Learn directly from our partner federal agencies on the most recent announcements and news related to Coronavirus (COVID-19).
SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman Statement on meeting with President Biden, Cabinet Officials, Private Sector Leaders to Discuss Strengthening Cybersecurity for America’s Small Business Economy
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman released the following statement after participating in a meeting with President Joseph R. Biden, other members of his Cabinet and national security team, and private sector and education leaders to discuss how to improve our nation’s cybersecurity infrastructure for its 31 million small businesses. “As businesses and individuals face more prevalent and sophisticated cyber threats, we must take decisive action to confront this ever-growing challenge. President Biden has prioritized this critical issue that affects both our national and economic security, and I and the SBA stand ready to support those priorities on behalf of America’s small businesses. “As small businesses increase their adoption of digital tools to manage and expand their businesses , the associated risks of cyber attacks also increase. And too often, small businesses lack the resources or expertise in-house to protect against these threats. “In order to tackle these persistent and ever-evolving cyber threats , we must work collaboratively across the whole of government, the private sector, and with community-based leaders and organizations. The SBA is committed to partnering to support our nation’s 31 million small businesses with education and actionable resources to help them strengthen their cyber health. About the U.S. Small Business Administration The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.
Aug 27, 2021
SBA Announces Moratorium on Bona Fide Place of Business Requirements for the 8(a) Business Development Program
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration today announced a moratorium on the requirement that participants in SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program must establish a bona fide place of business in a specific geographic area in order to be awarded any construction contract through the 8(a) Program due to the ongoing challenges of COVID-19. The moratorium is effective August 25, 2021, and applies to all 8(a) construction contracts offered to the 8(a) Program between August 25, 2021, and September 30, 2022. “The SBA is committed to finding innovative ways to assist small businesses, particularly small disadvantaged businesses that have been historically underserved,” said Bibi Hidalgo, Associate Administrator for SBA’s Office of Government Contracting and Business Development. “This change to the SBA’s 8(a) program -- our flagship contracting program born out of the Civil Rights movement -- will help small businesses continue to drive our economic recovery and position themselves at the forefront of our nation’s reimagined economy.” During the moratorium, any 8(a) Program participant seeking an 8(a) construction contract (either on a sole source or competitive basis) will not be required to have or establish a bona fide place of business in any specific geographic location. For purposes of 8(a) construction procurements, a bona fide place of business means a location where a participant regularly maintains an office that employs at least one full-time individual within the appropriate geographical boundary. The term does not include construction trailers or other temporary construction sites. The SBA believes this modification to the 8(a) Program will make it easier for small disadvantaged businesses to be eligible to be awarded 8(a) construction contracts. Firms participating in the 8(a) Program can email questions to their local servicing District Office or visit: 8(a) Business Development Program. # # # About the 8(a) Business Development Program The SBA certifies small businesses considered to be socially and economically disadvantaged under its nine-year 8(a) Business Development Program. The 8(a) program helps these firms develop and grow their businesses through one-to-one counseling, training workshops, management, and technical guidance. It also provides access to government contracting opportunities, allowing them to become solid competitors in the federal marketplace. About the U.S. Small Business Administration The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.
Aug 26, 2021
Next Week: SBA Veterans Small Business Advisory Committees to Host Virtual Public Meetings
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration's Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development (IATF) and Advisory Committee on Veterans Business Affairs (ACVBA) will hold virtual public meetings on September 1 and 2, respectively, via Microsoft Teams. WHAT: Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development (IATF) and Advisory Committee on Veterans Business Affairs (ACVBA) Virtual Public Meetings The IATF meeting will include committee member updates from the Departments of Defense, Labor, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; General Services Administration; Office of Management and Budget; North Carolina Military Business Center; and American Legion. Committee members will also receive the latest updates on the SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development, veteran-owned small business access to federal surplus property program as well as updates from the VA’s Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization on small business programs and the VA Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) transfer to the SBA. Finally, committee members will learn more about annual contracting small business goals. The ACVBA meeting will include opening remarks from the SBA's Office of Veterans Business Development's Associate Administrator and the ACVBA Chairwoman, followed by guest speakers' briefings. The briefings will cover the following topics: VA’s small business programs, the CVE transfer to the SBA, access to capital and veteran lending, DoD’s small business programs, annual contracting small business goals, the Policy Vets program, microlending, and PenFed’s veteran entrepreneur investment program. WHEN: IATF Meeting Wednesday, September 1 1 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. (EDT) ACVBA Meeting Thursday, September 2 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (EDT) WHO: Larry Stubblefield, Associate Administrator, SBA Office of Veterans Business Development Members of The U.S. Small Business Administration's Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development (IATF) and Advisory Committee on Veterans Business Affairs (ACVBA) HOW: The IATF will meet on Wednesday, September 1, from 1 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. (EDT) via this Microsoft Teams link. To join the meeting by phone instead, use (202) 765-1264 and Conference ID: 324 086 449#. The ACVBA will meet on Thursday, September 2, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (EDT) via this Microsoft Teams link. To join by phone instead, dial (202) 765-1264 and enter the Conference ID: 583 747 012#. Public comments and questions are strongly encouraged to be submitted in advance by August 30 via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (202) 205-6773. For technical support, please visit the Microsoft Teams support page. Meeting presentations and minutes will be available after both meetings at www.sba.gov/ovbd, under the "Federal Advisory Committees" section. About the U.S. Small Business Administration The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.
Aug 26, 2021
USDA On Track to Provide Record-Breaking Support for Rural Working Capital Needs in Fiscal Year 2021
WASHINGTON, Aug. 24, 2021 – United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Justin Maxson today announced that USDA is on track to provide a record level of support for rural working capital and other business capital needs in fiscal year 2021. The Department has invested $1.2 billion in loan guarantees to help rural businesses in 41 states, Guam and the Virgin Islands. These investments – made through the Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program and the Business and Industry CARES Act Program – are expected to create or save more than 12,000 jobs for people in rural areas. “Under the leadership of President Biden, Vice President Harris and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, USDA is expanding access to capital to prioritize rural economic development,” Maxson said. “As we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and restore the economy, USDA remains committed to helping rural businesses create job opportunities so rural Americans can build back better and stronger than ever before.” USDA has invested $811 million through the Business and Industry (B&I) Loan Guarantee Program since the start of the current fiscal year. This assistance has helped businesses create or save more than 6,000 jobs in rural areas. Investments under the B&I program are 36 percent higher than they were this time last year. Applications have increased by 44 percent. These increases are due in part to a series of program improvements USDA adopted under the new OneRD Guarantee Loan Initiative. This initiative increased the USDA loan guarantee to 80 percent for investments greater than $5 million. The previous guarantee percentages were 70 percent for loans less than $10 million and 60 percent for loans greater than $10 million. This improvement has made the program more attractive to capital-intensive businesses such as manufacturing companies. USDA also invested $380 million in rural businesses through the Business and Industry CARES Act Program, which was established under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This assistance has helped rural businesses create or save more than 6,000 jobs in rural areas. These investments USDA is announcing today are helping rural businesses and workers in Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Wyoming, Guam and the Virgin Islands. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page. USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov. # USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.
Aug 25, 2021
THIS WEEK: SBA Celebrates Women’s Equality Day with A Fireside Chat Featuring SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman
WHAT: Economic Equality for Women Entrepreneurs: A Conversation in Celebration of Women’s Equality Day 2021 In celebration of Women’s Equality Day on August 26, 2021, the U.S. Small Business Administration will host a virtual fireside chat to discuss what the SBA is doing to empower and support women entrepreneurs. As the number of women entrepreneurs in the community grows to unprecedented levels, SBA has resources for women small business owners to survive and thrive amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including through the SBA’s Women’s Business Centers found across the country. WHEN: Thursday, August 26, 2021 2:00 p.m. (ET) WHO: Isabella Casillas Guzman, Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration Natalie Madeira Cofield, Assistant Administrator, SBA Office of Women’s Business Ownership HOW: Registration is required. (http://www.eventbrite.com/e/womens-equality-day-fireside-chat-tickets-167351114689) About the Office of Women’s Business Ownership The Office of Women’s Business Ownership’s (OWBO) mission is to enable and empower women entrepreneurs through advocacy, outreach, education, and support. Since it was established in response to an Executive Order in 1979, OWBO has provided training, counseling, technical assistance, access to credit and capital, as well as marketing opportunities to women. To learn more about SBA’s programs and services for women entrepreneurs, visit www.sba.gov/women. To find other WBC locations and SBA resources, visit www.sba.gov/local-assistance. About the U.S. Small Business Administration The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.
Aug 24, 2021
US Department of Labor announces $90M in grants to support training, employment services for workers displaced by the pandemic
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the availability of an increased $90 million in funding grants to provide reemployment opportunities for displaced workers, historically marginalized communities or groups and those unemployed for an extended period or who have exhausted unemployment insurance or other pandemic unemployment insurance programs. “By doubling down on these critical investments, the Department of Labor reinforces its commitment to invest in strategies to help American workers get the services and training they need to secure quality jobs as our economy recovers,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Suzi LeVine. “These grants focus on local innovation and put resources in our communities to ensure the workers most impacted by the pandemic get reemployment support to ensure an equitable recovery.” Administered by the department’s Employment and Training Administration, today’s announcement more than doubles the initial $43 million in funding for Comprehensive and Accessible Reemployment through Equitable Employment Recovery National Dislocated Worker Grants announced in June. Those seeking CAREER National Dislocated Worker Grants may apply through Aug. 31. Applicants may choose one of two types of required grant activities: Delivering comprehensive workforce services, including career, training and supportive services to help participants gain employment. Purchasing, building or expanding virtual technology platforms, software systems or services for job search, career guidance, training or other allowable activities. Supported by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, National Dislocated Worker Grants offer resources that provide flexibility to states and communities in response to and recovery from events that cause widespread unemployment.
Aug 19, 2021
USDA Announces Improvements to the Dairy Safety Net and New Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program
Burlington, VT, Aug. 19, 2021 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the details of the Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program as part of meetings with farmers and a tour of farms with Senator Leahy. In June, Secretary Vilsack committed to providing additional pandemic assistance for dairy farmers in an exchange at a hearing with Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Leahy. Through the program, USDA will provide about $350 million in pandemic assistance payments to dairy farmers who received a lower value for their products due to market abnormalities caused by the pandemic. The assistance is part of a larger package including permanent improvements to the Dairy Margin Coverage safety net program. “The Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program is another component of our ongoing effort to get aid to producers who have been left behind and build on our progress towards economic recovery,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Family dairy farmers have been battered by the pandemic, trade issues and unpredictable weather and are the life-blood of many rural communities throughout Vermont, the Northeast and many other regions. This targeted assistance is the first step in USDA’s comprehensive approach that will total over $2 billion to help the dairy industry recover from the pandemic and be more resilient to future challenges for generations to come.” Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the senator with the most seniority on the Agriculture Committee, said: “I thank Secretary Vilsack for directing this assistance to small dairies in Vermont and across the country, just as he told me he would when we spoke earlier in the summer. This will help to make up for losses suffered by these family farms due to the pandemic and together with the positive adjustments to the Dairy Margin Coverage Program will be good news for farmers go into the fall.” Under the Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program, payments will reimburse qualified dairy farmers for 80 percent of the revenue difference per month based on an annual production of up to 5 million pounds of milk marketed and on fluid milk sales from July through December 2020. The payment rate will vary by region based on the actual losses on pooled milk related to price volatility. USDA will make payments through agreements with independent handlers and cooperatives. Handlers and cooperatives will distribute the monies on the same basis July - December 2020 payments were made to their dairy farmer suppliers and a formula set by USDA. USDA will reimburse handlers and cooperatives for allowed administrative costs. USDA will contact eligible handlers and cooperatives to notify them of the opportunity to participate in the Program. USDA will distribute payments to participating handlers within 60 days of entering into an agreement. Once funding is provided, a handler will have 30 days to distribute monies to qualifying dairy farmers. As part of the program, handlers also will provide virtual or in-person education to dairy farmers on a variety of dairy topics available from USDA or other sources. A handler will have until March 1, 2022 to directly provide educational opportunities to dairy farmers. Additional details about the program are available and will be updated at the AMS Dairy Program website. The program is part of $6 billion of pandemic assistance USDA announced in March to address a number of gaps and disparities in previous rounds of assistance. Other pandemic assistance to dairy farmers includes $400 million for a new Dairy Donation Program to address food insecurity and mitigate food waste and loss; and $580 million for Supplemental Dairy Margin Coverage for small and medium farms. Outside the pandemic assistance, USDA will also make improvements to the Dairy Margin Coverage safety net program updating the feed cost formula to better reflect the actual cost dairy farmers pay for high quality alfalfa. This change will be retroactive to January 2020 and is expected to provide additional retroactive payments of about $100 million for 2020 and 2021. Unlike the pandemic assistance, this change will also be part of the permanent safety net and USDA estimates it will average about $80 million per year or approximately $800 million over ten years for dairy headed into the upcoming Farm Bill. Full details on these additional actions to support dairy farmers will be provided when regulations are published in the coming weeks. Dairy farmers should wait until these details are available to contact their local USDA Service Center for more information. # USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.
Aug 19, 2021
SBA Announces Plan to Open Supplemental Grants for Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Applicants
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Small Business Administration is announcing a call to all eligible Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) applicants seeking economic aid for live entertainment small businesses, nonprofits, and venues. New applications will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. PT on Friday, August 20, 2021. The SVOG program has so far awarded $8.4 billion in grants to more than 10,800 businesses to assist in getting the nation’s cultural institutions, which are critical to the economy and were among the first to shutter, back on track. While the application portal will close to new applicants, the SBA will continue delivering economic aid to help venues recover by providing critical relief through the supplemental awards program. Later this month the SBA will open the program for supplemental SVOGs for 50% of the original award amount, capped at a total of $10 million (initial and supplemental combined). Details will be announced at a later date. Additionally, to ensure no eligible venue is left behind, the SBA is currently accepting, by invitation, applications for reconsideration of award amounts and appeals. This rare opportunity gives applicants a chance to prove their eligibility and reverse a prior decision. SBA is committed to delivering relief to entertainment venues through these various options. Should the need arise, the SBA may reopen the portal or make other adjustments to its plan to best meet the needs of small businesses. “After making much-needed improvements to this vital program, we’ve made swift progress getting more than $8 billion in funds into the hands of more than 10,800 performing arts venues and other related businesses – two-thirds of which employ less than 10 employees. These small businesses suffered disproportionate impacts from the pandemic and were often left out of early rounds of relief,” SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said. “However, we also know so many small businesses continue to struggle. That’s why, as this program nears the finish line, we’re providing additional funding options for our hardest-hit venues through our supplemental awards program, which will provide another critical lifeline to ensure businesses can reopen and stay open.” “Simply stated, the Shuttered Venues Operator Grant was our lifeline. The grant has allowed us to return to full operation, including staffing and programming,” stated President and CEO of The Palace, a theater in Stamford, CT, Michael Moran. “In early 2020, we planned for closing just three or four weeks. As the pandemic continued to worsen, so did our fears of never reopening. The Palace closed for 15 months, with expenses continuing to accumulate against bleak revenue prospects. The SVOG grant through the SBA saved us and can be credited with not only our recovery but that of Stamford’s entire theater district.” Moran continued, “Our theatrical community is so appreciative of the exceptional support of the SBA. The program and funds ensure the preservation of our community, allowing artists and audiences the unique experience of joy and enrichment through the arts.” Since receiving the SVOG, The Palace and other venues have raised their curtains and welcomed back artists and audiences. SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET to provide technical assistance with the SVOG application portal and can be reached at 1-800-659-2955 or, for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, at 1-800-877-8339. For additional information on SBA’s Economic Relief programs, visit COVID-19 relief options (sba.gov). Further, SBA’s resource partners, including SCORE Mentors, Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, and Veterans Business Outreach Centers, are available to provide entities with individual guidance on their applications. Applicants can find a local resource partner via a zip code search at http://www.sba.gov/local-assistance. For weekly SVOG funding data reports, visit www.sba.gov/svog. Shuttered Venue Operators Grant background The SVOG program was appropriated more than $16.2 billion for grants via the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act, and the American Rescue Plan Act. Of these funds, at least $2 billion is reserved for eligible SVOG applications with up to 50 full-time employees. Eligible applicants may qualify for grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue up to a maximum amount of $10 million for a single grant. ### About the U.S. Small Business Administration The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start and grow their businesses. It delivers services to people through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.
Aug 12, 2021
SBA Awards Grants to 33 Organizations to Help Underserved Communities Succeed with the Small Business Innovation Research Program
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration issued 33 grant awards up to $125,000 each for specialized training, mentoring, and technical assistance for research and development (R&D)-focused small businesses under the Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program. FAST seeks to improve outcomes in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs for underserved communities by increasing participation from women-owned, rural-based, and socially or economically disadvantaged small businesses. “As President Biden often says, great ideas come from anywhere and everywhere. Supporting all our nation’s innovative startups and increasing equitable access to federal research funding is a priority for the SBA, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it will build a stronger future for all of us,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Guzman. “Our FAST Partnership Program is designed to empower the innovation ecosystem at the local level and help underserved communities gain access to SBIR and STTR, or America’s Seed Fund -- the largest source of early-stage capital in the United States. FAST’s continued growth will strengthen the national innovation ecosystem and ensure all small businesses are better positioned in this next stage of recovery to access unprecedented investments to reimagine our future economy that will be made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework and President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda.” Recipients this year cover a wide geographic area, and include state and local economic development organizations, Small Business Technology Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, incubators, accelerators, colleges, and universities. All organizations will provide support to small businesses developing advanced technologies. “The SBA’s investment in Oklahoma, through the FAST program, has been vital to OK Catalyst reaching untapped communities in the Heartland through training and mentorship programs that embolden women and minority entrepreneurs with transformational potential to launch new products and grow a business,” said Sarah Hamby, Director, OK Catalyst. “FAST funding has enabled OK Catalyst to drastically improve the competitiveness and success of SBIR/STTR proposals in our state.” The FAST Partnership Program makes awards for a base period of 12 months, plus two optional continuation periods of 12 months, if eligible. The FAST grantees are as follows: Awardees – 2022 Cohort – Base Year STATE ORGANIZATION Arizona Arizona Commerce Authority Georgia Innovation Gateway at the University of Georgia Kentucky Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation Louisiana Louisiana Business & Technology Center/LSU Missouri The Curators of the University of Missouri Puerto Rico Puerto Rico Small Business and Technology Development Centers South Dakota South Dakota Biotech Council Tennessee Launch TN Wisconsin Center for Technology Commercialization Awardees – 2021 Cohort – Second Year STATE ORGANIZATION Arkansas University of Arkansas at Little Rock- Arkansas SBTDC Colorado The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade Connecticut Connecticut Innovations, Inc. Delaware University of Delaware Hawaii Hawaii Technology Development Corporation (HTDC) Illinois EnterpriseWorks at the University of Illinois Kansas Wichita State University Maryland Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) Minnesota Minnesota Technology Association Mississippi Innovate Mississippi Montana Montana State University Nebraska Nebraska Business Development Center, University of Nebraska at Omaha New Hampshire UNHInnovation New Mexico Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University North Carolina First Flight Venture Center, Inc. Ohio Ohio Aerospace Institute Oklahoma OK Catalyst Oregon VertueLab Pennsylvania Ben Franklin Technology Partners Corporation South Carolina University of South Carolina Texas SWTXB SBDC Technology Commercialization Center Virginia Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) West Virginia TechConnect West Virginia Wyoming University of Wyoming Small Business Development Center About FAST In FY 2021, $4 million total was appropriated as grants for entities to carry out targeted activities from September 30, 2021 through September 29, 2022. Entities from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands are eligible to receive funding to provide outreach, technical, and financial assistance in support of the SBIR/STTR programs. Additional information can be found at www.sbir.gov/about-fast. About SBIR/STTR SBA coordinates the SBIR/STTR programs, also known as America’s Seed Fund. In FY 2021, eleven participating federal agencies will provide more than $4 billion in early-stage seed capital through over 7,000 awards to small businesses. Federal agencies announce funding opportunities as either grants or contracts to address their research and development needs. Companies supported by the SBIR/STTR programs often generate some of the most important breakthroughs each year in the U.S. Additional information about the programs, as well as past and current topics can be found at www.sbir.gov. About the U.S. Small Business Administration The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.
Aug 12, 2021
READOUT: SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman meets with Leaders in Women-Owned Small Business Community
WASHINGTON - On Monday, August 9, U.S. Small Business Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman and Assistant Administrator Natalie Madeira Cofield joined investors in women-owned small businesses for a webinar on engagement and improving access to assistance for women entrepreneurs. During the virtual gathering, leaders of the women-owned small business investment community discussed updates on SBA's programs and initiatives supporting investment and innovation for women entrepreneurs. “It’s no secret that the venture capital world is still largely male-dominated. In 2020, only 2.3 percent of funding went to women-led startups and women comprise a mere 12 percent of the decision makers at venture capital firms,” said Administrator Guzman. “At the SBA, we’re working to drive change through our own investment programs. Our Small Business Innovation Research program and Small Business Investment Companies can play an important role in ensuring we’re investing in women entrepreneurs — and giving new women entrepreneurs the tools and support they need to launch, grow and sustain their businesses and reach for new opportunities.” “We have convened leadership from organizations committed to investing in women-owned businesses, and will share updates on SBA’s programs and initiatives in support of investment and innovation for women entrepreneurs,” said Assistant Administrator Cofield. “The Office of Women’s Business Ownership’s mission is to enable and empower women entrepreneurs through advocacy, outreach, education, and support. Through the management and technical assistance provided by the Women’s Business Centers (WBCs), entrepreneurs — especially women who are economically or socially disadvantaged — are offered comprehensive training and counseling on a vast array of topics in many languages to help them start and grow their own businesses.” Webinar guests received economic aid updates on efforts to aid women restaurant owners through various channels, including the Restaurant Revitalization Fund; the digital online learning platform Ascent, designed to empower women entrepreneurs; the Annual Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC), which prioritizes women; and available funding for WBCs in Puerto Rico, Tulsa, OK, and Rochester, NY. Among event participants were CEOs, founders, and executive directors from organizations including VC Include, Private Equity Women Investor Network (PEWIN), Women in VC, Astia, SteelSky Ventures, First Women's Bank, Fearless Fund, and HBCU VC. The SBA recommends interested parties and qualified entities explore these additional resources for economic aid and vaccination information: SBA Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center: 1-800-659-2955. Operation Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET Monday through Friday; 1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard of hearing. Local Field Assistance and Local Resource Partners: https://www.sba.gov/local-assistance or www.sba.gov/asistencia-local. SBA's Guide to Federal Contracting: https://www.sba.gov/federal-contracting. COVID EIDL Loan FAQs: COVID EIDL Loans: Frequently Asked Questions, August 4, 2021 (sba.gov). SBA's National Small Business Week Virtual Summit, September 13-15, 2021: National Small Business Week Virtual Summit Registration (onlinexperiences.com). Subscribe to the SBA's e-newsletter: www.sba.gov/updates. Follow on Twitter: @SBAIsabel and @SBAgov. Visit vaccines.gov and healthcare.gov for healthcare and vaccination resources. About the U.S. Small Business Administration The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.
Aug 12, 2021
IRS provides relief for certain employers claiming the Work Opportunity Tax Credit
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced it is providing transition relief to certain employers claiming the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). The WOTC is a federal income tax credit available to employers that hire certified members of certain groups specified in the Internal Revenue Code who face significant barriers to employment, including Designated Community Residents or Qualified Summer Youth Employees. The IRS today issued Notice 2021-43 PDF, which extends the 28-day deadline for employers to submit a request to a designated local agency (DLA) to certify that an employee hired between January 1 and October 8 of this year is a Designated Community Resident or a Qualified Summer Youth Employee. To be certified as a Designated Community Resident or a Qualified Summer Youth Employee under the WOTC, an employee must have a principal place of residence within an Empowerment Zone where the employee continuously resides. Empowerment Zone designations terminated on December 31, 2020, but the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020, enacted as Division EE of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, permitted the designations to be extended through 2025. On May 26, 2021, all Empowerment Zone designations were extended from Dec. 31, 2020 to December 31, 2025. The transition relief under this notice allows employers to submit Form 8850 (Pre-Screening Notice and Certification Request for the Work Opportunity Credit) for these employees until November 8, 2021. The notice also provides guidance to certain employers who submitted a Form 8850 to a DLA for these employees during the period of transition relief and received a denial due to the termination of Empowerment Zone designations on December 31, 2020, or who received a certification before Empowerment Zone designations were extended. The WOTC has been subject to several legislative extensions and modifications since its enactment by the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996. The amount of the tax credit under WOTC equals a percentage of qualified wages paid in a given tax year to an employee certified by the DLA as being a member of the one of the groups specified in the law.
Aug 11, 2021
Security Summit warns tax pros to be wary of pandemic-related email schemes
WASHINGTON — In a continuing twist on a common scam, the Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and tax industry today warned tax professionals to beware of evolving phishing scams that use various pandemic-related themes to steal client data. The Security Summit partners continue to see instances where tax professionals, especially those who engage in remote transactions, have been vulnerable this year to identity thieves posing as potential clients. The criminals then trick practitioners into opening email links or attachments that infect computer systems. Avoiding phishing emails is the fourth in a five-part series sponsored by the IRS, state tax agencies and the nation's tax community – working together as the Security Summit – highlighting critical steps tax professionals can take to protect client data. This year's theme "Boost Security Immunity: Fight Against Identity Theft," is an effort to urge tax professionals to work to strengthen their systems and protect client data during this pandemic and its aftermath. "Identity thieves have been relentless in exploiting the pandemic and the resulting economic pain to trick taxpayers and tax professionals to disclose sensitive information," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. "Fighting back against phishing scams requires constant vigilance, and we urge tax pros to take some basic steps to help protect their clients and themselves." Phishing emails or SMS/texts (known as "smishing") attempt to trick the person receiving the message into disclosing personal information such as passwords, bank account numbers, credit card numbers or Social Security numbers. Tax pros are a common target. Scams may differ in themes, but they generally have two traits: A specific kind of phishing email is called spear phishing. Rather than the scattershot nature of general phishing emails, scammers take time to identify their victim and craft a more enticing phishing email known as a lure. Scammers often use spear phishing to target tax professionals. In a reoccurring and very successful scam this year, criminals posed as potential clients, exchanging several emails with tax professionals before following up with an attachment that they claimed was their tax information. This scam was popular as many tax professionals worked remotely and communicated with clients over email versus in-person or over the telephone because of COVID. Once the tax pro clicks on the URL and/or opens the attachment, malware secretly downloads onto their computers, giving thieves access to passwords to client accounts or remote access to the computers themselves. Thieves then use this malware known as a remote access trojan (RAT) to take over the tax professional's office computer systems, identify pending tax returns, complete them and e-file them, changing only the bank account information to steal the refund. In recent months, international criminals have used a ransomware attack to shut down a variety of companies. Criminals use similar, smaller scale tactics against tax pros. When the unsuspecting tax professional opens a link or attachment, malware attacks the tax pro's computer system to encrypt files and hold the data for ransom. These scams highlight the importance of the basic security steps recommended by the Security Summit to protect data. For example, using the two-factor (2FA) or the multi-factor authentication (MFA) option offered by tax preparation providers or storage providers would protect client accounts even if passwords were inadvertently disclosed. Keeping anti-virus software automatically updated helps prevent scams that target software vulnerabilities. Using drive encryption and regularly backing up files helps stop theft and ransomware attacks. For tax professionals, securing their network to protect taxpayer data is their responsibility as a tax preparer. To help tax professionals guard against phishing scams and better protect taxpayer information, the IRS recently updated Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data PDF. The July 2021 version contains some of the latest suggestions such as using the multi-factor authentication option offered by tax software products and helping clients get an Identity Protection Pin. In addition to reviewing the recently revised IRS Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data PDF, tax professionals can also get help with security recommendations by reviewing Small Business Information Security: The Fundamentals PDF by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The IRS Identity Theft Central pages for tax pros, individuals and businesses have important details as well. Publication 5293, Data Security Resource Guide for Tax Professionals PDF, provides a compilation of data theft information available on IRS.gov. Also, tax professionals should stay connected to the IRS through subscriptions to e-News for Tax Professionals and Social Media. For more information, see Boost Security Immunity: Fight Against Identity Theft.
Aug 11, 2021
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