CVC News and Press Releases
June 8, 2012 | Merlene Davis: Summer program lets city youth learn as they grow
By Merlene Davis - Herald-Leader columnist
When Hollywood portrays a conflict between city dwellers and country folk, the sophisticated city slicker often loses to the common-sense country bumpkin. Locally, Community Ventures Corp. and partners Fifth Third Bank and Fayette County Public Schools are writing a new story line featuring a hybrid character that melds the best of both those worlds in hopes of appealing to a young audience.The Youth Entrepreneur Development Summer Program teaches young people from the inner city how to grow vegetables, manage the land, develop a business plan, harvest the crop and sell the produce for a profit.
"Exposing our young people to this form of education will spur their interest in careers in the agri-sciences," said James D. Coles, executive vice president of Community Ventures Corp.-Lexington. This is the second year for the program. Last year the young people worked only from the retail end, selling produce grown by others at East End Community Farmers Market. They sold items for a profit and shared their gain. Based on participants' feedback, Coles said, the program was expanded, making it more hands-on from start to finish. Because they share in the profits, the youth wanted to learn about pricing and how to increase those profits. "If they can grow their own, they can eliminate the middleman," Coles said.
Community Ventures selected 15 youth, ages 14 to 18, for the program. Three are returning from last year. They all submitted letters of recommendation from a school official, wrote an essay and have no less than a 2.0 GPA. Coles said inner city youth were targeted because of their need. The youth work and learn Wednesdays and Thursdays at Locust Trace AgriScience Farm, an 82-acre working farm and public school off Leestown Road. Classroom subjects include plant and land management, and veterinary science for small animals. On Fridays, the group goes to Berries on Bryan Station, an organic family farm, to learn about organic farming. And then, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, they sell their produce at the East End market. "They get paid for three days of work and they keep their net profits from what they earn on Saturday," Coles said.
The youth also are accepting donations of bumper crops from farmers to sell at the market.Although the youth have been working since June 5, the program will have its celebratory launch Thursday, with free food and a concert. The young people will be there selling their produce as well.Critical analytical thinking, math, science, budgeting, entrepreneurship and conducting business with the public are just some of the skills the youth are earning, Coles said. And it doesn't hurt to have 15 youth gainfully employed during the summer. There is more. Some of them gained an appreciation for sugar snap peas. "They are learning to eat healthier," Coles said. "They are learning the benefits of healthier eating habits."
The experience is another way to get fresh fruits and vegetables on the dinner tables of families living in the East End, which has been called a food desert.It is amazing to watch how engaged the youth are in the process and how interested they are in where things come from, Coles said."It has sparked in them the understanding they can grow things and sell them in the marketplace," he said.It's a concept most country folk already have learned.
Merlene Davis: (859) 231-3218. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Twitter: @reportmerle. Blog: merlenedavis.bloginky.com.
June 17, 2012 | Business owners thank Gibbens at CVC celebration
By Chuck Stinnett
$900,000 in loans to be available here soon
A downtown luncheon on Friday was intended as a celebration of the 30th anniversary of a nonprofit organization. But it turned into a love fest between Sue Gibbens and some of the owners of small businesses that she has helped get started or expand here over the past six years.
Gibbens is the executive vice president of the Henderson office of Community Ventures Corp. (CVC), a Lexington-based nonprofit that is the largest Small Business Administration lender in the nation, helping entrepreneurs and small businesses secure loans ranging from a few hundred to many thousands of dollars.
n fact, CVC President and CEO Kevin Smith said his organization expects in a couple of weeks to have $900,000 to loan in the Henderson area through the USDA Intermediary Relending Program, which is intended for businesses in rural communities. Loans of up to $150,000 will be available.
But Gibbens, a Certified Economic Developer and the local face of CVC, is more than a loan officer. She's also a consultant, a mentor to fledgling business owners - even a provider of a shoulder for a nervous entrepreneur to cry on.
"They become my best friends, my kids," Gibbens said of her clients following the anniversary celebration.
The affection was obvious as client after client - owners of small businesses ranging from a power-washing service to a professional philanthropy consulting firm - thanked or even hugged her during the luncheon.
Three of those clients spoke about their businesses and the role Gibbens played.
Rebecca Goodman knew that opening Mind's Eye Studio to teach art to children in Morganfield was "a very risky business."
"But CVC had faith in me that I could do it," Goodman continued, as Gibbens helped her figure out how to research demographics such as income levels and average family size to help assess the feasibility of her venture. Gibbens also helped her obtain a micro loan.
Since opening with 17 students in 2008, Goodman's studio has grown to an average of 105 students.
"Art stimulates the same part of the brain as math and science and problem solving," she said, adding that the opening of her studio has coincided with a decline in the teaching of art in public schools.
Angie Lilly had enthusiasm but not much of a plan when she went to Gibbens to discuss opening Gabbi's Boutique, where she sells her custom-sewn clothes for little dogs like her own Yorkie-Maltese mix, Gabbi, as well as premium pet foods, pet supplies, a dog-washing center and, soon, food for wild backyard birds.
Lilly several years ago started making clothes for her "little dog that's cold all the time," and it became an obsession when her then-16-year-old son was a new driver. "I would sew instead of pacing the floor," she said.
Eventually friends began asking her to sew clothes for their dogs. Then she began selling the clothes on commission at pet stores. Eventually, she decided to open her own shop in downtown Henderson. It was recommended that she meet with Gibbens. "Don't do anything before you talk to Sue, because if she says it won't work, you shouldn't do it," Lilly was told"(Gibbens) asked, 'Do you have a business plan?' " she recalled. "I said, 'Well, no.' She forced me to do the business plans and budgets and advertising. She made me come talk to her.
"Without Sue, I would not have had the nerve to do it," Lilly said. "She said, 'You can do this because you have a passion in your eyes.' "
Now nearly five years old and drawing regular customers from as far away as Vincennes, Ind., Gabbi's Boutique has boosted sales and profits every year. Lilly said her inventory has expanded so much that she's had to move her sewing room out of the store and back to her house; she's also hired a full-time manager and part-time employee to keep the store open six days a week.
Shannon and Scott Clements of Morganfield consulted with Gibbens as they prepared to start C&C Roofing in Morganfield five years ago. She helped them through what Scott Clements called the "long, drawn-out process" of securing an SBA 504 loan to buy a computerized metal-bending machine and other equipment.
Today, the commercial roofing business has nine employees and recently completed a roofing job on a hangar at Fort Campbell. C&C has also put the roof on the Livingston County Library and worked on projects as far away as Chattanooga. It now employs nine people.
Gibbens "has been like a mother hen," Shannon Clements said. "We had many conversations with Sue. We kind of had a plan, but she helped us a lot."
"She made it easy," Scott Clements said.
Gibbens did more than care about their business. When Shannon Clements had to have an emergency cesarean section at an Evansville hospital in 2007, "I think Sue beat Scott there," where a healthy baby boy was delivered.
"She was there before anyone else," Shannon said.
From September 2006 until now, Gibbens said, approximately 186 new businesses in a seven-county area have been established after receiving loans or counseling through her, with about 305 jobs being created. And more than 150 existing jobs have been retained with the help of counseling that they received.
It was just such successes that Kevin Sheilley hoped for when he became president and CEO of the Northwest Kentucky Forward regional economic development organization here seven years ago.
While attracting new industry and helping existing companies grow are vital, "We decided it was very important to invest in business creation" by finding a way to help people start their own companies and hopefully grow and hire employees, he said.
"When we can do that, we have a stronger region," Sheilley said.
So he recruited Community Ventures, with which he had worked while working as the economic development agent in Campbellsville. "When I was hired, one of the first people I called was my good friend Kevin Smith," Sheilley said. "I said, 'I'm going west (to Henderson) and you're going with me."
Within a year, CVC opened its office, sharing office space in the Peabody Building with Northwest Kentucky Forward.
In approximately 10 days, the CVC Henderson office will be moving to a new location: the fifth floor of the Soaper Building at Second and Main streets in downtown Henderson, which will be the new headquarters of Northwest Kentucky Forward as well as a new small business and entrepreneur center that will serve as an incubator for up-and-coming businesses.
Community Ventures Corp.'s Henderson office can be reached at (270) 826-7196 or 877-434-3766. More information about its services is available at http://www.cvcky.org/,
© 2012 Evansville Courier & Press. All rights reserved.
April 9, 2012 | Kentucky Among Top States for Entrepreneurial Activity
Contact Information: Kerri Richardson
Terry Sebastian 502-564-2611
Kauffman Foundation report ranks Kentucky eighth in number of start-up businesses in 2011
FRANKFORT, Ky.– Kentucky is once again being recognized as a leading state in an important economic development measure. According to the latest annual Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity report, the Commonwealth tied for the eighth-highest number of new start-up companies in 2011.
The ranking was earned after achieving a more than 27 percent increase in entrepreneurial activity since 2010.
“The ranking by the prestigious Kauffman Foundation is particularly important because the start-up and growth of innovation-driven companies plays a major role in the growth of Kentucky’s economy, including the creation of high-paying jobs,” Gov. Steve Beshear said. “Climbing to eighth place in the nation – while moving past such traditional powerhouses as Massachusetts, Ohio and North Carolina – testifies to the success of the people and programs we’ve put in place to support start-up businesses across the Commonwealth.”
The March 2012 report found that Kentucky’s entrepreneurial sector is continuing to exhibit dynamic growth. In addition to the state’s eighth-place finish in the latest survey, the Kauffman Foundation reports that the Commonwealth’s rate of growth in entrepreneurship during the decade from 2001 to 2010 was the fifth highest among all 50 states.
Kentucky’s rise in the rankings is even more dramatic when seen in the context that from 2010-2011, entrepreneurial activity decreased overall nationwide and in all regions of the country except the Northeast, which experienced a slight increase in rates.
In the South, where entrepreneurship rates in 2011 decreased overall by more than 8 percent, Kentucky’s increase of more than 27 percent translates into approximately 2,600 more start-up businesses than were created in 2010.
Gov. Beshear also lauded the efforts of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC), which together, fund and administer a wide range of initiatives designed to encourage the formation and growth of new ventures in the Commonwealth.
“It’s gratifying to see that the state’s efforts to help foster a culture of entrepreneurship in the Commonwealth, and to help support our new businesses once they form, are paying off as thousands of new Kentucky companies are creating new jobs,” said Larry Hayes, secretary of the Cabinet for Economic Development. “From the ‘Idea State U’ business plan competition that encourages university students to learn how to form new ventures, to our small business programs for high-tech and traditional start-up businesses, Kentucky has a comprehensive tool kit to help entrepreneurs get started and to help their companies grow and succeed.”
“This is exciting news given the central importance of entrepreneurship and high-speed innovation to Kentucky’s present and future economy” said Kris Kimel, president of KSTC.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/ThinkKentucky or follow on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/ThinkKentucky.
January 9, 2012 | More Patents Granted to Women in Recent Years
New Study Examines Patent Applications by Gender, Link to Women Entrepreneurs
WASHINGTON - The number of women obtaining patents has grown at an accelerating rate over the past 35 years and in numbers considerably higher than previously reported, a new study commissioned by the National Women's Business Council (NWBC) has found.
The largest spike came in 2010, when 22,984 patents were granted to women, a 35 percent jump over the previous year, according to the NWBC study. In 2009, women received 17,061 patents, a 4.5 percent increase over the 16,321 issued in 2008.
The details are part of the preliminary findings from an extensive review of patents granted between 1975 and 2010 by the U.S. Patents and Trademarks Office. NWBC commissioned a private research company, Delixus, Inc., to conduct the study to determine the rates of women who apply for and receive patents. The study, which also will examine data on women with trademarks, is the first of its kind to explore this issue in depth, mainly because federal patent and trademark applicants did not ask for gender information. Newly-passed legislation will allow USPTO to start tracking gender data this year.
Research on intellectual property can help shed light on the potential growth of women-owned businesses, said NWBC Chair Donna James.
"Patent and trademark ownership often is an indicator of entrepreneurial activity - and historically, women have not been a large segment of this group. A bump in IP ownership could indicate strong growth in women-owned companies," James said. "NWBC actively sought out this study because little research has specifically examined women business owners and intellectual property."
NWBC researchers examined the names of all patents granted over a 35-year period, determining gender by using the applicant's name. To do this, researchers relied upon multiple sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Social Security Administration, which compiles a list of the 10,000 most common American names for men and women. Because of the nation's changing population demographics over the last quarter century, researchers also relied on commercially available data of the most common names in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Spanish, German and French. Uncommon names from other foreign countries, as well as unisex names, also were examined. Just under 6 percent of the names in patent disclosures could not be identified as male or female.
Details of the full report, which will include numbers on women, patents, trademarks over time and by industry, will be released during an upcoming news event at the USPTO headquarters in early March. NWBC will commemorate a 35-year history of women inventors by featuring a new female inventor every day on its website during March, which is Women's History Month.
The NWBC is a nonpartisan federal advisory council created to serve as an independent source of advice and policy recommendations to the president, Congress and the U.S. Small Business Administration on economic issues of importance to women business owners.
NWBC is the government's only independent voice for women entrepreneurs. It is made up of 15 prominent women business owners and leaders of women's business organizations. Each member is appointed to a three-year term.
For Immediate Release: Monday, Jan. 9, 2012.
Contact: Eun Kim (202)205-6829, or email@example.com
East End Comunity Farmers Market is closing on a high note Saturday
By Merlene Davis - Herald-Leader columnist
If you go
East End Community Farmers Market
What: The East End Community Farmers Market will celebrate the end of the season with free food, music and giveaways.
When: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 29. Festivities begin at 11:30 a.m., a television will be raffled at noon.
Where: 560 East Third St.
Call: (859) 231-0054
When I spoke with James Coles last year, before the opening of the East End Community Farmers Market, he said the market was a response to residents who requested access to fresh produce.
Coles, executive vice president of Community Ventures in Lexington and co-founder of the market, said studies found that the Third Street corridor was a "health food desert" and that getting fresh fruits and vegetables on dinner tables in the community was limited by lack of transportation.
But that wasn't the end of the story.
Not only did residents need access, they also wanted to be able to pay for their goods with EBT debit cards and Women, Infants and Children debit cards as they do in grocery stores. This year that was made possible too.
Also added this year was an idea that has reverberated at the Charles Young Community Center task force meetings throughout the summer and after recent hostilities involving young people in that neighborhood. Community Ventures and several partners added a component that included young people in the mix.
The Youth Entrepreneurial Development Program started out with eight youths ages 12 to 17 who ran the market until farmers could harvest their crops.
"This year was about bringing healthy local food into the area and about the youth initiative," Cole said.
The young people sold items, interacted with customers and even dabbled in marketing, Coles said.
"They contributed to making the location attractive," he said. "We wanted to make them aware of the opportunities in the agri-economy.
"Many of the customers complimented us for having the youth here. And some of them were tipping the youth for carrying their purchases to their cars," he said.
The youth component went over so well that Fayette County Public Schools has been brought onboard as a partner. Coles said the youths helping at the market next year also will participate in the sowing and harvesting of crops at Locust Trace AgriScience Farm, a public high school off Leestown Road.
"The partnership will also incorporate more of the curriculum of what we are doing from a business model," he said.
Saturday will mark the close of the market for the season. There will be music, free food and a drawing for a flat-screen TV. Throughout the season, customers who spent $5 received raffle tickets. One winner will be chosen at noon. The winner must be present to claim the prize.
"We want you there and we want to attract people there," Coles said. "Someone has to eat all these hot dogs and hamburgers."
But customers and residents aren't the only winners. Three of the eight young people who worked with the market throughout the season will receive refurbished desktop computer donated by Community Ventures. Next year, Coles hopes to offer the young people a stipend and laptop computers.
The farmers still have fresh turnips, mustard, kale, collard greens, okra, green and red tomatoes, green beans, cabbage, cauliflower, squash, peppers and fruit to sell, Coles said
So, come for the free food and entertainment and pick up some fresh produce that will be delicious in a homemade weekend meal.
Reach Merlene Davis at (859) 231-3218 or 1-800-950-6397 Ext. 3218, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more: http://www.kentucky.com/2011/10/26/1935841/merlene-davis-east-end-community.html#ixzz1bzE0BV00
August 3, 2011 | Brownfield Redevelopment Program: Case Sudy of Third Street Exchange
Around 2002, Community Ventures Corporation (CVC) began acquiring properties in the Third Street/Midland Avenue area of Lexington to renovate. Because of environmental concerns, perceived crime and the over-all blighted appearance of the area, private-sector businesses had little interest in locating
One building purchased by CVC was erected in the 1940s and is now called the Third Street Exchange. This facility had served as a dairy cooler depot, wire cable storage and an HVAC service center. The adjoining land, which CVC planned to use for parking, was the site of a salvage company, auto repair building and paint shop and revealed some environmental concerns after the confirmation of the presence of lead, chlorinated solvents and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
CVC conducted an All Appropriate Inquiry prior to obtaining ownership. This is one of the chief requirements to claiming Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser liability protection under
state and federal law.
The Third Street Exchange, along with the nearby $20 million redevelopment of the former Bluegrass-Aspendale low-income housing complex, renovation of the Lyric Theater, development of the Legacy Trail and the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden, has contributed immensely to the revitalization and increase in economic values of the area. According to the Fayette County Property Valuation Administrator’s records in 2011, the property value of the Third Street Exchange has increased to five times its 2001 value.
A project of this magnitude required the cooperation and assistance of several organizations, including government agencies; area churches; and financial, educational and medical institutions. CVC began working with the Kentucky Superfund Branch to design this redevelopment project to address environmental issues, revitalize a set of properties that had the potential to contribute significantly to Lexington’s downtown and provide services that the area’s residents so desperately needed.
Approximately 120 tons of contaminated soil were removed from the site and sent to an
appropriate landfill. Clean fill was brought in, and the property was covered with impervious pavement and clean soil. A deed restriction was filed to ensure that any future owners would be aware of the history of the property and take appropriate precautions. These included limiting the property to nonresidential uses, maintaining
the paved parking lot and soil cap areas and contacting the
Energy and Environment Cabinet regarding any construction work that would disturb the cover on-site, which is important to assure the safety of any future construction workers.
Besides dealing with grounds problems, the building was gutted, all mechanical systems replaced and the interior redesigned to create the business incubator and learning center areas. CVC retained the character of the building by refinishing the original wood floors. Since the structure was not demolished, the architectural element that was a part of the
area's history and aesthetic was saved.
Hard work has transformed this brownfield into an asset for the area. Now the location
is a multipurpose facility with a business incubator, the Douglas
Community Learning Center and job development opportunities. The Third Street Exchange is the crown jewel in an area that was once blighted, riddled with crime and empty storefronts and was an environmental mess. Now, it is fulfilling its intended purpose for the neighborhood in offering educational services and increasing incomes, asset accumulation and jobs for families through business ownership and self-employment.
Through the community's persistence to improve the East End neighborhood, local economy and quality of life, revitalization has occurred. The facility continues to expand
its services to the community with Saturday morning farmers' markets under the parking lot pavilion, which brings fresh produce to an area with few retail sources for healthy food. Due to its success with this property, CVC has acquired an adjacent former dry cleaner and secured an EPA grant to assist with the cleanup.
June 7, 2011 | Home Ownership Celebration in Lancaster
Lancaster, KY -
Today a small neighborhood celebrated homeownership under the hot summer sun in Lancaster. People came from all over the community to celebrate with Mrs. Virginia Arnett as she rejoiced with her neighbors in gratefulness for her own home. At 91 years young, Mrs. Arnett has been in her home for over five years. The neighborhood had been completely renovated with new homes over the past several years.
Many organizations came together to rebuild this neighborhood including Community Ventures Corporation, FAHE, and the Kentucky Housing Corporation. In recognition of the emergence of the neighborhood, Community Ventures Corporation chose to recognize Mrs. Arnett and Lancaster during the 2011 NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Week. ‘This is a wonderful example of people and resources coming together to build a stable and safe neighborhood', stated Kevin R. Smith, President and CEO of CVC. ‘What happened here can happen in other communities. More families can have their own dream home and we here at CVC along with our other partners would love to be a part of more of this.'
Joining the neighborhood in celebration included Mayor Brenda Powers, County Judge Executive John Wilson with special greetings from Marshall Crawford, from the Atlanta office of NeighborWorks America.
For more information about home ownership and other services offered by Community Ventures Corporation, contact Community Ventures Corporation at any of their seven community-based offices.
Community Ventures Corporation is headquartered in Lexington with offices in Bowling Green, Campbellsville, Frankfort, Henderson, Louisville and Paris. Interested parties may contact any of the offices or call 1-800-299-0267 for immediate connection to their local office. Additional information may be found at http://www.cvcky.org/.
Join Your Neighbors At The Market
Welcome to the East End Community Farmers Market! Contact James Coles for more information 859.231.0054 ext. 207 or 1.800.299.0267
June 2, 2011 | Helping hands in home buying
eHome America provides online education for potential home buyers
by Erik Rust
Lexington, KY - On the way to realizing the American dream of owning a home, potential home owners must first navigate the innumerable challenges and pitfalls of the home-buying process itself. Buyers must be thoroughly educated on the myriad aspects of home ownership from the beginning until the ceremonious signing on the dotted line.
For those seeking to make educated decisions regarding the home-buying process, Kentucky's Community Venture Corporation has created eHome America, a nationwide low-cost online service directed at meeting the informational needs of low- to moderate-income home buyers.
"Basically we realized that we were doing a horrible job in reaching rural customers," said eHome Senior Executive Vice President Sandy Canon of her initial involvement with CVC. Knowing that the requirement for home-buyer courses had been in place for decades, she helped launch eHome America to rectify these glaring needs.
"It is very challenging for those lower- to middle-class individuals to be able to take a day off, find child care for the day and/or travel," she said.
Canon added that this program allows interested home buyers to "take the required courses on their own time and at their own pace."
In addition to meeting course requirements, eHome America offers guidance throughout the often lengthy and convoluted home-buying process, which can intimidate would-be home buyers into submission. The eight-hour online course tackles various concerns including home-buying readiness, budgeting and credit, shopping/searching for a home and the purchase and sustainment of a mortgage.
Now available in 42 states, the program actively educates and connects potential home buyers to neighborhood home counseling organizations near them. This aspect of eHome is central to its convenience and, as Canon said, "assures that the process is not faceless" and doesn't amount simply to students staring blankly into computer screens and gazing at endless tutorials. eHome boasts 112 housing partners across the country and requires no government funding.
The course is offered in both English and Spanish to accommodate all participants, and especially minorities. Spanish-speaking courses are increasingly popular in the Southern states, according to Canon, and eHome America's online structure emphasizes accessibility. The web service features a multitude of videos and animated clips that accelerate the learning process.
Frequent quizzes and tests are administered throughout to keep students on their toes and to ensure that the information covered is truly being retained. These tests typically consist of two- to five-question mini-quizzes to provide users with small checkups on their progress.
"Post-purchase support is incredibly valuable, and the customer can come back for counseling as long as they need," said Canon.
The program has served more than 10,000 total home buyers since its launch, Canon said.
Canon also discussed what she saw as an eyebrow-raising trend that illustrates a symptom of the current economy when exploring eHome's statistics.
"Almost 95 percent of our home buyers come from households that earn $75,000 or less," Canon said. "Nearly 43 percent of these people have a two-year college degree or higher."
This figure highlights how things have changed in the overall social and economic composition of the country, according to Canon. Despite these shifts, eHome is doing more than its share to serve interested home buyers, despite the less-than-ideal conditions of the economic landscape. Recently it was recognized as a winner of the national HOPE Award (Home Ownership for Everyone), which "recognizes individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to increasing and sustaining minority home ownership, revitalizing communities and expanding affordable housing opportunities." The HOPE Awards are sponsored by a partnership of national real estate associations and are conferred every other year.
"It was such a big deal to receive national recognition with an award like this," said Canon.
Canon hopes the notoriety will also bring more attention to eHome's cause, allowing it to put the knowledge needed to obtain home ownership within the grasp of more individuals and families across the nation.
May 24, 2011 | SBA Introduces New Mobile Application for Small Business Owners, Entrepreneurs
Cecelia Taylor (202) 401-3059
New SBA mobile application brings enhanced access to information and resources
WASHINGTON - Smart phone users interested in starting or growing a small business can now find helpful resources at their fingertips via a new SBA mobile application from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
"Increasingly, smart phones are the vehicle through which Americans access information. This is certainly true of many entrepreneurs and small business owners and this new application ensures they will have access to SBA's resources and programs - literally at their fingertips," said SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills. "Greater mobility fits with the new user-focused SBA.gov launched recently, and is another example of the steps we are taking to do a better job of connecting entrepreneurs and small business owners with the tools to help them start or grow their businesses and create jobs."
Developed and donated as a gift by Palo Alto Software, Inc., the SBA mobile app will make the search for extensive resources more efficient, whether users are starting a new business or taking an existing business to a new level. The app will first be available for the Apple iPhone®, with future versions for other smart phone platforms.
"Palo Alto Software's mission is to help small businesses succeed. We've developed this mobile application for the SBA because we understand the importance of having the right tools and resources when starting or growing a business," said Sabrina Parsons, CEO of Palo Alto Software. "Ideas can strike entrepreneurs at any moment, and having useful resources available through mobile devices could be the impetus that begins the next big company."
The mobile app will help users connect with SBA district office staff and SBA-affiliated counselors and mentors who can provide free, personalized small business assistance. The user-friendly format of the app will help answer questions such as: How do I start a business? Where can I go in my area to get free help with writing a business plan? And where do I begin finding funding for my business?
The SBA mobile app also features a built-in startup cost calculator to help estimate the costs associated with getting a business off the ground, plus an SBA partner locator to help users find SBA offices, Small Business Development Centers, Women's Business Centers and SCORE.
Users will also have mobile access to SBA video content and social media alerts to provide them with tips on the go. This will include live updates from the SBA's YouTube channel and from SBA's Twitter feeds. The free mobile app can be downloaded from the SBA's website at www.sba.gov/content/sba-mobile-app.
April 28, 2011 | CVC Presented 2010 SBA Micro Lender of the Year Award
For Immediate Release
April 28, 2011
Contact: Micci Murrell, Director of Communications
The Kentucky Small Business Administration district office leadership presented the 2010 SBA Micro Lender of the Year Award to Community Ventures Corporation. ‘This is the tenth time in twelve years we've been able to recognize this fine organization with this award,' proclaimed Phillip Danhauer, Kentucky's SBA Chief of the Finance Division. ‘I want you all to know that CVC does more SBA micro business loans than the state of Texas. And this year looks to surpass last year's record setting mark. Half way through the first six months of our federal year, Kentucky is at 75% in dollar amount for micro, 504 and 7A loans.'
This is not a time to shrink back', commented Kevin R. Smith, President and CEO of Community Ventures Corporation. ‘This economy and our businesses need loans to move our region and our country forward. Our businesses will grow and thrive with these higher risk loans because of the added training and technical assistance provided. This quality support will guide businesses through these rough times.'
Community Ventures Corporation provides access to SBA loans of up to $50,000 to Kentucky small businesses.
‘We started our company almost thirty years ago with microloans in the forefront', continued Mr. Smith. ‘We know that small businesses drive our economic success in every city and town in the Commonwealth. We are proud to be part of that success'.
In addition, CVC's Robert Heil, Director of Small Business Development - Louisville was recognized as a Kentucky's All Star Lender for 2010.
Community Ventures Corporation is headquartered in Lexington with regional offices in Bowling Green, Campbellsville, Frankfort, Henderson, Louisville and Paris. Interested parties may contact any of the offices or call 1-800-299-0267 for immediate connection to their local office. Additional information may be found at http://www.communityventurescorporation.org/
April 21, 2011 | Community Ventres Corporation will be participating in the Bluegrass Local Food Summit as a facilitator.
For more information go to: http://www.sustainlex.org/Bluegrasslocalfoodsummitdescription.html
April 1, 2011 | Number of Women-Owned Business Increases
Business First - by Stephanie Clouser, Staff WriterDate: Friday, April 1, 2011, 10:07am EDT
The number of women-owned businesses in Kentucky has increased, according to a comprehensive report based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
According to the State of Women-Owned Business report by American Express OPEN, Kentucky has an estimated 91,900 women-owned firms, with a combined $13 billion in sales. These firms employ 87,300 workers, not including the owners of the firms, many of which are sole-proprietorships.
Nationally, the number of women-owned businesses has increased 50 percent since 1997 to a total of roughly 8.1 million firms across the country.
Kentucky ranks 26th for growth in the number of women-owned firms since 1997 and 46th in growth of firm revenue between 1997 and 2011.
Indiana ranks 47th for growth in the number of firms and 28th for growth of firm revenue between 1997 and 2011.
Read more: Number of women-owned business increases | Business First
April 1, 2011 | Women's Business Center Opens in Louisville
By Herald-Leader Staff Report
Posted: 12:00am on Apr 1, 2011; Modified: 6:19am on Apr 1, 2011
Community Ventures Corporation on Thursday announced the opening of the Women's Business Center of Kentucky in downtown Louisville.
The center, which is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, is designed to mentor and support female entrepreneurs.
Community Ventures has hired Sharron Johnson, who has formerly worked for organizations including the Louisville Minority Business Development Center and Sullivan University, as the facility's director.
A grand opening will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. April 18 at its offices at 811 South Second Street. The public is welcome.
Read more: http://www.kentucky.com/2011/04/01/1691708/womens-business-center-opens-in.html#ixzz1LOF7dCM6
March 21, 2011 | Entrepreneurs Receiving Help
If a new company came to the Henderson area and created 220 jobs, it would be a cause for celebration. The governor would probably come to town.
Community Ventures Corp. has done just that. Not for itself; it still has just one employee here. But over 4 1/2 years, the nonprofit organization has helped "hundreds and hundreds of people," according to Henderson Chamber of Commerce President Brad Schneider.
What CVC has done is help entrepreneurs start businesses in Henderson, Union, Webster and McLean counties and enabled small businesses to expand. Its local partner Northwest Kentucky Forward reports that CVC has helped create 216 jobs.
It helped Angie Lilly launch Gabbi's Boutique, a shop in downtown Henderson that caters to pampered pups.
Lilly was working for an engineering company "but she had an idea," recalled Sue Gibbens, executive vice president of CVC's Henderson office. "She said, 'I'm scared to death, but I have a passion for something I do.'"
Lilly made clothes for her pet dog Gabbi. Family and friends liked what she did and asked her to sew clothes for their dogs. Eventually, she placed some in a vet's office.
"In the first week, she sold out," Gibbens said. Lilly in time to decided to quit her job and open a shop.
With Gibbens' help, "She did a business plan, she found a good location, she followed through on everything," she said. "She has the cutest little store. People come from far and wide."
Lilly added accessories, a cat's corner, a self-service dog-washing spa, specialized foods and more. After 3 1/2 years, Gabbi's is running out of space and having to expand.
Becky Goodman was already a part-owner of Country Meats in Sturgis. Gibbens was in the deli one day and admired some oil paintings in the back; Goodman had painted them.
"It took me one year to convince her to go into business for herself" by opening a studio, said Gibbens, a Union County native. Today, Goodman displays and sells her art at Mind's Eye in downtown Morganfield, teaches 82 art students and is winning awards for her art.
Gibbens helped startup C&C Roofing Inc. in Morganfield secure a Small Business Administration loan for building, land and equipment; she counseled Darrell Williams as he prepared to reopen Wolf's Tavern and Restaurant in Henderson.
"We do have some success stories," Gibbens said. "We also had some people that didn't do as well but learned from their mistakes."
CVC provides two kinds of help: Loans through the federal Small Business Administration and business counseling.
Gibbens advises entrepreneurs to develop a one- to three-year projection on cash flow. "You'd be surprised how many people wanting to start a business do not know what cash flow is," she said. "The same for a business plan and marketing plan."
"Any entrepreneur has to have a passion, because it takes a lot of passion and perseverance," said Gibbens, herself a three-time entrepreneur who says she has "seen the good, the bad and the ugly."
When consulting with a prospective client, "I'm black-and-white. I'll tell them, 'You're not ready'" if their business proposal hasn't gelled.
CVC offers three kinds of loans, often in conjunction with other financing provided by a bank or the Green River Area Development District revolving loan fund:
- Jump-start loans: Totaling up to $1,000, these loans can help a business-start purchase a computer, buy business cards or make some other small investment.
- Microenterprise loans: Totaling from $1,000 to $35,000, these six-year loans can be used for working capital, inventory, supplies or fixtures, furniture, machinery and equipment.
- 504 Kentucky: These SBA loans can lend up to 40 percent of a project cost or $1.5 million per project. Payback terms are 20 years for land and building or 10 years for equipment. The minimum loan is $150,000.
Obtaining any CVC loan requires attending eight hours of business and feasibility classes, submitted an approved business plan and other requirements. Loans of more than $1,000 require a personal credit score of 550 or higher.
Gibbens is based at the offices of Northwest Kentucky Forward in the Peabody Building off Barret Court. The phone number is 826-7196 or (877) 434-3766. CVC's website is www.cvcky.org.
Business Editor Chuck Stinnett can be reached at 831-8343 or email@example.com.
February 24, 2011 |Tax Credits to Help Lexington Organization Create Jobs, Spark Investment
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 24,2011
Contact: Jennifer Krimm (202) 225-4706
Tax Credits to Help Lexington Organization Create Jobs, Spark Investment
WASHINGTON (February 24, 2011)-Today, Community Ventures Corporation (CVC), headquartered in Lexington, has been selected to receive $18 million in tax credits under the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program. NMTC, which started in 2000, helps organizations such as CVC re-invest and revitalize local communities, promote small businesses, and create jobs, and help struggling families get back on their feet.
"CVC is doing great work, especially in this economy. This is a win-win," Chandler said. "Not only will these tax credits help revitalize and attract new investment, but they will help bring much-needed jobs to the Commonwealth."
Kevin R. Smith, President and CEO of Community Ventures Corporation said: "In these economic times, programs like New Markets Tax Credits are critical to creating jobs and revitalizing our distressed communities. We are grateful that we will be able to assist additional Kentucky businesses and the families they support."
The New Markets Tax Credit program through the U.S. Department of the Treasury is designed to stimulate economic and community development and job creation in lower-income communities by attracting private investment.
Community Ventures Corporation, founded in 1982, is a non-profit organization with seven offices throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky. CVC often partners with state, local, and national organizations to invest in communities throughout the state, providing both business and residential services.
December 15, 2010 | Gov. Beshear launches statewide certification program for minority, women-owned businesses
|Contact Information:||Kerri Richardson|
LOUISVILLE, Ky.- Gov. Steve Beshear today announced the launch of Kentucky's first Minority and Women Business Enterprise Certification Program at Toni Levy & Associates Inc. in Louisville. The goal of the certification program is to encourage growth among Kentucky businesses owned by women and minorities and to assist those enterprises in locating and obtaining further commerce opportunities.
"My goal is to help strengthen existing Kentucky businesses, and this new program will help do just that," said Gov. Beshear. "The success of these small businesses is crucial to Kentucky growing its way out of the current economic crisis."
The Minority and Women Business Enterprise Certification Program, along with Kentucky's Small Business Connection Portal, helps facilitate the development of women and minority-owned and small businesses in Kentucky. "During this tough economy, this certification program is especially helpful for women and minority-owned businesses," said Toni Levy, owner of Toni Levy and Associates Inc. and Levy Electrical and Plumbing Supplies, both in Louisville. "It will allow women and minority businesses to have more access to opportunities within the Commonwealth of Kentucky and may help keep the doors open for some businesses. Some decision makers may not be aware of the different types of certifications available and not many of those available put an emphasis on women."
As a female and a minority, she plans to apply for the Minority and Women Business Enterprise Certification Program. "This certification program is a great opportunity for businesses owned by minorities and women, opening new doors to growth and expansion," Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson said. "It is important we continue to promote resources like this that can help Kentucky businesses flourish, even when we are faced with challenging economic times."
Interested business owners may find the application for certification on the program's website at http://mwbe.ky.gov/. The Finance and Administration Cabinet oversees the program within the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Contract Compliance.
"By assisting these employers in attaining state certification, we open new doors for business creation or expansion and that is crucial during these tough economic times when so many Kentuckians are unemployed or under employed," said Jonathan Miller, secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet.
The idea to develop a new process of recognizing and certifying businesses owned by women and minorities emerged from discussion and dialogue among the more than 300 Kentucky stakeholders who attended the Governor's Economic Success through Minority Empowerment Summit, held in Lexington, Ky. in August 2009.
December 7 | Kentucky’s Small Businesses Applying for Income Tax Credits
Contact: Danielle E. Crafton(270) 826-7505
Lockhart explained, "The KSBIC provides a nonrefundable state income tax credit between $3,500-$25,000 for small businesses that create and fill one or more eligible positions and invest $5,000 or more in qualifying equipment or technology." She went on to say, "The tax credit amount will be equal to $1,000 multiplied by the number of eligible positions plus 50 percent of the purchase price of the qualifying equipment or technology."
Lockhart then explained that businesses should apply one year after at least one new eligible position has been created/filled or one year after they have purchased $5,000 or more of qualified equipment and technology after December 31, 2009.
In order to be eligible the following must occur:
1. Increase the base employment of the business;
2. Is a newly created position in the business that has never before been filled, or is a previously created position that has been continuously vacant for a minimum of 12 months immediately prior to the hiring of an employee to fill the position;
3. Is filled by an employee subject to the Kentucky income tax;
4. Is filled by an employee working an average of 35 or more hours per week for a period of 12 months and;
5. Pays a base hourly wage including tips and commission, but excludes benefits, reimbursements and bonuses, of at least 150 percent of the federal minimum wage in effect at the time of application.
Small business applicants that meet the program requirements described above have 90 days after the eligibility date to apply and one year to be approved for a tax credit. Once the applications are submitted and fulfill the requirements, the Small Business Services Division personnel will review the KSBIC applications and supporting documentation. The highest ranked applications will then be selected for submission to the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) for final review and approval. After selection, the Small Business Services Division personnel will notify the applicant of preliminary selection for submission. If KEDFA approves a KSBIC tax credit, the Kentucky Department of Revenue will be notified that the approval business is authorized to claim a small business tax credit in the approved amount.
"Applicants should strongly consider applying for a tax credit as soon as possible after meeting eligibility requirements. Delaying the submission of an application may reduce the opportunity to receive a tax credit," emphasized Lockhart.
For a business applying for the first time, base employment is calculated on December 31 of the base year of the business, which is January 1-December 31, 2009, for businesses in existence as of January 1, 2009. For businesses started after January 1, 2009, base employment is calculated on December 31st following the first full year of operation.
Please note that any company which has received KEDFA approved loans, grants, or tax incentives that were based on job creation and/or equipment purchases cannot apply for a tax credit through this program if the eligible position(s) and/or qualifying equipment included in this application were used as the basis to claim a tax credit or financed with grant or loan under another KEDFA program.
With the KSBIC being a new program to the State, future plans for the income tax credit are indefinite. The Cabinet will review and revamp the program if necessary year after year to maintain economic growth for Kentucky's small businesses.
If you have any questions about the KSBIC program please contact Existing Business Manager, Cj Maple with Northwest Kentucky Forward at 270.826.7505 after January 3. 2011.
To view KSBIC applications online go to Northwest Kentucky Forward is a public-private partnership. For more information about Northwest Kentucky Forward and the Existing Business program:http://www.northwestky.com/
December 2, 2010 | SMALL BUSINESS GETS BOOST FROM NEIGHBORWORKS® MICROLOAN AND SMALL BUSINESS PROGRAMS
WASHINGTON, DC. - Entrepreneurs and small businesses looking to start or incrementally expand their business should look to selected NeighborWorks local community development nonprofit organizations for a variety of financial and consulting assistance as these organizations plan to strategically support economic development by offering micro and small commercial business loans in 2011.
November 15, 2010 | CVC RECOGNIZED AS LENDER OF THE YEAR
The Kentucky Small Business Administration district office has announced that Community Ventures Corporation has received Kentucky's 2010 SBA Lender of the Year award. ‘This is the tenth time in twelve years we've been able to recognize this fine organization with this award,' proclaimed Steven Ayers, Kentucky's SBA District Manager. ‘Such consistency in providing valuable resources to Kentucky's small businesses is something we need to celebrate and encourage'. ‘This is unheard of in most states where one agency dominates the landscape like CVC has done', stated Phillip Danhauer, Kentucky's SBA Chief Financial Officer. ‘It just shows how if you get the word out that there is capital to help you get started in business, you can make a significant economic difference in your community'.
‘These are troubled times for business', commented Kevin R. Smith, President and CEO of Community Ventures Corporation. ‘A chain reaction of adverse events this past year in the financial markets has put the squeeze on lenders and made it harder for businesses and consumers to get loans. Banks have tightened credit so much that many entrepreneurs are finding it difficult to capitalize on their ideas. Small business loans through CVC are being used in every sector of our economy crafting new ideas into solid business models.'
Community Ventures Corporation provides access to SBA loans of up to $50,000 to Kentucky small businesses.
‘We started our company almost thirty years ago with microloans in the forefront', continued Mr. Smith. ‘We know that small businesses drive our economic success in every city and town in the Commonwealth. We are proud to be part of that success'.
In addition, CVC's Robert Heil, Director of Small Business Development - Louisville was recognized as a Kentucky's All Star Lender for 2010.
Community Ventures Corporation is headquartered in Lexington with regional offices in Bowling Green, Campbellsville, Frankfort, Henderson, Louisville and Paris. Interested parties may contact any of the offices or call 1-800-299-0267 for immediate connection to their local office. Additional information may be found at http://www.communityventurescorporation.org/.
November 10, 2010 | COMMUNITY VENTURES CORPORATION WELCOMEDAS MEMBER OF THE FHLBANK CINCINNATI
CINCINNATI, OHIO- Community Ventures Corporation of Lexington, Kentucky, has been approved for membership at the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati (FHLBank). Community Ventures Corporation is the first community development financial institution (CDFI) to join the FHLBank since Congress approved CDFI membership in 2008. "Achieving FHLBank membership is a significant milestone for Community Ventures Corporation," said Kevin R. Smith, President and CEO.
In January 2010, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) implemented provisions of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) that permitted qualifying CDFIs to become members of a Federal Home Loan Bank. CDFIs are private nonprofit and for-profit financial institutions that provide financial services to advance economic development and community revitalization in underserved markets. Membership in the FHLBank provides Community Ventures Corporation, with a source of low-cost funding to supports its community development initiatives, as well as access to funds from the FHLBank's Affordable Housing Program. "Membership for CDFIs is important to our mission of supporting community development," said David Hehman, CEO of the FHLBank. "We're pleased to have Community Ventures Corporation as a member of the FHLBank."
About Community Ventures Corporation
Community Ventures Corporation (CVC) is a community-based, non-profit organization that exists to improve the quality of life for urban and rural residents throughout Kentucky. CVC's central mission is to provide individuals and families with the skills, income, and assets they need to achieve financial independence. CVC helps people increase income and build assets with three main strategies: small business ownership, home ownership, and job creation through business expansion. Learn more at http://www.communityventurescorporation.org/
About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati
The FHLBank is a $66 billion congressionally-chartered wholesale regional bank providing financial services for residential housing and economic development to 732 member financial institutions located in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee. It has contributed $350 million for the creation of 52,000 units of lower-income housing through its congressionally mandated Affordable Housing Program since 1990. An additional $18.6 million has been allocated for voluntary programs to benefit minority homebuyers, those displaced by natural disasters, home buyers with special needs and homeowners at risk of foreclosures. This year $1 million was allocated to the Carol M. Peterson Housing Fund to help buildwheelchair ramps for homeowners in the Fifth District. The FHLBank System includes 12 district Banks, is wholly owned by its 8,100 member institution stockholders and does not use taxpayer dollars.
Melissa Dallas, FHLBank Cincinnati
513-852-7084 (office) or 513-509-6457 (cell)
Garry Throckmorton, Community Ventures Corporation
October 28, 2010 | Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan Announces Microloan Funding to Boost Business Lending, Job Creation & Provide Off-Farm Income
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today announced that USDA has selected recipients in 36 states to receive funds to make loans to boost small business development, create jobs, and strengthen rural communities. The Deputy Secretary made the announcement in Lexington, Kentucky, with one of the recipients. The funding is being provided through the Rural Microentreprenuer Assistance Program (RMAP), which was authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill).
October 4, 2010 | SBA Releases Final Women-Owned Small Business Rule to Expand Access to Federal Contracting Opportunities
Release Date: October 4, 2010
Contact: Hayley Matz (202) 205-6948
Release Number: 10-55
Internet Address: http://www.sba.gov/news
New program will be available in early 2011 for small, women-owned firms
WASHINGTON – With the publication today of a final rule in the Federal Register, the U.S. Small Business Administration will begin implementation of its women-owned small business (WOSB) contracting program. The agency expects the program to be available for WOSBs in early 2011.
The rule is part of the Obama Administration’s overall commitment to expanding opportunities for small businesses to compete for federal contracts, in particular those owned by women, socially and economically disadvantaged persons and veterans. This rule identifies 83 industries in which WOSBs are under-represented or substantially under-represented in the federal contract marketplace. In addition to opening up more opportunities for WOSBs, the rule is also another tool to help achieve the statutory goal that 5 percent of federal contracting dollars go to women-owned small businesses.
“Women-owned businesses are one of the fastest growing sectors of our nation’s economy, and even during the economic downturn of the last few years, have been one of the key job creation engines in communities across the country,” SBA Administrator Karen Mills said.
“Federal contracts provide critical opportunities for owners of small firms to take their business to the next level and create good-paying jobs,” Mills added. “Despite their growth and the fact that women lead some of the strongest and most innovative companies, women-owned firms continue to be under-represented in the federal contracting marketplace. This rule will be a platform for changing that by providing greater opportunities for women-owned small businesses to compete for and win federal contracts.”
With the publication today of the final rule, SBA, in conjunction with the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council, will begin a 120-day implementation of the WOSB contracting program, including building the technology and program infrastructure to support the certification process and ongoing oversight. With implementation expected to take several months, the agency expects that federal agencies’ contracting officers will be able to start making contracts available to WOSBs under the program in early 2011.
The creation of a rule to increase federal contracting opportunities for WOSBs was authorized by Congress in 2000. Since that time, SBA took a number of steps to study and analyze the market, including looking at participation by women-owned small businesses across all industries. Various draft rules were made available for public comment in prior years, but shortly after taking office the Obama Administration drafted a new, comprehensive rule, based on the analysis of the prior studies and on all the questions and comments previously received. The proposed rule was published for public comment on March 2, 2010 for 60 days. SBA received over 1,000 comments during that time.
Some of the components of the Women-Owned Small Business rule include:
• To be eligible, a firm must be 51 percent owned and controlled by one or more women, and primarily managed by one or more women. The women must be U.S. citizens. The firm must be “small” in its primary industry in accordance with SBA’s size standards for that industry. In order for a WOSB to be deemed “economically disadvantaged,” its owners must demonstrate economic disadvantage in accordance with the requirements set forth in the final rule.
• Based upon the analysis in a study commissioned by the SBA from the Kauffman-RAND Foundation, the final rule identifies 83 industries (identified by “NAICS” codes) in which women-owned small businesses are under-represented or substantially under-represented in federal procurements.
o The SBA has identified eligible industries based upon the combination of both the “share of contracting dollars” analysis, as well as the “share of number of contracts awarded” analysis used in the RAND study. This differs from an earlier proposed version of the rule which identified only four industries in which women-owned small businesses were under-represented. This earlier version proposed to identify eligible industries based solely on the “share of contracting dollars” analysis used in the RAND study.
• In accordance with the statute, the final rule authorizes a set-aside of federal contracts for WOSBs where the anticipated contract price does not exceed $5 million in the case of manufacturing contracts and $3 million in the case of other contracts. Contracts with values in excess of these limits are not subject to set-aside under this program.
• The final rule removes the requirement, set forth in a prior proposed version, that each federal agency certify that it had engaged in discrimination against women-owned small businesses in order for the program to apply to contracting by that agency.
• The proposed rule allows women-owned small businesses to self-certify as “WOSBs” or to be certified by third-party certifiers, including government entities and private certification groups.
o The final rule requires WOSBs which self-certify to submit a robust certification verification, to complete the certifications at the federal Online Representation and Certification Application (“ORCA”) Web site, and also to submit a core set of eligibility-related documents to an online “document repository” to be maintained
by the SBA. Each agency’s contracting officers will have full access to this repository.
o The SBA intends to engage in a significant number of program examinations to confirm eligibility of individual WOSBs.
o In the event of a contract protest or program review, the SBA has the authority to request substantial additional documentation from the WOSB to establish eligibility.
o SBA intends to pursue vigorously punitive action against ineligible firms which seek to take advantage of this program and in so doing to deny its benefits to the intended legitimate WOSBs.
September 24, 2010 | SMALL BUSINESSES WIN!
by Community Ventures Corporation on Friday, September 24, 2010 at 11:51am
Yesterday brought hard working small businesses good news in this tough economy. With the final passage the Small Business Jobs Act, H.R. 5297, Congress has made it possible for dynamic entrepreneurship and creative economic development to take off and move us toward a healthy economy. The Small Business Jobs Act will cut taxes and get credit flowing again. Small business owners will have the means to now grow their businesses and start hiring workers again. A big win included in this legislation is an increase in the Microloan amount from $35,000 up to $50,000. More dollars means there's more room for businesses to grow. Additionally, the Small Business Jobs Package creates a Small Business Lending Fund at the Treasury Department that provides access to capital for CDFI Loan Funds and State Capital Access Programs (SCAP), which provides a whopping $30 billion in access to capital for small business owners. Taking a closer look, this means that $300 million will go to CDFI loan funds, $1.5 billion will be directed to SCAP grant programs, and the rest will go to community banks that do small business lending.
August 26, 2010 | THERE ARE STEPS HOMEOWNERS CAN TAKE TO EASE THE PAIN OF FORECLOSURE – OR AVOID IT COMPLETELY.
Know the true cost of your loan
Is the monthly payment you're quoted a PITI, meaning it includes property taxes and mortgage insurance? Sometimes the monthly payment that a lender quotes you might not include these other fees, artificially deflating what you will owe.
Avoid adjustable rates
A low interest rate the first few months means lower payments until the mortgage adjusts. What a buyer thought they could afford, it turns out a few months later, they can't.
"With Latinos we find many more cases of deceptive lending and use of teaser rates that mask the true terms of the mortgage," says Richard Kahn, author of "Winning Against Foreclosure." "Once they are in the mortgage, they can afford the payments until the adjustment."
Understand what you sign
If you need more time to read through mortgage terms, or you need a copy in your native language so that you can better understand the fine print, then don't hesitate to ask.
The laws that require people who don't speak English fluently to have exact full duplicates of documentation in their native language are rarely complied with, says Kahn, who is also a Miami-based mortgage fraud expert witness through Forensic Professionals Group USA.
Predatory lending is also as much at the forefront in the African American community as it is with Latinos, he says.
"I don't know if it is that these folks are more trusting, less educated, less serious about protecting themselves from predatory lending or what. It is difficult to say after the fact. We are a forensic firm that looks into the paperwork, not the borrower's individual stories," he says. "The one common denominator we see is wholesale deception, deceit and misrepresentation on these folks especially."
Avoiding scams and finding help
"It seems that the Latino and African American loans we look at are as if the lenders had no fear at all of misrepresenting the mortgages and not following the federal rules. Foreclosure is the exit strategy." This means that desperate homeowners are more vulnerable to foreclosure rescue scams.
"The sooner that a homeowner believes they may be in danger of foreclosure, even before they miss a payment, they should go see a credit counselor first," says Erin M. Angell Collins, spokesperson for NeighborWorks America, the Congress-created nonprofit that runs the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program. "I urge homeowners who have been especially hit hard to go to foreclosurecounselor.org and to look up housing counseling agencies in your community," she says.
University of Chicago systems administrator Vanessa Matthews, 49, sought counseling with such a program, a "Fix Your Mortgage" foreclosure-prevention program, after talks with her lender, Ocwen Financial.
Not long after homeowner Matthews separated from her husband, she experienced economic hardship. Not only had she lost the second income, which had helped pay the $2,539 PITI mortgage payment on their Bronzeville duplex, but her mother, who was renting the first-floor unit from her, lost her job and couldn't pay the rent.
"Things had gotten pretty bad," says Matthews, who purchased her home seven years ago with a mortgage amount of about $250,000. "It was unbelievable to me that the banks weren't willing to work with me. I had never been late on my mortgage." Losing her home would have meant she, as well as her three teen-age foster children and her mother, would have been displaced.
Post by NewsOne Staff in Nation on Aug 26, 2010 at 1:52 pm
August 12, 2010 | Obama Administration To Provide $3B In Housing Aid
Post by NewsOne Staff on Aug 12, 2010 at 8:00 am
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is providing $3 billion to unemployed homeowners facing foreclosure in the nation's toughest job markets.
July 28, 2010 | National PSA Campaign to Raise Awareness of Making Home Affordable Program
Campaign features real homeowners that are among the over one million Americans who have benefited from the program
NEW YORK, NY - The Advertising Council, in partnership with the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), announced today the launch of a national public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to encourage homeowners who are struggling with their monthly mortgage payments to learn about the Making Home Affordable Program. While over one million homeowners have already received assistance from the program, the national campaign encourages other struggling homeowners who may be eligible for assistance to reach out for the help they need through free resources made available by the Federal Government. The PSAs direct homeowners to visit MakingHomeAffordable.gov or call 1-888-995-HOPE (4673) to see if they may be eligible for assistance to make their mortgage payments more affordable and to understand options they may have to avoid foreclosure.
Created pro bono by The Kaplan Thaler Group, a New York-based advertising agency, the new campaign is available in English and Spanish and features real homeowners from across the country who have benefited from the program.
"Even though the economy is getting stronger, many Americans are still facing the fear and uncertainty of losing their home to foreclosure," said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. "The Administration's loan modification programs have given more than a million responsible homeowners a chance to stay in their homes, and we want to do all we can to help make sure that struggling homeowners know about these free resources for help."
"Many responsible borrowers continue to face challenges due to unemployment, negative equity or because of soaring utility payments," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "These public service announcements will help us to reach at-risk borrowers now, while they are still current on their payments and eligible to receive help through the Making Home Affordable Program or our expanded options for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) refinancing."
"We are proud to partner with the Treasury and HUD on this critical campaign to educate Americans about free resources available to help them prevent foreclosures," said Peggy Conlon, President and CEO, the Ad Council. "We hope Americans who are struggling will be empowered by these compelling PSAs and take simple actions to help them stay in their homes."
The Ad Council will distribute the new PSAs to more than 33,000 media outlets nationwide. The campaign includes television, radio, print, out of home and web advertising. The PSAs will air in advertising space donated by the media.
The Making Home Affordable Program was launched in February 2009 to help homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure through no fault of their own make their monthly mortgage payments more affordable. Since then, more than 1.5 million homeowners have been offered help under the program, and almost 1.3 million homeowners have started a trial plan. Homeowners in permanent modifications under the program have a median monthly savings of over $500 each month or about one-third of their previous payment.
Any homeowner who is struggling with their mortgage is encouraged to visit MakingHomeAffordable.gov or call 1-888-995-HOPE (4673) to learn about options they may have and to speak with a HUD-approved housing counselor for free.
To view the PSAs, visit the link below.
The Advertising Council
The Ad Council (http://www.adcouncil.org/) is a private, non-profit organization that marshals talent from the advertising and communications industries, the facilities of the media and the resources of the business and non-profit communities to produce, distribute and promote public service campaigns on behalf of non-profit organizations and government agencies. The Ad Council addresses issue areas such as improving the quality of life for children, preventive health, education, community well-being, environmental preservation and strengthening families.
August 9, 2010 | Quarterly PEAK Educational Workshops...The event will take place on Thursday, August 19 at 12:30 pm local time at Community Ventures
In keeping with PEAK's mission to advance microenterprise development in Kentucky and to provide information and networking opportunities to organizations that support and encourage microenterprises, PEAK's executive committee is proud to host a series of quarterly educational and networking workshops.
The sessions are free for all PEAK members. For non-PEAK members, the cost to attend is $20.00.
Information about the next upcoming session:
Date: August 19, 2010
Location: Community Ventures Corp.
1450 North Broadway
Lexington, KY 40505
Session 1 (12:30-1:30): Exporting Opportunities for Microenterprises presented by Jeanine Duncliffe with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development's International Trade Division
Session 2 (1:45-2:45):
Social Media Opportunities for Microenterprises presented by Scott Clark of BuzzMaven Labs
For additional information or to register, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
August 3, 2010 | Farmers markets move closer to urban residents
Merlene Davis - Herald-Leader columnist
Two small farmers markets are attempting to address the needs of the elderly and those who lack transportation by placing themselves on the east and west sides of downtown Lexington.
The markets, one that has been in operation for a month and one that will start Saturday, are in areas of limited availability of fresh produce.
The Bluegrass Farmers Market operates one in the parking lot of the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, 650 Newtown Pike, from 3 to 6 p.m. Thursdays.'); }
Doraine Bailey, site coordinator for that farmers market, said this is the second year that residents have been able to buy fresh produce, jellies and jams at that site.
This year, the market opened July 1 with a couple of farmers and will continue until frost, usually some time in October.
"The produce is grown by the people who are standing behind the table," Bailey said. "It is their stuff from their farm."
That information can reduce some of the unknowns associated with E. coli outbreaks and the recall of large quantities of produce in order to zero in on the bacteria's source, she said. And, obviously, having the farmer living in Fayette and nearby counties means the produce will be fresher than that found in supermarkets.
Unfortunately, that might also mean that the produce will cost a little more.
"When we established the farmers market last year, cost was a complaint," Bailey said. But, she said, vendors at all formal farmers markets will accept vouchers for produce issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the WIC program, geared to pregnant women and children 5 and younger, and through the Commodity Supplemental Food Program for senior citizens.
If you establish a relationship with a farmer, you can ask for seconds or blemished produce at a discount price, Bailey said.
"If you are making pickles, you don't need perfect cucumbers," she said. "You are cutting them up anyway."
Because the items are grown locally, the variety won't be the same as that found in stores, Bailey said. Only items in season will be available.
"Last week we had melons and lots of summer squash and cucumbers, banana peppers, green beans and heirloom variety of tomatoes," she said. "Pink, golden and orange."
The newest farmers market, an official designation granted by the agriculture department after certain criteria are met, will open at 8 a.m. Saturday at the pavilion behind Third Street Exchange, 560 East Third Street.
James Coles, executive vice president of the Lexington office of Community Ventures Corp., said he expects at least four farmers at the East End Community Market this weekend.
The market is a result of studies conducted in the East End Small Area Plan, he said. Several agencies have explored the needs of the East End and Third Street corridor, which is seen as a "health food desert," said Coles, who grew up in the area.
One barrier to fresh produce is transportation to fully stocked groceries or to other farmers markets, Coles said.
"This is the community driving this market," he said. "We are facilitating this."
The farmers who have signed on use the organic sustainability approach to farming, which means they are looking at the overall financial cost for their work, for the consumer and for the environment, he said.
"What that means is the market, hopefully, will be as competitive as what you get from the grocer," Coles said. "But I don't know. This is our first one."
The farmers understand the need and the demographics and earning power in the East End, he said. Most of the farmers work five-acre farms.
"It is a small, needful community and small, needful farmers," he said. "Hopefully this market will provide for the needs of both."
Because the area is changing, the data gleaned from this venture will better determine the cash economy of the area and what the community will bear, Coles said.
Help the farmers and help yourself by buying and eating some of their locally grown produce.
Reach Merlene Davis at (859) 231-3218 (859) 231-3218 or 1-800-950-6397 Ext. 3218, or email@example.com.
Read more: http://www.kentucky.com/2010/08/03/1373869/merlene-davis-farmers-markets.html#ixzz0wsCm8OWJ
June 4, 2010 / Community Ventures Corporation Salutes National Homeownership Month
[Lexington, KY] - This month, Community Ventures Corporation is saluting National Homeownership Month by providing education and counseling to promote long-term affordable homeownership throughout Kentucky."This is one of the best times to buy a home with low interest rates, affordability for low- to middle-income families has never been better," stated Kevin R. Smith, CVC's President & CEO.
Community Ventures Corporation provides homeownership classes in English and Spanish through eHome America. Customers access the nation's premier home buyer education program by going to http://www.ehomeamerica.org/.
Homeownership education helps homebuyers by working with them to:
- Assess their financial situation and determine if their financial house is in order.
- Decide how much home they can afford, in terms of cost and size.
- Understand responsible home financing and which loan products are most appropriate.
- Learn how to adequately maintain a home after purchase.
While June is the designated month for celebrating Homeownership Month, Community Ventures Corporation provides homebuyer education 24/7 as well as education and services spanning personal finance, mortgage lending, and small business start-up and business expansion all year long.
As a member of the NeighborWorks® network, Community Ventures Corporation has supported and encouraged affordable and long-term homeownership. CVC is committed to getting the right information in the hands of potential homeowners so that they achieve the American Dream of homeownership.For more information about sustainable homeownership and homeownership programs, visit http://www.communityventurescorporation.org/ or contact Keysha Cuyler, firstname.lastname@example.org, 859-231-0054.