OSBDC newsletter, Week of January 18, 2021

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Office of Small Business Development Centers  - Week of January 18, 2021

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OSBDC Weekly

Office of Small Business Development Centers


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SBA News

Meet the Newest Member of the SBDC National Advisory Board 

Karen Barbour, founder and president of The Barbour Group, LLC started her surety career in 1987. She is well known as a thoughtful leader and expert within the industry. She established The Barbour Group in 2002 as an independent insurance agency focused on construction bonding. To date, Karen has led the company to be licensed nationwide, where the agency handles the surety needs of a wide range of construction clientele, from startups to medium-sized companies, as well as Fortune 1000 companies. The agency delivers solutions and strategic advice to bonding clients while also helping them grow.

Karen’s career is underscored by a fierce commitment to enabling the competitive positioning and growth of client companies - a leader willing to go to Capitol Hill to drive legislation for the benefit of start-ups, small businesses and Fortune 1000 firms alike. Karen has received numerous awards and distinctions for her contributions to the success of contractors in the building industry. In addition to being named a 2013 Distinguished Woman by the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland, Karen was recognized for her passion for change and awarded the US SBA Small Business Person (for MD) in 2008 and later inducted into the SBA’s Hall of Fame.  She was also one of nine women nationally chosen in 2009 to win the Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneurial Winning Women Award®. 

Barbour is a published writer on the topics of construction, finance, and surety.  Her articles appear in Forbes, American DBE, and various trade journals. She has also aided in drafting and lobbying for successful passage of many procurement bills involving Maryland and VA, as well as initiated and successfully lobbied U.S. Senator Benjamin Cardin to sponsor an amendment to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (2008) that removed prohibitive federal surety-bond program eligibility criteria with the SBA’s Office of Surety Guarantees, paving the way for start-up, small, veteran, and minority-owned businesses around the country to compete for stimulus-funded contracts.

Barbour has community impact.  She is on several boards including the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland, Party For A Cure Corporation, The Alliance for Hispanic Commercial Contractors, and Montessori School of Westminster, MD.  She is also a board member of several trade organizations and has served on government task forces/advisory boards, such as the Co-Chair of the Governor Commission for Small Business (Gov. O’Malley).  She recently gained appointment to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Development Center Advisory Board and Maryland Aviation Administration’s Small & Minority Business Advisory Council.

Barbour holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Loyola College of Maryland and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Baltimore. In 2010, she earned certification as an Associate in Fidelity and Surety Bonding (ASFB) from the American Institute for Chartered Maryland Property Casualty Underwriters.

The Barbour Group, LLC is certified as a WBENC, WOSB, DBE, and MBE firm.

Did You Know...?

Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program

Did you miss the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant webinar on January 14, 2021? It's been recorded and currently available on SBA's YouTube channel. Watch this archived webinar for a preliminary overview of the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program included in the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act signed into law on December 27, 2020. 

Watch now


Goodbye 2020, Hello 2021! SBA is Here for Your Small Business in the New Year

For small businesses across America, 2020 was one of the most challenging years in history. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) continues to stand ready to support small businesses impacted by the pandemic with educational resources and financial relief. The SBA also has your back if you are thinking about starting a business in 2021. Here are four things you can do to get your business off the ground:

  1. Write a business plan. To succeed in business, you needa business plan. Your first draft might contain a few gaps depending on how early you are in the planning stages. For instance, do you know where your business will be based, or whether demand exists in your geographic area (especially in the current economy)? As your business plan evolves, it will help you lay the groundwork to answer these questions and potentially help you secure funding. For ideas on how to structure your business plan and tips on what to include, take our free online How to Write a Business Plan
  2. Consider funding sources. It is essential to know how you will fund your business, but it can feel challenging to wade through various funding options. Learn about funding types –  from crowdsourcing and venture capital – on our website.  If you’re creditworthy but don’t qualify for conventional financing, SBA-backed loansare a good option. If you can’t obtain a business loan with reasonable rates and terms, contact your local SBA Lender to see if you are eligible for SBA programs. SBA works with participating lenders to reduce their risk, increasing the likelihood your loan will be approved with the terms that work best for you. The guarantee is conditional on the lender following SBA program requirements. Just like with any other loan, you make your loan payments directly to your lender in accordance with your terms. You can get started securing an SBA-guaranteed loan by using Lender Match, SBA’s free online referral program that connects small businesses with more than 800 participating SBA-approved lenders.
  3. Create a marketing plan. Once you are gearing up to launch, you need a marketing plan in place to get prospective customers buzzing about your products or services. SBA offers an online Marketing 101training course that will guide you through the process of identifying a target market, conducting market research, and establishing a marketing plan. The course also covers the basics of social media marketing. Make sure to include online tactics like social media as digital marketing increases due to the pandemic.
  4. Get an expert second opinion. As you are navigating the startup process in this new economy, turn to experts for help. SBA resource partners offer free business mentoring, counseling, and training remotely via phone, email, and video chat. Connect with a local SBA resource partners here.

Regardless of what comes your way during your journey as a small business owner, SBA is here to help with resources at every stage of your business.


Resource Links

2020 Tibbetts Awards

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced 38 companies, seven organizations and 14 individuals as the winners of the prestigious Tibbetts Award for their accomplishments in creating cutting-edge technologies. The Tibbetts Awards, named after Roland Tibbetts, the founder of the SBIR Program, honors these awardees for the exceptional successes they achieved through SBA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

See the list of winners 

Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans Competitive Grants Program

The Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans Program provides grants to non-profits to increase the number of military veterans gaining knowledge and skills through comprehensive, hands-on and immersive model farm and ranch programs offered regionally that lead to successful careers in the food and agricultural sector. The program encourages the development of training opportunities specifically designed for military veterans. AgVets projects will offer onsite, hands-on training and classroom education leading to a comprehensive understanding of successful farm and ranch operations and management practices. Projects may also offer workforce readiness and employment prospects for service-disabled veterans. Ensuring there are pathways for military veterans interested in pursuing careers in agriculture — regardless of age or production choice — strengthens agricultural production and rural economies across the United States. NIFA requests applications for the AgVets to provide grants to nonprofit organizations for training programs and services to establish and enhance farming and ranching opportunities for military veterans. The estimated total program funding is $4,850,000. 

Model training programs must:

  • Be led and managed by a project team that has experience in one or more areas that include:
  • Veteran engagement in agricultural management and leadership, particularly concerning small and medium-size farms and agribusiness, such as the provision of education and training to veterans and the development of skills leading to job placement and career opportunities
  • On-the-job training and education, apprenticeship, and business development activities for veterans pursuing vocational and entrepreneurial interests that support and grow the food supply chain; and/or
  • Efforts to enhance and increase workforce readiness and employment prospects for service-disabled veterans through volunteer engagement and leadership development efforts that promote nature-based reintegration, civic ecology, and earning farm and off-farm income.
  • Generate recommendations at the state and/or federal level that strengthen collaboration on transitioning Service members’ education, training, and apprenticeship programs.
  • Collaborate with the Department of Veteran Affairs at the regional, state or local level to promote referrals, access to healthcare and other benefits to improve the Veteran experience and quality of service to Veterans
  • Engage with the Small Business Administration and their resourced partners at the regional and local level such as Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) program; Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), Women’s Business Center (WBCs), and the Service-Disabled Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program
  • Engage with the Department of Labor’s Veterans Employment and Training Service.

This funding opportunity posted last week may be of interest. AgVets applicants must be nonprofit organizations. Applications are due by March 23.

U.S. Patent &Trademark Office

Patent Trial and Appeal Board Webinar About Recent Developments for AIA Trials

Join the next Boardside Chat webinar on Thursday, January 28, from noon to 1 p.m. ET, for a discussion about recent developments for American Invents Act (AIA) trials

 Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) judges will cover:

  1. Final rules related to institution of trials, including elimination of the presumption at institution that a genuine issue of material fact is viewed in the light most favorable to the petitioner;
  2. Final rules concerning the burdens of persuasion in motions to amend;
  3. New precedential decisions related to the application of the Fintiv factors and the need to conduct a real-party-in-interest analysis at institution; and
  4. The indefiniteness standard to be applied by the Board in AIA trials. 

The webinar is free and open to all. There will be a Q&A session at the end. Please send questions in advance or during the webinar to PTABBoardsideChat@uspto.gov.

More information, including the webinar access information, is available on the PTAB Boardside Chat page of the USPTO website.

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*SBA is providing website links for your reference. SBA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, or applications and cannot attest to the accuracy of the information provided by third-party sites or any other linked site.