Small Business Briefing

How many times can you say small business? In Congress, 10,000

The Globe and Mail

Dusk sets in over the U.S. Capitol building. (JONATHAN ERNST/JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS)

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'Small business' shows up in Congressional Record more times than 'debt limit'

How hot is small businesses among U.S. politicians? So hot that the phrase "small business" showed up in the Congressional Record more than 10,000 times in the past two years, according to the Sunlight Foundation's Capitol Words database, as reported by NPR.

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That is fewer than the number of times members of Congress referred to taxes, but more than ‘debt limit’ came up, notes NPR.

The Capital Words database tracks the most popular words and phrases used by legislators in Washington.

So why is ‘small business’ so popular?

"The small-business owner is always the good guy in the movies," Frank Luntz, a language specialist and GOP pollster, told NPR by way of explanation.

"Being a small-business owner is the American dream. It's the epitome of success. People respect that individual," he said.

Mr. Luntz told NPR he has done some testing about the language. "I've tested 'small-business owner,' 'job creator,' 'innovator,' 'entrepreneur' and nothing tests better than 'small-business owner' because it represents all of those. It represents someone willing to take a risk. It represents hard work and perseverance," he was quoted by NPR.

Signs that others have picked up on the smarts of a small business connection: More than a quarter of those running in California for the state legislature or Congress have listed themselves on ballots as small business owners or business people – even though for some of them, it's a stretch, one expert told NPR.

Paypal's Thiel funds 'radical' science and tech startups

Peter Thiel, Paypal co-founder, financier and backer of entrepreneurship, has launched a new program under his Thiel Foundation to support 'radical innovation' in science and technology. And today it announced the first half-dozen startups that will get funding, with focuses ranging on slowing the aging process to figuring out what makes the brain unique to helping with space travel.

The foundation's Breakout Labs will invest up to $350,000 in these very early-stage biotech companies.

Among them, Immusoft is studying ways to to re-program human immune cells to produce therapeutics in the body – technology that could "dramatically improve the ability to treat a range of diseases, as well as enhance longevity," according to the release.

3Scan is aiming to develop 3-D digital reconstruction of brain tissue, to help understand what makes the brain unique. Arigos Biomedical is looking at methods of cooling organs for long-term storage, to make banked organs immediately available for transplants. And Positron's work could be a source of "energy-antimatter propulsion for space travel," according to the release.

U.S. small business tax cut faces threat of presidential veto

Fresh on the heels of a blocking of the Buffett Rule, the White House is threatening to veto a small-business tax-cut bill sponsored by House majority leader Eric Cantor, calling it a $46-billion (U.S.) "giveaway" to the "most fortunate," according to various reports.

The bill would give a 20-per-cent cut to companies with fewer than 500 employees to help spur small-business investment. It would affect up to 22 million small businesses, according to reports.

But the White House yesterday criticized the bill, citing analysis that nearly half of the benefit of the bill would go to taxpayers making more than $1-million a year.

"The bill is not an effective way to incentivize small business investment and job creation," the administration said in a statement. "If the President is presented with [the bill] his senior advisors would recommend that he veto" it, according to the reports.

The House is scheduled to consider the bill on Thursday.

You can read various reports about it on the Huffington Post, UPI.com, Reuters, The Hill and elsewhere.

EVENTS AND KEY DATES

Innovation: Telus Challenge event

Learn more about innovation for your business by joining Jim Senko, Telus's vice-president of small business marketing; Globe Report on Small Business editor Sean Stanleigh; Angela Quinton of Sandberg Labs, winner of last year's contest, and others, at an event being held tomorrow in Toronto. Telus and the Canadian Youth Business Foundation will also provide details on a program to help young entrepreneurs. For further details, click here.

The event will also give you a chance to hear more about the $100,000 small business Challenge, the second annual contest held by The Globe and Mail and Telus for small business owners to present their biggest challenge and have an opportunity to win a grant from Telus to overcome it. Entry deadlines close on May 28. For more details on that, click here.

Small Business Summit: Calgary

The Small Business Summit is just a week away. The event by Achilles Media in partnership with The Globe and Mail's Report on Small Business takes place on April 25 in Calgary. To check out the full lineup for the day, including speakers, workshops, networking, other opportunities and registration, click here.

EDITOR'S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

Venture capital rejection leads to crowdfunding record

Eric Migicovsky, the Canadian entrepreneur who has set a record in pledges on crowdfunding site Kickstarter to finance production of a new smartwatch for iPhone and Android smartphones, failed to attract interest ifrom venture capitalists before capturing the imagination of the public.

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

Entrepreneurs must fight fear of selling

Entrepreneurs may often be bold and risk-taking, but they’re not immune to a fear of selling, recounted a piece last June. Fear of rejection, personality characteristics, and intimidation by the business environment are all factors. Whatever is behind it, entrepreneurs need to come to terms with their fear of selling if they want to succeed.

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