Archive for October 2015

SBM reaches 1000 followers

Small Business Minnesota reached a digital milestone today by surpassing 1000 Twitter followers.

Small Business Minnesota submits comments on the City of Minneapolis Working Families Agenda

We heard from many members concerned with the City of Minneapolis’ proposed Working Families Agenda. Small Business Minnesota has submitted the following comments.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Audrey Britton, public policy director.

Small business public policy meeting Oct. 13, 7-9 p.m. with call-in option

Small Business Minnesota will hold a public policy meeting to discuss issues facing small businesses in Minnesota, review ongoing and upcoming efforts, and to hear your ideas and concerns. All are welcome.

Tuesday, Oct. 13, 7-9 p.m.

Southdale Hennepin County Library, Helen Young room,
7001 York Ave S, Edina, MN 55435

CALL IN CHANGED:  (612) 807-0311

Read more

Small Business Minnesota joins national effort to curb patent trolls

Frivolous patent litigation continues to suppress business and economic development in the United States. Small Business Minnesota has joined a national effort to pass related federal legislation co-authored by Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. If you’ve experienced a patent troll action or would like to assist with this effort, contact Audrey Britton, Small Business Minnesota public policy chair, (612) 807-0311.

The importance of this legislation to the business community is undeniable. Patent litigation is a serious problem, with 2015 shaping up to have the most patent lawsuits filed in history. Sixty-eight percent of all patent lawsuits are now filed by Patent Assertion Entities.  This litigation has spared no industry sector and hurt businesses off all sizes throughout the country costing businesses billions in direct and indirect costs each year draining resources that would otherwise be used to create jobs and invest in new technologies.

Small Business Minnesota has heard from members concerned with this issue.  One Minnesota small business owner decided to fight back and commented that he cannot attract new business because of the ongoing lawsuit. Attorney Lori Swanson has already sent one patent troll “business” packing but her efforts have been limited.

Upcoming rules will make crowdfunding a reality in Minnesota

Small Business Minnesota learned after meeting with the Governor’s office that the Minnesota Department of Commerce has committed to having crowdfunding rules completed in early 2016. The rules are necessary to allow crowdfunding to operate in Minnesota.  This is an important milestone. Crowdfunding had passed at the federal level; however, it lacked rules of operations, rendering the law useless.

Health insurance update for small businesses

Tax credits: Do you or your employees qualify for health premium tax credits? This chart shows, at a glance, that most small business owners and/or their employees qualify for tax credits. Take a look.

Open enrollment: Many, if not most, small businesses with employees can enroll in health insurance at any time during the year. However for individuals interested in health insurance plans through MNsure, open enrollment begins Nov. 1, 2015 and ends Jan. 31, 2016. Check out MNsure and/or work with a broker to shop for plans. Not all brokers are familiar with tax credits and other assistance. Be sure to see this chart to check it out for yourself.

Policy: Small Business Minnesota continues to meet with the governor’s office, state legislators, commissioners, congressional staff and elected officials, reporters…anyone who will listen about small business owners’ need for affordable healthcare. We spoke with and submitted footnoted comments to the Depart of Commerce strongly opposing insurance rate hikes on small business owners.

City of Minneapolis proposes sick leave, scheduling, wage rules

Minneapolis small business owners with one or more employees must submit comments by Oct. 16 on proposed sick leave, scheduling and wage requirements. Small Business Minnesota highly recommends that you become familiar with these policies and contact your city council member (as well as submitting written comments), if you have concerns.

Internet access for Greater Minnesota remains a key legislative priority

As many as 500,000 small business owners, customers, employees and students (our future workforce) in Greater Minnesota have no or unreliable Internet access.  If this is a concern of yours, please let us know.

In 2013 Small Business Minnesota advocated for Internet access in Greater Minnesota. Legislation passed and $20 million in funding was allocated. However, during the 2015 legislative session, the program was eliminated only to be restored in the last minutes of the session thanks to the efforts of Small Business Minnesota and people like you. Unfortunately the program was reinstated but at a fraction of its original funding. Therefore, this remains on our key legislative priorities for 2016 and 2017. Read related article.

Credit card liability shifts to small businesses Oct. 1, resources available

Major U.S. credit card issuers including MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express, have shifted liability for card-present fraud shift to whichever party is the least EMV-compliant in certain fraudulent transactions. This took affect Oct. 1, 2015.

The SBA has launched a series of seminars and online resourcesto help ensure small business owners understand what this transition means for business owners and their customers.

New-job training grants for Greater Minnesota small businesses

Grants for new or expanding businesses in Greater Minnesota are now available. The program provides grants of up to $100,000 that eligible businesses can use to train workers in new jobs.

Applications will be accepted beginning Oct. 15 and will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to businesses that meet eligibility requirements. The grants are made available through the Job Training Incentive Program administered by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Read more details.

Is it taxable or is it not?

The who, what, where, when of taxes affecting your small business.

Tax complexity remains on Small Business Minnesota’s list of things to change to make doing businesses easier for small businesses in Minnesota. We will keep pressing on this issue. In the meantime, the Minnesota Revenue Department is developing a series of tax charts on what’s taxable and what is not.

Welcome new member Ryan Kleinjan of Catalyst Sourcing

Catalyst Sourcing
Catalyst Sourcing offers organizations a unique combination of affordable tools, data, and purchasing resources to more easily reduce and control over 50+ categories of indirect expenses, while proactively managing supplier contracts and tariffs.  Our clients range from small businesses and $400M+ corporations to government agencies and non-profits.  Catalyst helps businesses tap into efficiencies and leverage to help them operate efficiently and maintain lower overhead expenses. Contact President Ryan Kleinjan, Office (952) 467-6079, Cell (952) 484-3281.

Welcome new member Medical Equipment Exporters, Inc.

Medical Equipment Exporters, Inc.
Medical Equipment Exporters, Inc. helps medical products manufacturers in Minnesota and neighboring states find cost-effective exporting success in Latin American markets. This includes sales, distribution, licensing and joint ventures. MEE thoroughly understands the unique Midwest region manufacturers face as U.S.-based exporters.MEE focuses on distribution of surgeon-preference products, highly valued by surgeons practicing in cardiovascular, thoracic, neurosurgical, and transplant specialties. President Robert Scarlett is author of 308 Tips for Taking Your Company Worldwide and is fluent in English, German, Spanish and Portuguese. Contact: (651) 775-3668.

Welcome new member Kate Sterner of B2BCFO

Kathryn A. (Kate) Sterner, Independent B2B CFO Partner
Kate Sterner is an independent partner and certified business transition expert with B2B CFO, a national firm providing advisory services to small to mid-sized privately-held companies. B2B provides services as independent contractors, helping business owners improve profits, company value, cash flow and prepare for an exit strategy.  With unique tools and processes B2B CFO’s 220 professionals in 46 states, provide solutions that fits each business owner’s individual needs. Prior to joining B2B CFO as an independent partner, Kate held positions of VP Finance, Operations, Product Management, Banking and CFO, including Founding Principal of a Broker/Dealer Consulting business. Contact Kate by email,  Office 612-720-4264, Cell 612-720-4264.

SBM endorses David Glass for St. Paul Ward 5

Small Business Minnesota has endorsed David Glass for St. Paul City Council Ward 5. Glass is a lifelong St. Paul resident and first-time council candidate. Small Business Minnesota is a nonprofit, nonpartisan statewide association of small business owners and supporters.

“We haven’t endorsed in a city council race previously but were very impressed with David Glass’ business acumen and are confident he will bring a much-needed firsthand business perspective into public policy,” said Audrey Britton, Small Business Minnesota public policy chair.

Read more