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

What’s going ‘on’:

Small business lending drops: The latest Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index shows that loan approvals to small firms by the nation’s largest banks dropped to 10.6 percent last month from 10.9 percent the month prior. Compared to this time last year, the dip is even more substantial, down from an approval rate of 11.6 percent in March 2011.

Failed ventures appear to discourage would-be entrepreneurs: A study shows that children who were young adults when their parents ran their own firms seem to be the most influenced by their parents’ career path. The research also shows that children of failed company owners are far less likely to launch their own business.

Student loan plan fails in Senate: On Tuesday, the Senate voted along party lines 52 to 45 to shoot down a bill intended to keep federally subsidized college student loan rates lower for another year. There appears to be no clear path forward at the moment for lawmakers, who have until July to reauthorize lower rates for roughly 7 million borrowers.

Richard Branson’s head now cools drinks: Virgin Airlines has introduced a new ice cube for its upper class customers — ones shaped like the face of the repeatedly successful British entrepreneur. According to a report from Gizmodo, it took a team of four people six weeks using a laser scanner to create the molds for the frozen homages.

Keep an eye ‘on’:

VCs feeling threatened by crowdfunding: Could the passage of the JOBS Act and the subsequent emergence of crowdfunding as a popular financing model threaten the business model of traditional venture capitalists? Evidently, VCs are starting to get concerned, especially as their industry is already struggling to make returns, according to a new story from from Portfolio.com.

Helpful advice ‘on’:

How to monitor competition using social media (OSB)

How to lure talented engineers to your start-up (Forbes)

How to get more than money out of investors (Erica.biz)

How to avoid the pitfalls of family business (Open Forum)