A review of the biggest small business and startup stories from the past week, with a special focus on Washington.
A toast to small businesses: It’s National Small Business Week, and there are plenty of events on tap in the nation’s capital and around the country. As part of the celebration, the SBA will honor the small businesses of the year from every state, including the winners from D.C., Maryland and Virginia. (OSB)
A competition for start-ups: Meanwhile, the District is also playing host this week to 1776’s Challenge Festival, the culmination of a months-long search of the world’s most promising and ambitious start-ups. The competition has attracted dozens of the up-and-coming companies in sectors like energy, education and health care. (OSB)
Charting a new course: New Small Business Administration chief Maria Contreras-Sweet is taking over at a critical time for the agency, which had been without a permanent leader for more than a year and is facing criticism from a number of lawmakers. Here’s what where the SBA is headed under its new administrator. (OSB)
Facebook wants to be friends: Facebook is planning a new marketing campaign and several workshops to show small business owners the nuts and bolts of using the social network as a marketing tool, hoping to attract more advertising business from the lucrative small-business market. (AP)
California trouble: California’s insurance marketplace for small businesses has attracted just a fraction of eligible companies, with most being deterred by technology glitches, paperwork delays and customer service problems. The head of the exchange says the business site has “take a backseat” to the individual portal. (WP)
Elsewhere, ACA a boon: A number of studies and polls have suggested that the health care law will hit small businesses particularly hard, driving up premiums for most and making tax season all the more complicated. However, for some small businesses in Pennsylvania, the changes are lifting — not lowering — their bottom lines. (PG)
Start-up gearing up to fight disease: Gaitherburg-based Novavax’s executives say they have laid the groundwork for a vaccine to combat Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), should the number of people infected with the virus continue to rise. The first confirmed case in a traveler to the U.S. was reported earlier this month. (CAPBIZ)
Here, you take it: BBVA Compass, the U.S. subsidiary of Spanish lender BBVA, has teamed up with online lender OnDeck to offer business owners relatively expensive, short-term loans — the latest evidence of banks looking to outsource small-dollar commercial loans to alternative lenders. (BB)
Chamber cranks up: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce last week announced ad campaigns in 10 competitive House races and two Senate campaigns to help candidates that the nation’s largest business lobbying group considers pro-business. All 10 of candidates are Republicans. (AP)
What are you keeping an eye on this week? Please let us know below.