One of the most important aspects of economics in the African American community is Social Security. According to the research of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM), about 75 percent of the African American beneficiaries are dependent on Social Security for at least half of their income and 40 percent of them rely on it for all of their income. To learn more about the impact of Social Security on African Americans listen to the podcast of my Economic Perspectives interview with Max Richtman, President of NCPSSM: Max Richtman Interview.
Posted by Hopeton on November 16, 2012
Enclosed are the remarks of President Barack Obama from a press conference on November 9.
Well, good afternoon, everybody. Now that those of us on the campaign trail have had a chance to get a little sleep, it’s time to get back to work. And there is plenty of work to do.
As I said on Tuesday night, the American people voted for action, not politics as usual. You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in that spirit, I’ve invited leaders of both parties to the White House next week, so we can start to build consensus around the challenges that we can only solve together. And I also intend to bring in business and labor and civic leaders from all across the country here to Washington to get their ideas and input as well.
At a time when our economy is still recovering from the Great Recession, our top priority has to be jobs and growth. That’s the focus of the plan I talked about during the campaign. It’s a plan to reward small businesses and manufacturers that create jobs here, not overseas. It’s a plan to give people the chance to get the education and training that businesses are looking for right now. It’s a plan to make sure this country is a global leader in research and technology and clean energy, which will attract new companies and high-wage jobs to America. It’s a plan to put folks back to work, including our veterans, rebuilding our roads and our bridges, and other infrastructure. And it’s a plan to reduce our deficit in a balanced and responsible way.
Our work is made that much more urgent because at the end of this year, we face a series of deadlines that require us to make major decisions about how to pay our deficit down — decisions that will have a huge impact on the economy and the middle class, both now and in the future. Last year, I worked with Democrats and Republicans to cut a trillion dollars’ worth of spending that we just couldn’t afford. I intend to work with both parties to do more — and that includes making reforms that will bring down the cost of health care so we can strengthen programs like Medicaid and Medicare for the long haul.
But as I’ve said before, we can’t just cut our way to prosperity. If we’re serious about reducing the deficit, we have to combine spending cuts with revenue — and that means asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more in taxes. That’s how we did it in the 1990s, when Bill Clinton was President. That’s how we can reduce the deficit while still making the investments we need to build a strong middle class and a strong economy. That’s the only way we can still afford to train our workers, or help our kids pay for college, or make sure that good jobs in clean energy or high-tech manufacturing don’t end up in countries like China.
Now, already, I’ve put forward a detailed plan that allows us to make these investments while reducing our deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade. I want to be clear — I’m not wedded to every detail of my plan. I’m open to compromise. I’m open to new ideas. I’m committed to solving our fiscal challenges. But I refuse to accept any approach that isn’t balanced. I am not going to ask students and seniors and middle-class families to pay down the entire deficit while people like me, making over $250,000, aren’t asked to pay a dime more in taxes. I’m not going to do that.
And I just want to point out this was a central question during the election. It was debated over and over again. And on Tuesday night, we found out that the majority of Americans agree with my approach — and that includes Democrats, independents, and a lot of Republicans across the country, as well as independent economists and budget experts. That’s how you reduce the deficit — with a balanced approach.
So our job now is to get a majority in Congress to reflect the will of the American people. And I believe we can get that majority. I was encouraged to hear Speaker Boehner agree that tax revenue has to be part of this equation — so I look forward to hearing his ideas when I see him next week.
And let me make one final point that every American needs to hear. Right now, if Congress fails to come to an agreement on an overall deficit reduction package by the end of the year, everybody’s taxes will automatically go up on January 1st — everybody’s — including the 98 percent of Americans who make less than $250,000 a year. And that makes no sense. It would be bad for the economy and would hit families that are already struggling to make ends meet.
Now, fortunately, we shouldn’t need long negotiations or drama to solve that part of the problem. While there may be disagreement in Congress over whether or not to raise taxes on folks making over $250,000 a year, nobody — not Republicans, not Democrats — want taxes to go up for folks making under $250,000 a year. So let’s not wait. Even as we’re negotiating a broader deficit reduction package, let’s extend the middle-class tax cuts right now. Let’s do that right now.
That one step — that one step — would give millions of families — 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small businesses — the certainty that they need going into the new year. It would immediately take a huge chunk of the economic uncertainty off the table, and that will lead to new jobs and faster growth. Business will know that consumers, they’re not going to see a big tax increase. They’ll know that most small businesses won’t see a tax increase. And so a lot of the uncertainty that you’re reading about, that will be removed.
In fact, the Senate has already passed a bill doing exactly this, so all we need is action from the House. And I’ve got the pen ready to sign the bill right away. I’m ready to do it. I’m ready to do it.
The American people understand that we’re going to have differences and disagreements in the months to come. They get that. But on Tuesday, they said loud and clear that they won’t tolerate dysfunction. They won’t tolerate politicians who view compromise as a dirty word. Not when so many Americans are still out of work. Not when so many families and small business owners are still struggling to pay the bills.
What the American people are looking for is cooperation. They’re looking for consensus. They’re looking for common sense. Most of all, they want action. I intend to deliver for them in my second term, and I expect to find willing partners in both parties to make that happen. So let’s get to work.
Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.
Posted by Hopeton on September 9, 2012
Dr. Elsie Echeverri-Carroll and Dr. Bruce Kellison will discuss The Survey of Texas Hispanic-Owned Businesses with Paid Employees on the September 10 Economic Perspectives at 5:30 p.m. CT. Echeverri-Carroll and Kellison are researchers at The University of Texas at Austin Bureau of Business Research. Enclosed below is the press release announcing the survey results.
The two most critical challenges for Hispanic-owned businesses to grow are overcoming a lack of training in management and communication skills and gaining better access to markets, according to new research of Hispanic-owned businesses in Texas from The University of Texas at Austin. The study provides a fresh look at the challenges these mostly small businesses face.
The “Survey of Texas Hispanic-owned Businesses with Paid Employees”was producedby the university’s Bureau of Business Research (BBR) for the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC). The report findings are being presented today at the TAMACC annual meeting in San Antonio by the Bureau’s Bruce Kellison and Elsie Echeverri-Carroll, the principal investigators.
The university invested $155,000 in the survey through the Herb Kelleher Center at the McCombs School of Business and the Office of the President of The University of Texas at Austin. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation also funded the survey.
“We were pleased to help the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce in studying this important economic issue,” said university President Bill Powers. “A better understanding of the challenges faced by Texas’ Hispanic businesses will allow TAMACC to identify strategies to help these businesses grow and help create jobs and new opportunity in Texas.”
“We’re paying attention to this demographic because Hispanic-owned businesses create jobs for Texans, and their ability to scale is critical to the Texas economy,” said McCombs Dean Tom Gilligan.
The survey is based on the results of a mail survey of 2,811 Texas-based Hispanic businesses with paid employees conducted between July 2011 and August 2012. Findings include:
Most Hispanic-owned businesses in Texas start small and stay small even after many years of operation.
- Forty-seven percent of Hispanic businesses with paid employees have between 1 and 4 employees, and 73 percent have fewer than 25 employees.
- Eighty percent of young firms (5 years or younger) have fewer than 10 employees, while 66 percent of mature firms (16 years or older) still have fewer than 10 employees.
Hispanic business owners have high educational attainment.
- Hispanic owners of businesses with paid employees have higher educational achievements than the general Hispanic population: 77 percent of the employers have some kind of post-high-school education, compared with 34 percent of Texas Hispanics in general over the age of 25.
- Hispanic entrepreneurs also have many years of business experience; 56 percent of respondents have more than 20 years of business experience in their current business.
- Many of the Hispanic business owners indicated that their employees need training, particularly in team management and leadership (24 percent), business/customer relations (16 percent) and written and oral communication (14 percent).
Promoting Hispanic business ownership can increase Hispanic employment.
- More than 80 percent of the respondents indicated that they hire mainly Hispanics or an equal number of Hispanics and non-Hispanics. These findings are in line with previous census results that show business owners tend to hire more employees in their own ethnic groups.
Hispanic business owners feel they have less access to private and public market opportunities.
- A larger percentage of respondents agree that they do not have equal access to government and private sector customers than disagree with such statements. Moreover, while 34 percent of respondents agree that they do not have equal opportunities in the private sector, a much larger proportion — 49 percent — agree that they do not have equal opportunities in the public sector.
“The information provided has yielded valuable insights, and we hope that this report will be useful to the survey participants as well as to other business owners who plan to start or expand their businesses,” said Echeverri-Carroll, one of the study’s principal investigators. “The Bureau of Business Research at The University of Texas at Austin is pleased to have produced this study in order to help Hispanic business owners succeed and continue to contribute vital strength to the Texas economy.”
Economic Perspectives Guests Discuss The African American Chambers of Commerce Convention and The World’s Most Powerful Women
Posted by Hopeton on August 26, 2012
The guests on Monday evening’s edition of Economic Perspectives are Jim Wyatt, president of the Texas Association of African American Chambers of Commerce and Moira Forbes, publisher of ForbesWoman. Listen live on KAZI 88.7 FM in Austin, TX or online at kazifm.org.
Wyatt will discuss the upcoming TAAACC Annual Convention being held September 13-15 in Austin, Texas. More information on the convention is available at taaacc.org.
Moira Forbes will discuss ForbesWoman’s Annual List of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women. The list this year is topped by Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel. Following Merkel, the top 5 include Secretary of State Hilary Clinton (2), Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff (3). Melinda Gates (4), co-chairman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Jill Abramson (5), executive editor of The New York Times. For a complete list click here: http://www.forbes.com/power-women/.
Other notable members of the list include First Lady Michelle Obama (7), Sheryl Sandberg (10), COO of Facebook; media mogul Oprah Winfrey (11), singer Lady Gaga (14), and Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox.
Moira Forbes is publisher of ForbesWoman, a multi-media platform serving successful women in business and leadership. Representing four generations of publishers, Moira joined Forbes in 2001 in its London office. She graduated from Princeton University.
Posted by Hopeton on August 26, 2012
What are the defining traits crucial for a leader to build a business? According to the research conducted by venture capitalist Anthony Tjan and his co-authors Richard Harrington and Tsun-Yan Hsieh, heart, smarts, guts and luck are the attributes that all successful business leaders share. Tjian shares these insights and others on the Monday morning edition of Economic Perspectives at 7:30 a.m. CT on KAZI 88.7 FM. Listen live online at kazifm.org.
Anthony K. Tjan (Tony) is the co-author of Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck: What It Takes to Be an Entrepreneur and Build a Great Business. Tjan is Managing Partner of Cue Ball, a venture capital firm based in Boston. Most recently, Tony was Senior Partner at The Parthenon Group, a leading strategic advisory firm where he continues as its Vice Chairman. He spent seven years as a special strategic advisor to The Thomson Corporation, and its then CEO, Richard Harrington (now his Partner at Cue Ball). At Thomson, he played a key role working alongside the CEO on its transformational growth strategy. In 1996, Tony founded and was CEO of the Internet services firm ZEFER, a pioneer in early commercial web initiatives. Tony started his career with McKinsey & Company and holds his AB and MBA degrees from Harvard University. He was also a Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Tony sits on several boards, is a contributor to Harvard Business Review, and is on the Editorial Advisory Board of MIT Tech Review.
Posted by Hopeton on August 18, 2012
Small business lending was the topic of discussion on the August 13 Monday Morning Edition of Economic Perspectives. Rosa Rios-Valdez talked about how to get a small business loan from the community development financial institution she founded, BCL of Texas. To listen to the interview with her click here: Rosa Rios Valdez Interview.
BCL of Texas (formally CEN-TEX CDC) was formed in 1990 at the invitation of the SBA San Antonio District office to make commercial real estate loans for established central Texas businesses. Our first loan was to Juan Portillo, who purchased an office building for his business, Tramex Travel. Sixteen years later Tramex Travel continues to grow. To meet customer requests, BCL has expanded its products and services. BCL became a statewide organization in 2004 and filed our dba (doing business as) Business & Community Lenders of Texas.
Posted by Hopeton on August 10, 2012
Peter Drucker once said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” If that statement is true, then Travis Benford just might just be the next Nostradamus. He is building a future to ﬁt his vision. Moreover, he is building a future full of hope and opportunity for his team and his community.
Travis was a car salesman for the 14 years prior to opening Blue Light Integrated Services. He recalled the salesman experience fondly, but remarked that the hours kept him from his family for too long at times. The rewards were good, but there weren’t many opportunities for long term development. Travis knew he wanted to be his own boss someday. He wanted to do something that would allow more time to spend with his family and provide unlimited potential for growth.
Blue Light Integrated Services, a sales call center handling everything from Dish Network to security systems to home repair services, didn’t just spring up from nowhere. Travis worked hard to turn his dream into a reality. A turning point in this process came when he sought out a business coach at Business & Community Lenders (BCL) of Texas. Travis said that at first it was difﬁcult to ﬁnd time to go to the meetings and classes while working. “It was really tough to make all of those obligations work together, but I knew I had to go,” he said. To be a successful entrepreneur, Travis noted, you have to surround yourself with like-minded individuals. At a Biz Aid orientation class Travis met one such like-minded individual named Carlos Vasquez. Carlos is the Business Development Analyst for BCL of Texas. Carlos is there to help people like Travis transition from traditional employee to successful entrepreneur. He and Travis started speaking and found that there were a lot of ways that Carlos could help.
Travis was beginning to get frustrated with the process of starting a business. Finding ﬁnancing and office space, hiring people, getting the appropriate legal documents: all of these prerequisites to getting a new business off the ground seemed hidden behind unreasonable expectations.
“The banks couldn’t understand that I was going to start this business and work full time there,” Travis said when asked about this aspect of the process. “I was concentrating all of my effort to make that work. I had a little seed funding from my family, but the banks wanted us to show that there was no chance of default by offering my family’s income as collateral. It was just unreasonable.”
Carlos was able to help Travis overcome most of his major obstacles. Carlos and Travis worked together to get funding and ﬁnd an ofﬁce space that worked. As of now, Blue Light Integrated Services is well above the sales goals that they set out in Travis’s business plan. The business operates out of a great ofﬁce location that also houses their call center. In less than 6 months since beginning this venture, Mr. Benford has hired thirteen other staff members to keep up with all the demand coming through the 7703 N. Lamar Blvd ofﬁce.
“We are doing great. Right now we are expanding our products and services. We sell commercial TVs now to meet small businesses needs all across the nation,” Travis said. “We have almost outgrown our current space! We are one of a very small group that Dish has approved to sell nationwide. Sometimes the hours are still very long, but I couldn’t be happier.”
For a free business counseling session from BCL of Texas call (512)912-9191.
Posted by Hopeton on August 5, 2012
On EQ, the new segment on Economic Perspectives, Joah Spearman interviews Ericka
Herod aka DJ I Wanna Be Her about pursuing your passions. Ericka is a designer, DJ, and fasion maven in Austin, Texas. Listen to Joah’s interview at 5:50 p.m. CT on Economic Perspectives on KAZI 88.7 FM or live online at kazifm.org.
Joah Spearman is the co-founder and executive producer of Style X, SXSW’s official style showcase
Posted by Hopeton on April 3, 2012
Bite-Sized Financial Education for Small Business Owners Seeking Capital
Looking for money to help your business grow? Lenders across the board will tell you to be familiar with the 5 C’s of funding: costs, collateral, credit, capital and capacity.
Costs refer to the “project costs,” or the detailed expenses related to growing your business. This can refer to working capital needs for rent, staffing & benefits, utility expenses, shipping costs, property taxes, office supplies, and any other costs related to the day-to-day operations of your business. Working capital can also be used to cover current costs while waiting for payment from your customers for work already completed. Another type of project cost is furniture, fixtures & equipment, which includes any machinery needed to create or package your product, or any other movable items used in your business location. Project costs also might include the purchase of real estate, either in the purchase of an existing building or land, or construction costs related to building the business location of your dreams.
Before approaching your bank or community lender, create your business wish list and consider in detail what the funding will allow you to accomplish. Are you looking to hire additional help? If so, what will you pay them? Will you offer benefits? Don’t forget to account for employment taxes. Consider safety training, uniforms, and other ancillary costs as well.
Lenders will expect you to have done your research. Their consideration of your preparedness goes a long way toward approval, and allows them to be more flexible while working with you.
Collateral refers to the security pledged by the borrower as insurance against a loss for the lender. This can take the form of equity, property, cash reserves, equipment, or any other item of value for which the lender can claim ownership in the event of a loan default. Often, as in the case of real estate lending, the collateral is created with the loan funds.
When seeking a loan, you’ll want to be prepared to match dollar for dollar your collateral, or business asset value, to the amount of the loan request. The collateral accepted by a lender can vary widely, but often a lender will require enough to cover the amount of the loan and a little extra. In the event that collateral is not available, personal guarantees may be acceptable. There are even certain SBA-programs that will provide a government guarantee for a portion of the loan, without the need for the borrower to cover that amount with collateral.
Although finding collateral can often be an obstacle for a struggling small business owner, lenders will rarely take the on the risk of losing money if the borrower defaults. It is important to show that you are willing to take on the risk of your business by providing a hedge against a loss. Be wary of private lenders that require little to no collateral, as they will often take advantage with sky-high interest rates and hidden fees. Coming up short on business collateral? Look at pledging personal assets, such as a vehicle, investment funds, or other property.
Credit is a buzzword these days, as many home and business owners faced the music of ruined credit scores after the recession. Those with little to no credit experienced difficulty building it from scratch when lenders tightened up their standards and raised the bar, excluding borrowers with low to moderate credit scores from consideration.
Building the credit of a business is a long-term priority, and something to consider from the earliest stages. For most small business owners, personal credit scores of all borrowers are what most lenders examine when considering a business capital loan. Missed or late payments, past defaults, bankruptcies and maxed out credit cards are all warning signs that show up on a credit report and can lower the overall score of the applicant. Here’s a tip to boost your score: Pay all revolving debts, such as credit cards, and installation debts, such as loans, on time each month. This accounts for 35% of your credit score.
Every individual is entitled to a free credit report each year, and your personal credit report should be pulled and examined on an annual basis for accuracy. Mistakes can sometimes be found and corrected through the credit bureaus before they hurt your credit score. Poor credit can be repaired, and there are many non-profits that offer services to assist this pursuit.
Capital is the amount of money your business has accumulated as a result of the production of goods or services. It is this need for capital reserves that prevents many start-ups from finding the funding they need to grow, as they have not yet had time to build up profits.
Just as you need a down payment for a house, a small business loan will also require a down payment, called a capital or equity injection. Planning on growing your business? Here’s a tip: Start saving your money today. Be prepared for your small business to put up 15-20% of the requested loan amount.
Lenders and investors will expect you to have taken personal risk (i.e. used personal funds) to establish the business before asking them to commit to funding. This is because when you have a significant personal investment in the business, you are more likely to do everything in your power to make the business successful.
Capacity refers to the ability of the business to grow and succeed, or more specifically, the ability of the business to repay debts and continue to profit. Most lenders will refrain from lending to a business that is not growing and cannot service the debt they currently have. They will analyze the financial information to determine whether the borrowed capital will increase the profits, and if so, whether that will be enough to repay the debt plus interest long-term. If the business is currently struggling, borrowing funds may seem like a life preserver, but could actually spell disaster down the road.
In addition to examining financial information for the business, lenders will consider the years of experience that you have in your field, as well as your knowledge of business strategies. Navigating the road to profit is difficult for any business owner, so industry experience is essential to success. Here’s a tip: Often small business owners wear many hats, but keep in mind that you don’t have to know it all as long as you have a team to support you. Include a business coach and professionals that can fill in the gaps in your knowledge. There are several non-profits, such as BCL of Texas, that can teach you the business skills you need to get your business off and running.
To schedule your free session with a business coach at BCL of Texas, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call (512)912-9191 today, or go to http://bcloftexas.org/ .
Posted by Hopeton on March 26, 2012
The goal of A.C.E. is to further develop the pipeline of minority talent in Austin through focused programming and networking opportunities for Young Professionals ages 25-34.
The 6-month A.C.E. Program will take place the first Saturday of each month starting April 7th. The Program will include monthly sessions (approximately 4 hours) which will include topics such as building relationships, personal branding and social networking. Each session will include a presentation of the facilitated topic by experienced professionals with subject matter expertise and will end with a Q& A session with an influential executive at a top company in Austin.
For more information go to aceprogram.eventbrite.com.