The Week in Small Business – 06.25.11
We do the legwork of finding the best in small business news and links. You have more time to do what you love.
Geithner: Small Business Funds Coming Soon
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testified before Congress this week that that the Small Business Lending Fund will soon begin distributing $11.6 billion in capital. That's the amount banks eligible for the fund have applied for out of a possible $30 billion. The Hill notes that Geithner and the White House have taken some heat from lawmakers for the length of time — more than nine months and counting — it's taken to put the fund into practice after it was approved as part of last year's Small Business Jobs Act.
How One Startup Hopes to Transform Healthcare
A TechCrunch contributor profiles MedLion, a medical startup intent on changing the way patients seek and receive healthcare by cutting out the middlemen: Insurance companies. The California firm's first practice offers healthcare for $49 per month and $10 per visit, and its founder, Dr. Samir Qamar, plans to open another facility this year. Recommended reading for small businesses struggling with rising health insurance premiums — or with the question of whether they can afford to offer employees coverage at all.
These Aren't Your Mother's Barcodes
A staple of consumer-goods packaging has gotten an overhaul: a Wall Street Journal feature takes a look at some businesses that are giving the boring old barcode — you know, the series of indecipherable lines and numbers used to scan an item at checkout — a makeover. Businesses are, in effect, turning the symbols into branding and marketing opportunities, like a Brooklyn brewery that incorporated the Statue of Liberty into its design. There are even some small companies popping up whose business is barcodes — the fancy, custom kind. A corresponding slideshow shows some examples. My favorite: The spy.
Small Business Goes Global with a Boost from Uncle Sam
The Hartford Courant reports on how a 25-person company that makes mail processing machines has capitalized on the federal government's recent small business exporting push. ID Mail Systems of Middletown, Connecticut, now has contracts in eight countries outside of the U.S., which the firm's president and CEO said was only possible because of a series of SBA-backed loans. The story points out that in the past, such loans were not readily available to smaller businesses.
Are You Evolutionary or Revolutionary?
A good one to close out the small business week: Harvard Business Review blogger Jeff Stibel offers a thought-provoking look at entrepreneurship, arguing that not all innovation is cut from the same cloth. Noting the difference between linear ideas and nonlinear ones, he writes: "Evolutionary innovators ask questions based on the limitations of existing solutions; revolutionary innovators ask questions no one else has thought of." Which are you?
Kevin Casey is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.