News Briefs - June 2011
In a recent study, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy found that, while the bankruptcy system has helped certain small businesses maintain operations, credit access issues after bankruptcy persist, increasing the likelihood that firms will not even seek credit after a bankruptcy. “Beyond Bankruptcy: Does the Bankruptcy Code Provide a Fresh Start to Entrepreneurs?” reports that a bankruptcy negatively affects a firm’s ability to obtain loans, especially at reasonable interest rates, even controlling for credit scores; these firms have about a 24 percent higher likelihood of being denied a loan and are charged interest rates that are more than 1 percentage point higher than those charged other businesses; Black- and Hispanic-owned businesses are charged higher interest rates and are more likely to be denied loans, while Asian-owned businesses essentially mirror U.S. averages with respect to interest rates and denials.
Victory for Small Business
President Obama signed legislation to repeal the onerous IRS Form 1099 reporting requirement, following passage of the bill in the U.S. Senate and House. The 1099 tax reporting rule was included in the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act last year. Intended to capture lost tax revenue, it would have required small businesses to file Form 1099 for every business-to-business transaction totaling over $600, reporting on their own income, but also the income of their vendors. The White House and Senate and House lawmakers from both parties criticized the measure as being an over-burdensome paperwork mandate placed on small businesses.
Rising Tides Act
African-American Congressman Tim Scott (R–S.C.) proposed legislation to address corporate taxation in the United States. H.R. 937, formally known as the Rising Tides Act of 2011, argues that the U.S. corporate tax rate of 35 percent is the second highest in the world. It reduces the rate to 23 percent and allows for permanent repatriation of overseas profits, with a goal of heading toward a territorial system of taxation. This will provide incentives for companies to locate within the United States, thereby giving them the ability to compete abroad, Scott and the bill’s 61 co-sponsors contend.
Business Innovation Center
Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO) in Louisiana opened Churchill Technology & Business Park (www.jedco.org/business-incubator) on the parish’s West Bank for early stage and high-growth potential companies. Jefferson Parish is one of 10 parishes in the Greater New Orleans area, at the hub of the largest intermodal transportation system in the South. Small businesses and entrepreneurs can benefit from JEDCO’s resources and expertise by locating within the Business Innovation Center or by participating remotely in its incubator program, officials say. The center’s focus is to drive the development of technology companies, with niches in import/export management, freight forwarding, custom broking, international consulting, distributing and manufacturing. Other target industries for the park are creative media and design, health services, higher education, energy, petrochemicals, plastics, defense and transportation.
Comcast/NBC Universal Pledge
The National Black Chamber of Commerce’s July 21–23 convention in Miami will feature a “Doing Business with Comcast/NBC Universal” session for companies with the capacity to contract with Comcast/NBC Universal. Under its merger agreement NBC Universal, Comcast Corp. has begun to solicit proposals from Hispanic and African-American networks with a view toward adding 10 new independent, minority-owned and -operated channels over the next eight years. Of the 10 channels, four will be majority African-American owned, two will be majority Hispanic-owned and two will be operated by American Latino programmers.
A suite of six 24-hour HD cable networks owned by comedian Byron Allen and HBCU Net, a 24-hour network featuring content from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, are expected to vie for slots.
Diversity Job Board
The NAACP and Personnel Strategies Inc. formed a partnership
to establish a national diversity job board that showcases employers
and opportunities from various industries and locations. The board, NAACPJobFinder.com, addresses the NAACP’s principal objective to ensure political, social and economic equality for all citizens by offering a more comprehensive approach to providing access to the nation’s top employers for racially diverse, qualified job seekers, NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous says. For employers, the job board is “an exceptional branding and recruiting opportunity to support their diversity initiatives and recruit from a market of truly diverse candidates,” he adds. Personnel Strategies has worked with the NAACP producing NAACP Diversity Job Fairs since 1993.
RLJ in the Caribbean
International Game Technology signed an exclusive agreement with Caribbean CAGE L.L.C., a video
lottery terminal and gaming terminal operator in Latin America and
the Caribbean, to supply video lottery terminals in licensed bancas (Bancas de Apuestas Depotivas) in the Dominican Republic and to connect those gaming terminals to the IGT Casinolink® gaming management solution system. The RLJ Companies, headed by Robert L. Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television, is a majority owner of CAGE, which is based in the U.S. Virgin Islands. CAGE says IGT’s technology not only will expand its gaming capability, but also will provide it additional annual revenues from its use for
specific needs in the region,
such as health
care, education and sports.
Figuratively Speaking: U.S. Information Technology Ranking
According to the World Economic Forum’s 2010 – 2011 Global Information Technology Report, the United States ranks fifth overall in information and communication technology, when matched against 138 countries in the categories of market, political/regulatory and infrastructure environment; individual, business and government readiness; and individual, business and government usage. On a scale of one to seven, where seven is best, here’s a sampling of how the country stacks up in specific areas within the report’s nine categories.
Availability of latest technologies 6.4 7
Burden of government regulation 3.5 48
Venture capital availability 3.8 13
Effectiveness of law-making bodies 4.0 45
Availability of research and training services 5.8 10
Accessibility of digital content 6.1 18
Quality of math and science education 4.4 52
Quality of educational system 4.8 26
Buyer sophistication 4.5 13
Extent of staff training 5.1 10
University-industry collaboration in R&D 5.8 1
Importance of ICT to government vision 4.8 22
Impact of ICT on basic access to services 5.3 22
Internet access in schools 5.9 14
Individual use of virtual social networks 6.1 12
Capacity for innovation 5.3 6
Extent of business Internet use 6.2 7
Impact of ICT on new organizational models 5.6 2
Impact of ICT on new services and products 5.7 10
ICT use and government efficiency 5.1 27
Number of procedures to enforce a contract 32 33
Software piracy rate (as a % software installed) 20 1
Int’l Internet bandwidth, Mb/s per 10,000 pop. 112.8 30
Mobile network coverage (% population covered) 99.6 40
Mobile phone subscriptions/100 population 90.8 76