Trade group pushes Congress to unblock capital flow
Goal: Awareness of Micro Capital Task Force recommendations on improving capital access opportunities for Main Street and microbusiness entrepreneurs; 8,000 daily loan declines.
Title: $52 Billion At Stake: Loan Declines for Small Businesses Hindering Advancement
A Gift from Dad
Broadcast news segment featuring Angel Tree Christmas (television and online) — CNN with Kira Phillips
View here: http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/us/2010/12/25/phillips.gift.from.prison.cnn.html
Goal: Awareness of Department of Justice’s prison rape recommendations
Mediums: Print, Online | Outlet: Agence France-Presse (AFP) | Location: National
Title: “US Rights Groups Say Prison Rape Rules Not Enough
Target Audience: National audience, social justice and prison reform advocates
Goal: Announce annual Bike to Work Day D.C. event
Mediums: Television and Online Outlet: WUSA 9 Location: Washington, D.C.
Title: “Bike to Work Day”
Target Audience: Metro-D.C. viewers, readers
Goal: Awareness of Prison Rape Commission’s Standards
Mediums: Online and Print | Outlet: WORLD Magazine | Location: National
Title: “Not enough protection: The commission to prevent rape in U.S. prisons says the Justice Department has weakened its standards“
Title: “Some entrepreneurs go begging: Getting business loans a struggle for poor, minorities”
Mediums: Online and Print | Outlet: San Antonio Express | Location: San Antonio
Goal: Awareness of car emissions, and incentives of carpooling
Title: Cash Incentives for Carpooling to Get a Trial Run in D.C. Area
Mediums: Online and Print | Outlet: The Washington Post | Location: Washington, D.C.
First Business TV-Chicago
The Statesman Journal
Loudoun Times Mirror
Prison Fellowship uses new movie to highlight criminal justice issues
Hilary Swank Visits Prison Fellowship
Hilary Swank Pushes Churches To Reach Out To Prisoners
Atlanta Journal Constitution (article is behind pay wall; text is below)
By Michael E. Kanell
Hold the pepperoni, hold the onions and the peppers, hold the whole pizza — there will be no baking at a Hungry Howie’s in Smyrna until the government goes back to work.
Preston Starr, owner of the franchise restaurant, has spent $69,000 buying equipment and renovating a building on Village Green Circle. To complete the work, he is counting on a $300,000 loan from the Small Business Administration — a loan he cannot get as long as the SBA is shut down.
The backlog of companies looking for SBA money grows each day. And loans to a new business are what tomato sauce is to a pizza joint: essential.
In Georgia, there’s nearly $1 billion in SBA-backed loans each year. The loans pay employees, fund operations and make expansion possible.
Banks often use the SBA to cut risk for the loans that the banks provide. Without the SBA, they might still make the loan, but the borrower would face less favorable terms and pay a higher interest rate.
“There’s lots of money out there, just not the SBA guarantee,” said Peter Rassel, business consultant, Georgia State Small Business Development Center, part of a network that provides training, consulting and analysis to small companies.
The wait for the shutdown to end has proved frustrating, said Starr. If his timetable is delayed much longer, he could be in the painful position of paying rent before he can start selling pizzas.
“We’ve got contractors ready,” Starr said. “We’ve got planning approvals and permits. We are waiting with our shovels ready.”
No one knows how long the shutdown will continue.
And some companies simply cannot take a number and wait until the SBA takeout window opens again. So owners of cash-starved businesses find themselves taking loans at higher interest ranks. And banks find themselves making those loans without the government guarantee.
“We’ve got to take care of our clients whether the government is open or closed,” said Mike Chaffin, senior vice president at Fifth Third Bank in Atlanta. “So we’ll bridge the gap until the SBA ‘capline’ is available again.”
Requests for that help have poured in, he said: Those bridge loans account for roughly 40 percent of loan closings planned at the bank for the next three months. Adding to the challenge is the need to treat most of those loans as new, even though much of the documentation had been done for the SBA, he said.
“Banks have to scramble because we are starting over on things that they might have been 90 days into,” Chaffin said.
Anything that slows down lending — or the will to borrow — can likewise slow growth. And the current impasse in Washington stirs fears among lenders and entrepreneurs alike.
The longer and deeper the crisis, the more likely that credit will stop flowing so freely, said Drew Tonsmeire, area director at Kennesaw State’s Small Business Development Center.
“Small business is just frustrated,” he said. “It upsets the market and everybody becomes more cautious. If it goes a long time, it will seriously impact credit availability.”
And when the shutdown ends, there will be a longer wait for loans, he said.
“The longer the line in the queue, the more time it could take,” he said.
The Georgia Certified Development Corp. in Buckhead, an agency that helps administer SBA programs, has client companies whose plans have been frozen by the shutdown.
CEO Tony Christopher declined to provide details, but said that among the stymied plans is a large redevelopment project on the north side of town and a smaller auto repair business in south Atlanta.
“They are just stuck,” said Christopher. “Their plans are approved (by local officials) and they are just waiting to get going. With the government shutdown, we can’t process loans to get approved. They have to sit and wait and there is no recourse.”
Another agency, Georgia Resource Capital, also has client projects on hold, said Tim Souther, executive director.
“The slowdown is not just an inconvenience,” he said. “It is a major problem.”
He has a queue of 30 borrowers waiting to apply for SBA loans and the line is lengthening, he said.
Grace Fricks, president of Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs, a not-for-profit group that specializes in small-business loans, said her agency is still able to lend money.
ACE makes loans with money it borrows money from the government – mainly the SBA and Treasury Department, she said. “It’s not affecting our ability to loan because we have money for the next four months. If this goes longer, that would affect us.”
Even when the shutdown ends and the SBA money starts flowing, the challenges to small companies continue.
Having access to capital is necessary for success, but it’s not enough, said Connie Evans, CEO of the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, a national organization that includes many local lenders. “From the café owner to the taxi driver, we are concerned that small businesses are lacking for customers,” Evans said.
There is some reason to worry, according to Sageworks, a North Carolina-based financial information company. Sales growth has slowed at small businesses in the past year, from 8 percent to 2 percent, according to Sageworks.
Yet for many business people, retreat is simply not on the menu.
“We’re in deep,” said Starr. “We are committed.”
AUDIO: 1520 WBZW, “My Home Town Radio” Show
Go Girl Finance
Resource for Entrepreneurs and Microbusinesses: GGF interviews Connie Evans, CEO of Association for Enterprise Opportunity
Interview with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta on the topic of the impact of microbusiness on the national economy and employment. Click to listen to podcast.
Newt Gingrich among Conservatives Backing NAACP Prison Reform Report
“The fact of the matter is that we’re going to spend $68 billion on corrections costs in this country this year; that’s 300 percent more than we did 25 years ago and the public isn’t any safer,’’ said Prison Fellowship Spokeswoman Kimberly N. Alleyne. “We’re focused on it from the spending standpoint. It’s the second fastest growing expense; second only to Medicare. It’s time to stop talking about being tougher on crime and instead get smarter on crime.”
Prison Fellowship’s CEO, COO Resign
The resignations “were both personal and individual circumstances,” Prison Fellowship spokeswoman Kimberly Alleyne told CT by phone. “They were not related.” In a later e-mail, Alleyne said the ministry is not putting out a statement on Kemp’s resignation. “At this time we are focused solely on ensuring the continued advancement of our mission,” she said.
In the black and the green
“Entrepreneurship is the key to achieving sustainable wealth,” according to analyst Kimberly N. Alleyne, senior director of marketing and communications for the Association for Enterprise Opportunity in Washington, D.C.
“The other thing it does is that when you start a business you create a job. So not only is the person creating a job for him or herself but if the business proves to be profitable and that business owner is able to access the resources that he or she needs, you can hire other people and then can grow your business by expanding and hiring,” said Ms. Alleyne.
FEATURE WRITING SAMPLES
Kids Health: There’s An App for That
Health Disparities Cause Financial Burdens for Families, Communities and Health Care System
EDITORIAL MANAGEMENT and PRODUCTION
2013 International Davey Award in three categories: a) online film and video in the nonprofit category; b) art direction; and c) graphics
2013 Web Award, Nonprofit Standard of Excellence
CREATIVE CONCEPTUALIZATION AND DIRECTION