling $2.3 million. Their average loan size was $7,616. VEDC has also grown substantially over the last three years, more than doubling their number of loans since 2012 while maintaining the quality of their portfolio; less than 3% of the loan dollars were declared unrecoverable last year.

The organization has an annual revenue of $925,000 that supports five full time employees or equivalent, four of whom are loan officers. This is a revenue per client of just $500.

Learn more at VEDC’s microTracker profile!

AccionTrends

 

Accion San Diego has also seen consistent growth over the last several years, doubling their lending activity from 2011. In 2013, Accion served 710 clients, and made 206 microloans for a total of $2.5 million. Their average loan size was $11,915. Like our other top lenders, they were able to grow without a huge leap in loan defaults; only 0.6% of their total loan volume was declared unrecoverable in 2013.

Accion San Diego has an annual revenue of $2.02 million dollars, and has 14 full-time or equivalent employees working in its micro program, including 3 FTE loan officers. Their revenue per client ratio is $2,849.

Learn more at Accion’s microTracker profile!

WOVEN Logistics

Information about parking, nearby hotels and other logistics will be posted here.

WOVEN Speakers

Arnone BWKim Arnone
Director of Crowdfunding
Cutting Edge Capital

Afternoon Breakout I: Financing for Growth

Kim has 18 years of experience working with start-up enterprises, small- and medium-sized businesses and Fortune 500 companies to solve business, legal and capital raising challenges. She works with for-profit businesses, non-profit entities, and cooperatives to help them identify the best way to design a capital raising strategy that works with her clients’ business strategy, marketing plans and long-term goals. Kim is Co-Chair of the East Bay Women In Business Roundtable and sits on the Board of Directors of the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. Kim lives, works and plays in Oakland, and is committed to helping her community be vibrant, socially responsible, and inclusive.

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Marsha Bailey
CEO/Founder, Women’s Economic Ventures
Chair, Association of Women’s Business Centers

Lunch Keynote: Introduction

Marsha has been developing educational programs and services for women since 1983 and is the primary author of WEV’s self-employment training curriculum, From Vision to Venture. She has a Master’s Degree in Communication from UCSB and a B.A. from Michigan State University in Fine Art and Sociology. She is a certified Economic Development Finance Professional.

Under Marsha’s leadership, WEV has grown from a small organization with two employees and an annual budget of $75,000 to a nationally recognized women’s business development organization with 14 employees and an annual budget of $1.4 million.

Marsha is a member of the National Women’s Business Council, the President of the Board of Directors of the national Association of Women’s Business Centers, a member of the Union Bank of California’s Community Advisory Board, and past President of the California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity (CAMEO). She has served on the Board of Directors of many local organizations including the Fund for Santa Barbara and the Women’s Political Committee.

***

Lisa photoLisa Baird
Business Designer
IDEO

Afternoon Breakout I, II: Branding

Lisa has twelve years experience in finance and financial strategy. She is a business designer with a passion for new-venture design, and she has a particular interest in the interactive power of advanced financial models. Lisa believes that a well-designed financial model doesn’t look like a financial model at all — through beautiful design it empowers non-numbers people and bean-counters alike to imagine (and re-imagine) new businesses, products, services, and experiences.

Lisa started her career in investment banking in New York before moving into enterprise finance at two large public university systems in Texas and California. Immediately prior to IDEO, Lisa was a Senior Program Officer in the postsecondary education group at The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Lisa earned her MBA from the University of California, Berkeley. She earned her bachelor’s degree in finance as well as a bachelor’s degree in journalism from The University of Texas at Austin. Lisa is a luxury/fashion hobbyist, and in her free time, she runs a couple of small consumer-facing startups in the luxury and travel markets.

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Karen Bates photoKaren Bates
Founder of Military Loans
President, The VApro Network

Lunch Keynote

Karen completed eight years of service as a Naval Air Traffic Controller and then became a Certified Public Accountant. In 2004, Karen combined her military background with her financial expertise and founded Military Home Loans. Her passion is to ensure Veterans never miss the opportunity to experience their American dream. In 2014, loaded with 10 years of knowledge and experience from closing over 600 VA transactions, Karen and her husband Ken created The VApro Network. The VApro Network offers an in-depth VA sales training course and coaching platform for women Veterans. These graduates can then provide exclusive VA training to their own agents and provide the value that agents are craving from their lending partners.

Karen is California’s 2013 Mortgage Professional of the Year and was featured on Yahoo Finance for earning and retaining $1 million as a female entrepreneur. Karen is devoted to her husband of 16 years and is blessed with their beautiful daughter Elizabeth (8).

***

Valery BellosoValery Belloso
Business Development Officer
Accion San Diego

Morning Breakout: Microlending

Valery has worked with the organization for over eight years. As a BDO, she is instrumental in referral cultivation, partnership development, planning and executing Accion’s educational business events and raising awareness about Accion’s services in order to serve a larger number of entrepreneurs within San Diego County. She holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from University of San Diego and a Masters in Spanish Language and Literature from San Diego State University.

***

Betsy Densmore photoBetsy Densmore
Founder/Director
Academies for Social Entrepreneurship (ASE)

Morning Breakout: Demystifying Entrepreneurship

As ASE’s Director, Betsy has counseled two hundred not-for-profit organizations, catalyzing over ten million dollars in new revenue for charitable ventures. Densmore is an entrepreneur herself, having founded three hospitality businesses, an insurance agency and two nonprofit organizations. In addition to running ASE, she is part owner of two Mexican restaurants. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University’s School of Education and Psychology, where she teaches in their Social Entrepreneurship and Change Masters Program. Prior to launching ASE, she managed an office and lead programs for a global training and development organization for ten years. Her experience also includes a decade of service as the Executive Director of a community foundation, running an energy services social enterprise, and serving as the Manager of Consumer and Community Affairs for a Fortune 500 retailer. Born in Massachusetts, and a veteran of 25 years in the Midwest, she now serves on the Boards LA Social Venture Partners and the LA Chapter of Social Enterprise Alliance. She holds an MA in Public Policy and Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

***

Sharon Evans
Executive Director
Business Resources Group

Afternoon Breakout I: Financing for Growth

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Daniel Fernandez
Regional Manager, Los Angeles
Opportunity Fund

Morning Breakout: Microlending

***

Eldonna_01812Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
CEO, Dynamic Vision International Inc.
author, ThinkLikeANegotiator.com

Afternoon Breakout II: Think Like a Negotiator

Eldonna is a retired Air Force veteran with 23 years of honorable military service.  She is a negotiation and contracts expert with over 30 years of leadership, contracts management and negotiation experience.  She has negotiated contracts from $1 to over $100 million both stateside and internationally.  She was selected for an assignment to the White House Military Office in 2002.  She has 7 years of extensive experience working for defense contractors in the Aerospace Industry.  She holds a Top Secret security clearance and  has been a trusted agent of the U.S. Government for 30 years. As CEO of Dynamic Vision, she trains people how to think like a negotiator by creating win-win results and understanding pitfalls.  She is an international award winning speaker and an award winning author.

***

DJ Healy headshotDaniel J. Healy
Manager
Centro Community Partner
Entrepreneur Readiness Program

Afternoon Breakout I, II: Business Planning

Daniel’s primary responsibilities include managing Centro’s entrepreneurship development programs and training entrepreneurs. Daniel has also been leading Centro’s efforts to innovate its educational content by designing interactive learning activities that develop entrepreneurs’ business competencies, analytical abilities and creative thinking skills. Daniel has more than eight years of experience in education and economic development. Before joining Centro, he worked as Peace Corps, Business English teacher, professional trainer, business advisor and social entrepreneur. He has a BA in International Affairs from the University of Colorado and an MBA from the Peter F. Drucker School of Management.

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Archie Holton photoArchie Holton
Program Leader
Academies for Social Entrepreneurship (ASE)

Morning Breakout: Demystifying Entrepreneurship

Archie Holton is an entrepreneur, actor and executive coach. While running a successful plumbing business, he has also amassed over twenty years of experience as a transformative educator, working with thousands of people, giving them the tools they needed to create their dreams as realities. He has also created a number of record-breaking sales teams. Love (he is known as the “Love Coach”) and empowerment are keys to his unique style of training.

***

Misa PhotoMisa Misono
Business Design Lead
IDEO

Afternoon Breakout I, II: Branding

Since joining IDEO, she has led work across industries, ranging from education to beauty to food. She is especially interested in prototyping, connecting the physical with digital, and helping brands grow.  Misa previously worked in brand management at Procter and Gamble. She was a digital leader within the company, helping Secret Deodorant to win marketing innovation awards and receive national media attention from publications including The New York Times, CNN, and AdAge. Prior to P&G, Misa ran her own fashion design business, where she created custom clothing, bags, and accessories. She also ran a research group and public relations for two major universities.  She holds an MBA from Duke University and bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Political Science from Boston University. In her free time, you might find Misa behind a sewing machine, working on her latest clothing project, or planning her next dive trip.

***

 

Brandon Napoli photoBrandon Napoli
Director of Microlending
VEDC

Morning Breakout: Microlending

Brandon holds an MBA in Strategic Management and has over seven years of economic development experience. He founded the microfinance club at Point Loma Nazarene University and has taught financial literacy to refugees at the International Rescue Center in San Diego. His passion for microfinance led him from Kenya to the Microfinance Summit in Nova Scotia before joining the Peace Corps in Latin America. Brandon’s work is focused on empowering small and medium businesses by providing quality alternative lending options.

***

Dr. Garnett Newcombe
President/CEO
Human Potential Consultants, LLC

Morning Breakout: Government Contracting

In 1997, Newcombe and Joyce Keener, established HPC as a unique resource to provide comprehensive employment solutions for federal, state and local governmental agencies. Services include support staffing and program management for individuals classified as having extraordinary challenges with re-entering the workforce. The company is one of only a handful that provides a wide range of diverse employment solution services. Newcombe has over 20 years of experience in community outreach, recruitment and working with individuals classified as having extraordinary challenges with re-entering the workforce such as persons with disabilities, veterans, dislocated workers and formerly incarcerated persons. Her expertise in research, program management and development; and, service delivery of various programs evolved while teaching as an Adjunct Professor at several Southern California Community Colleges and California State University, Dominguez Hills, for more than ten years.  Read her full bio.

***

Sandy-smlSandra Schneeberger
Founder
Sanberg Group, Inc

Morning Breakout: Government Contracting

Ms. Sandy Schneeberger retired from the United States Army Reserves in 2005, having served from 1984-2005 for over twenty one years, including four years in active duty status.  Her specialty training allowed her to work in several job positions in Administration, Training, Logistics, and Transportation serving first at the company level, promoted to battalion, brigade and retiring out of the Headquarters Regional Support Command G-1 at Los Alamitos.

Sandy started her business during her military career, and focused on growing an environmental consulting firm providing a variety of services including hazardous materials, geology/hydrogeology, and her specialty, cultural resources management.  She received a Master’s Degree in Anthropology from California State University, Fullerton. Once retired from the Army, Sandy grew her company as President and CEO of The Sanberg Group, Inc. to three locations, including Los Angeles, San Diego, and recently Henderson, Nevada.  The firm has projects throughout the California region, Arizona, Nevada, Maryland and Minnesota.  (read Ms. Schneeberger’s full bio)

***

SBA'14Mike Sabellico
Executive Director
Disabled Veterans Business Alliance

Morning Breakout: Government Contracting (moderator)

 

Mike possesses over twenty-five years of diverse work experience in leading programs, managing multimillion dollar budgets and assets, and improving quality and processes.  Mike is a twenty year veteran of the US Coast Guard (USCG) with several Command Cadre tours.  During his time with the Coast Guard, Mike gained a significant amount of experience in Maritime and Emergency Response, ranging from Search and Rescue and Maritime counter smuggling efforts to hurricane and natural disaster response.  He has hands on executive experience from both a planning and actual operations perspective.  After leaving the Coast Guard, he managed a robust business development program for a San Diego based defense contractor with offices throughout the US.  He left that company in 2010 to launch Vanguard Global Solutions, a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business specializing in Homeland Security, Emergency Preparedness, and specialized business consulting focusing on marketing, growth strategy, certifications, and sales. (Read Mike Sabellico’s full bio)

***

Jesse Torres
Regional Director, Los Angeles SBDC Lead Center
Chair, CA SBDC Leadership Council

Afternoon Breakout I: Financing for Growth

ACA Enrollment Starts November 15

The second year of Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges begins November 15th. That day will be the beginning of open enrollment allowing millions of Americans to sign up for health insurance for 2015. Californians can shop for 2015 insurance policies on Covered California.

Key dates:

  • November 15, 2014: Open Enrollment begins.
  • December 15, 2014: Deadline to enroll in health insurance plan for January 1 start date.
  • December 31, 2014: Coverage from ANY 2014 plan ends.
  • January 1, 2015: 2015 coverage begins for anyone enrolled prior to December 15, 2014.
  • February 15, 2015: Open Enrollment closes for 2015 coverage. Only those qualifying for ‘special enrollment’ will still be able to apply. Special enrollment requires one of the following events: marriage, birth/adoption, loss of coverage (including changing jobs). Medicaid/CHIP applicants, as well as any SHOP applicants, can enroll at any time throughout the year.

$$$: Penalties/Fees/Taxes

  • Beginning in 2014, Americans without health insurance are required to pay a penalty on the following years taxes. In 2014, the penalty was the greater of 1% of income or $95. This penalty should be paid on your 2014 tax return, most often filed in spring 2015.
  • In 2015, the penalty for not having coverage increase to 2% of income or $325, whichever is higher. This would be paid on your 2015 tax return, most often filed in spring 2016.
  • Tax Credit: Available to small businesses that purchase insurance through the SHOP exchange. This is retroactive (meaning you can claim if you paid for employee premiums).

More information on 2015 ACA  is available.

MMS Year End Report

We’ve come to the end of our first MMS program year and want to share the outcomes. We appreciate everyone’s participation in the program and look forward to working together in the coming year to further build success. Three organizations participated in the pilot — CDC Small Business Finance in San Diego, Women’s Economic Ventures in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, and Working Solutions in the Bay Area.

Loan-Volume

In this first year all our participating organizations have:

  • Seen their lending activity increase, with one organization almost doubling the number of loans made over the 2012 program year.
  • Become proficient using the MMS program, including the Auto Review, Required Document List and communication with Accion Texas underwriting
  • Learned the MMS underwriting parameters, and have begun to identify modifications they may want to make to customize the underwriting criteria.

As a cohort, the three members of the program now constitute the fourth largest microlender in the CAMEO network with 85 loans funded. On average, lending by the cohort has increased 150% in first year of this pilot. A fourth organization, Opening Doors in Sacramento, has joined the cohort.  We can’t wait to see what they do!

Download the Executive Summary for more information.

 

CAMEO, Opportunity Fund Receive PRIME Grants

The U.S. Small Business Administration has released its list of PRIME grantees, and CAMEO, Opportunity Fund and PACE have received grant funds.  “PRIME grants are an important vehicle for the SBA to provide ladders of opportunity to underserved, economically disadvantaged small business communities. These micro-loans have a macro-impact by spurring economic growth, creating jobs, and propelling small businesses forward,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.

“PRIME funding is crucial to building the infrastructure that helps our small and microbusinesses start, grow and thrive,” Claudia Viek, CAMEO’s Chief Executive Officer, said of the program. “When businesses receive assistance from CAMEO members, they have an 80% success rate and create 2 additional jobs over 3 to 5 years.”

Full text of the press release below.

SBA Awards PRIME Grants to CAMEO and Opportunity Fund

Grants to aid organizations that help disadvantaged small businesses in Northern California

SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced the recipients of SBA’s Program for Investment in Micro Entrepreneurs Act (PRIME) grant awards, including funds for California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity (CAMEO) to build capacity amongst local Micro-Development Organizations (MDOs) and Opportunity Fund to bolster its alternative loan program.

“PRIME grants are an important vehicle for the SBA to provide ladders of opportunity to underserved, economically disadvantaged small business communities. These micro-loans have a macro-impact by spurring economic growth, creating jobs, and propelling small businesses forward,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.

PRIME grants are intended to help qualified community-based organizations provide training to small businesses with five or fewer employees that are economically disadvantaged, and businesses owned by low-income individuals, including those who live on Indian reservations and tribal lands.

Twenty-four nonprofit organizations from 16 states and the District of Columbia were named this year. Grant awards ranged from $94,000 to $250,000 and totaled $3.5 million. The grants require a 50 percent matching funds contribution by each recipient organization.  CAMEO received a grant for $175,000 and Opportunity Fund received a grant for $150,000.

CAMEO is California’s statewide micro-business network made up of over 170 organizations, agencies, and individuals dedicated to furthering Micro-Business development in California. They expand resources and build capacity for their member organizations, which provide micro-entrepreneurs with financing such as loans and credit, technical assistance and business management training.

CAMEO was one of only four organizations selected for Track II PRIME funding, which concentrates on assisting qualified MDOs to build capacity by applying new technology.  CAMEO’s program will target 50 MDOs in California – to teach and support adoption of a business planning phone app and ACCION Texas’ Microloan Management Services platform. The goal is to increase organizational efficiency and decrease costs.

“PRIME funding is crucial to building the infrastructure that helps our small and microbusinesses start, grow and thrive,” Claudia Viek, CAMEO’s Chief Executive Officer, said of the program. “When businesses receive assistance from CAMEO members, they have an 80% success rate and create 2 additional jobs over 3 to 5 years.”

Opportunity Fund is an SBA-approved Micro-lender and provides direct financing and technical assistance services to entrepreneurs throughout Northern California.  A not-for-profit financial institution, Opportunity Fund advances the economic well-being of working families by helping them earn, save, and invest in the future.

Opportunity Fund will use its PRIME grant to bolster its EasyPay loan program. The EasyPay program is an innovative alternative loan product that enables underserved small business owners access to technical assistance and capital, ranging from $5,000 to $100,000.  Loan payments are automatically deducted from their daily credit/debit card sales of the small businesses. Instead of making monthly installment payments, EasyPay borrowers base their loan repayment on their actual credit/debit card revenue by “splitting” a small, fixed percentage of each card transaction toward loan payments. Offered at low or fixed interest rates, EasyPay provides a convenient and efficient way to meet the capital and technical assistance needs of small businesses while helping these borrowers build a bankable credit history.

“EasyPay is designed to bring fair, transparent advice and capital to small business owners besieged by a growing number of high-cost, unregulated ‘alternative lenders,’” said Eric Weaver, Opportunity Fund’s Chief Executive Officer. “This grant will help us continue to expand access to affordable capital and the advice entrepreneurs in California need to invest in their businesses, create jobs, and stimulate the local economy.”

For more information on PRIME grants and a list of this year’s awardees, visit http://www.sba.gov/content/prime-grantees.

CAMEO Members Host Etsy Classes in Santa Cruz

The Santa Cruz Sentinel featured a front-page story this morning on the Etsy classes offered by Santa Cruz County, and several CAMEO members were mentioned as supporting the event! There are over 400 Etsy sellers in Santa Cruz County, and more than 90 county residents signed up to take the classes.

Barbara Mason, Santa Cruz County’s economic coordinator, contacted Etsy after learning Santa Cruz County has 400 active Etsy sellers. She didn’t expect a call back from Chief Executive Officer Chad Dickerson. Bottom line: Santa Cruz County is the fourth in the nation to offer craft entrepreneurship classes.

About a dozen organizations including the Central Coast Small Business Development Center contributed funding or time to make the classes possible. … Pricing will be covered this week along with resources such as El Pajaro Community Development Corp., an incubator, Opportunity Fund, which makes loans of up to $5,000, and micro-lenders associated with the California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity.

(read more)

 

Women’s Small Business Ownership Act

Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) has introduced the Women’s Small Business Ownership Act of 2014. The bill nearly doubles funding for Women’s Business Centers, increases federal contracting opportunities for women-owned small businesses, and increases microlending.

From the bill summary:

Women’s Small Business Counseling:Currently, there are 107 local non-profit organizations that host the Women’s Business Centers located throughout most of the U.S., which help more than 150,000 clients annually and is overseen by the SBA Office of Women Ownership. This legislation would reauthorize the Women’s Business Center program through fiscal year 2019 and nearly doubles funding authorization from $14.5 million a year to $26.75 million a year, while establishing clear rules and metrics to evaluate the success of each center.

Women’s Small Business Contracting:This legislation would authorize sole source awards to women-owned small businesses, creating parity for the Women-Owned Small Business program in terms of federal contracting opportunities. Under current law, women-owned small businesses are not eligible for sole-source contracts from the federal government. The federal government has a goal of awarding 5% of federal contracts to women-owned small businesses. This goal has never been reached and this bill will help the federal government meet that target. Had the goal been achieved, is it estimated women-owned companies would receive another $4 billion in federal contracts each year.

Access to Capital: The legislation would allow lenders in the SBA Microloan to increase overall lending capacity from $5 million to $7 million and improve the program to better meet the needs of borrowers through offering more flexible loan terms, improved technical assistance, and reallocation of resources to high performing lenders. The SBA Microloan program allows intermediaries to issue loans up to $50,000. Current law limits micro lenders from spending more than 25% of the technical assistance on a potential borrower. This provision was originally included in the pilot program legislation to make sure intermediaries did not use all of their technical assistance funds to assist businesses that did not have the potential to become borrowers. Your legislation eliminates this requirement to better assist prospective borrowers and provides lenders with more flexibility.

You can help support the bill by following the Senate Small Business Committee on Facebook and Twitter.