A look back at some of the biggest small business stories from the past week, with a focus on Washington.
White House welcomes entrepreneurs
A delegation of entrepreneurs and investors from 11 states gathered at the White House last week to provide an update on budding start-up ecosystems in their hometowns, but they didn’t fly in from traditional innovation hubs like Boston or Silicon Valley. They came from states like Nebraska, Iowa and Tennsessee, evidence of an entrepreneurial epidemic that investors say is spreading inland from the coasts to regions not previously known for heavy start-up activity.
New start-up campus opens in Washington:
A group of entrepreneurs this week unveiled 1776, which combines coworking space, business incubators and a start-up school under one roof in downtown Washington. The city’s economic development office provided a $200,000 grant to launch the venue, which the founders hope will serve as the headquarters for D.C.’s budding start-up ecosystem.
SBA triples surety bond guarantee
The Small Business Administration has increased its available backing for surety bonds, changing the maximum guarantee from $2 million to $6.5 million for public and private contracts as part of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. The bonds help ensure projects are compled even if initial contractors default on the work.
More small business regulations under Obama
The total number of small business regulations appears to be rising under President Obama, as more than 800 rules directly affecting small firms have been in place each year since 2010 (854 at the end of 2012). Before that, the last time there had been more than 800 small business regulations was 2003, according to data compiled by Forbes.
Equity crowdfunding expected by summer
Citing recent discussions with SEC officials, Chance Barnett, CEO of crowdfunder.com, said last week he expects the agency to issue rules allowing accredited investors to begin using crowdfunding portals as early as April or May, thoughit could be much longer before the financing portals are available to the public.
Retail sales weather payroll tax hike
Retails sales remained strong last month, surprising some economists who expected the year-end expiration of the payroll tax cut to drive down consumer spending. Instead, the International Council of Shopping Centers reported on Thursday that retail sales jumped 4.5 percent in January.
Small business borrowing rises
Borrowing by U.S. small businesses inched slightly higher at the end of the year, according to the latest Thompson Reuters/Paynet Small Business Lending Index released last week, which rose to 112 for December from 111.1 in November (that’s also up 1 percentage point from the same period last year).
OSB business of the week: Organic Boquet: The Orlando-based company offers eco-friendly arrangements, purchasing flowers only from farmers who don’t use harmful chemicals on their plants and who provide safe working conditions and fair wages to their employees.
What are you keeping an eye on this week? Please let us know below.