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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?
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.
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.
The statistics surrounding the survival rate for small businesses have long been subject to fervid debate. Depending on who you're talking to, the predicted life span for a startup can elicit grim to cautiously optimistic responses.
Lessons learned, key qualities and insights that will help an entrepreneur to succeed.
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