Our daily blend of the latest news, trends and tips for the small business community.

What’s going ‘on’:

Small employers show support for clean energy efforts: Roughly seven out of 10 small business owners believe the government should continue to invest in clean energy, while only 29 percent say such investments are a waste of money, according to a new survey conducted by the Small Business Majority. The report suggests that small employers were largely unfazed by the Solyndra debacle.

Small contractors awarded for innovation achievements:On Tuesday, the Small Business Administration awarded 18 small firms and six individuals with Tibbits Awards, recognizing excellence in research and development for the government and success in driving innovation and creating new jobs. A pair of firms were also inducted into the Hall of Fame for the Small Businesses Innovation Research program.

Rising gas prices squeezing business owners: Small business owners have mixed feelings on the health of the economy, but for the most part, they agree that soaring gas prices are largely to blame for their persistent woes, according to new data released by Manta on Tuesday. Meanwhile, respondents were fairly split on whether taxes were more or less complicated this year as compared to 2011.

High school seniors take home entrepreneurial awards: The National Federation of Independent Business announced Tuesday that five high school seniors will receive a $5,000 educational scholarship for their entrepreneurial ventures. The winners were Aaron Furrer of Washington, Brian Schroeder of North Carolina, Christopher Zeoli of New York, and Catherine Mitchell and Anshul Samar of California.

Senate shoots down NLRB election rule block: The Senate on Tuesday voted 54 to 45 to turn down a measure Republicans hoped would halt a new National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rule from taking effect. The rule would speed up labor union elections, which GOP leadership warn would create an “ambush” on employers.

Keep an eye ‘on’:

Senate voting on Postal Service overhaul: The Senate is expected to vote Wednesday on a measure that would shake up the Postal Service by allowing changes to the mail delivery schedule and other reforms to better control costs. Already, small businesses are preparing for the possibility of the overhaul.

Obama, Romney targeting student debt at rallies: President Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney are battling for the attention of young voters in hopes of capturing the enthusiasm they displayed four years ago that helped shape the arc of the presidential election. In particular, both candidates are homing in on concerns about mounting student debt as a key issue that could sway the college vote.

Helpful advice ‘on’:

How to take the first step in brand building (OSB)

How to upgrade your data security (Entrepreneur)

How to find funding for your new firm (Reuters)

How to deal with toxic co-workers (Hang in There)

How to win in the government arena (Small Biz Trends)