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I have spent the majority of my adult life investing my own and other people's money in entrepreneurs. That's why I know the U.S. has a serious problem on its hands.
Although the stock market has tentatively rebounded, funding for the one area in which America has a distinct competitive advantage--that is, new company formation--is in scary decline. That may be a familiar refrain by now, but that doesn't make the ramifications any less real. Or less dangerous.
OK, let me get this straight: The Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy reports that 27 million small businesses in the U.S. account for 50% of the Gross National Product and employ over 50% of the workforce, and Washington figures $30 billion in loan support and some tax credits will get things done.
What's that, $1,100 per company? Wow, where do we sign up!
Our fearful leaders gave $50 billion to General Motors, and $185 billion to AIG. According to the Congressional Budget Office publication, The Budget &amp; Economic Outlook: An Update August 2009, big business has been showered with more than $10 trillion (that's a "T") in funding and commitments, including: $1.3 trillion disbursed by the Federal Reserve, with another $2.8 trillion committed (including aid to AIG, Citigroup, Bank of America, Bear Stearns; $800 billion from the Treasury, with $3.6 trillion committed (including guarantees for Money Market Funds and TARP); and over $2.1 trillion committed by the FDIC (including increased depositor insurance and more Citigroup guarantees).
Um, does $30 billion to small business make a difference?
Started with one Lincoln, limousine service now has more than 30 vehicles.
RALEIGH – On the day her divorce became final in 1990, Carrie Peele charged a total of $15,000 on three credit cards to buy a blue, 1986 Lincoln Town Car.
Peele wasn’t going on an emotional spending spree to boost her spirits. Instead, she was founding a business.
Thus was born Blue Diamond Limousines & Sedans, which provides transportation services to customers ranging from visiting celebrities to out-of-town executives to teenagers on prom night. Back then, Peele was the sole employee, the blue car was the only one available – and it didn’t take Peele long to regret her choice of hues.
If you think you only need a business plan to go fishing for capital, you are sorely mistaken.
A business plan--thoughtfully assembled and diligently updated--is the very blueprint for any company. It sets direction, facilitates communication and establishes performance metrics. Better yet, well-articulated business plans force business owners to constantly weigh the strengths and weaknesses of their operations.
Fifty-three billion smackers. That's how much telecom tycoon Carlos Slim Helu, the wealthiest human on the planet, is worth by Forbes' latest exhaustive count. (Actually, the tally was $53.5 billion--when you're dealing in 10 digits, every decimal place counts.)
Those kinds of numbers can't help but make you think: What exactly does it take to amass that kind of wealth? More important, do you have it?
Why the Hurt Locker is an excellent example of film making entrepreneurship.
For the third time in three years, the world has a new richest man.
Riding surging prices of his various telecom holdings, including giant mobile outfit America Movil, Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim Helu has beaten out Americans Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to become the wealthiest person on earth and nab the top spot on the 2010 Forbes list of the World's Billionaires.
Slim's fortune has swelled to an estimated $53.5 billion, up $18.5 billion in 12 months. Shares of America Movil, of which Slim owns a $23 billion stake, were up 35% in a year.
By 2015 there will be 500 million people under age 30 in China--roughly the population of the entire European Union. And they aren't idolizing Lei Feng, a devoted follower of Mao. They are looking to figures such as Bill Gates and Michael Dell, says Ge Dingkun, a professor of entrepreneurship at China Europe International Business School in Shanghai.
Young people, barely a generation removed from Chairman Mao's strict communism, are embracing entrepreneurship. The incomes of twenty-somethings in China grew 34% in the past three years, the largest growth of any age group, according to a survey by Credit Suisse. While large industries in China--such as banking, steel, telecommunications and electricity generation--are still essentially state-owned, a growing chunk of new wealth being created comes from the hard work and vision of scrappy upstarts.
Under the Immigration Act of 1990, the U.S. Congress set aside 10,000 annual visas for foreign investors looking for opportunities in America. Those carrots are coming in handy during what remains a debilitating credit crunch for U.S. entrepreneurs. Rather than wait a year or longer for other immigrant visas, foreign investors--through the so-called EB-5 program--can snag a slice of equity and a quick-and-dirty U.S. visa in just three-to-six months; plus, unlike other immigrant visas that might expire in a few years, the EB-5 flavor offers permanent residency. EB-5 minimum requirements: a $1 million investment from a lawful source in a new or existing commercial enterprise that directly creates at least 10 U.S. jobs. Investors can put up as little as $500,000 if the company is in a rural area or in a county sporting 150% of the average national unemployment rate. (Canada has a similar program, called the Canadian Business Immigrant Investment Program, though it doesn't impose any job-creation requirements.)
In the two years I have been writing a column for Forbes, no piece has received more responses than the one published just prior to the last presidential election. In it, I made nine predictions regarding the impact an Obama administration would have on the legal landscape, especially with regard to small businesses.
Now that we are at the beginning of a new decade, as well as the president's second year, I thought it would be interesting to see how I did. For those keeping score, I nailed all but one.
I'll admit I like being right. Too bad prescience often comes with a price.
In the introduction, I noted that the triumvirate of President Obama, Sen. Reid and Speaker Pelosi would be "potentially one of the most liberal governments the country has had in decades." I was wrong: This government may be the most liberal in the history of the United States.
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