A look back at some of the biggest small business and start-up stories from the past week, with a focus on Washington.
Obama unveils budget proposal for FY 2014
President Obama’s annual budget proposal came after the Republican-led House of Representatives and the Democratic-led Senate had approved their own competing budget plans. Obama’s plan would
change the way entitlements such as Social Security would be adjusted for inflation, at a slightly lower rate, and would limit tax deductions for high-income earners. The Small Business Administration would receive $810 million, $109 million less than the fiscal 2012 operating budget. Obama’s budget also calls for investing $450 billion in public works projects.
Crowdfunding is up by 81 percent
In 2012, entrepreneurs raised $2.7 billion on crowdfunding platforms worldwide, funding more than 1.1 million projects, both charitable causes and business ventures, on donation-based and equity investment platforms, according to a report by Massolution, a research firm. That’s 81 percent more than the funds raised in 2011. About $1.6 billion was raised in North America.
Entrepreneurs take aim at SEC for equity-crowdfunding delays
Close to the one-year anniversary of the signing of the JOBS Act, entrepreneurs descended on Capitol Hill to urge the Securities and Exchange Commission to deliver regulations for equity-based crowdfunding. Alexandria-based due-diligence firm CrowdCheck hosted the event. SEC officials noted that they were working on the regulations and the official timeline would depend on the priorities of the newly confirmed SEC head, Mary Jo White.
Small business optimism declines
Small business owners had a slightly worse outlook in March than in February, according to a monthly survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses. The NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index, calculated on owners’ expectations in several areas including sales, employment, credit, and inventory, showed the first drop in optimism in three months. NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg cited fiscal uncertainty as the driver of the decline.
Plastic bag manufacturers fight bans and taxes
Plastic bag manufacturers, including Advance Polybag, which has a 140-person factory based in Elkridge, Md., have been fighting initiatives nationwide to tax or ban plastic bags. The District and Montgomery County both charge a 5-cent tax per bag, and last month Maryland legislators pushed for a statewide tax. Businesses including Advance Polybag have hired lobbyists and launched social media campaigns to stop the bag bans.
OSB start-up of the week : Behavio, a mobile technology start-up operated by three MIT Media Lab graduates, was recently acquired by Google for an undisclosed sum. Behavio was developing an open source technology called Funf, which could sense, track and aggregate a mobile user’s location, movement and usage. The start-up won $355,000 from the Knight Foundation at last year’s SXSW event in Austin.
What are you keeping an eye on this week? Please let us know below.