WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) announced that it is seeking grant proposals to award up to $700,000 in grant funding for projects that promote the development of innovative and successful Native American firms that are eligible for assistance under the SBA’s 7(j) Management and Technical Assistance Program.

The SBA expects to award three to seven grants to provide funding opportunities for Native American Micro Enterprise Business Services.

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Are you looking for ways to find new investors for your project?  What if you could provide something better than a return.  If you have ever been to a GDF seminar, then you know that the three major components to any funding deal are:

1.  Job Creation

2. Provides Economic Development Activities

3.  Shovel Ready

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WASHINGTON - The US Department of Agriculture announced the launch of two new private funds, known as Rural Business Investment Companies (RBICs), which make equity investments in rural businesses, helping them grow and create jobs. This announcement is part of USDA's ongoing efforts to help attract private sector capital to investment opportunities in rural America to help drive more economic growth in rural communities.

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By:  Ari Page

I never advocate that anyone borrow just to borrow. But if you need capital to make payroll or invest in something that you know will reap a short-term profit, then you need access to capital. In the past few years, even though money has been tight, there have always been options. Banks always need to lend to stay in business. You just need to know where to look.

Act I: Grandmother Isn’t Always Right

One of Steve Martin’s earliest routines went something like this. “I’ll never forget what my grandmother taught me. She said ‘Always…,’ no wait, ‘Never…,’ no it was, ‘Always…take a litter bag in your car. It doesn’t take up much room and when it gets full you can just toss it out the window.’”

That comes to mind when I hear people say things like, “Never…amass credit card debt.” If you can get better terms on a credit card than on a bank loan or a mortgage, than heck yeah you should amass credit card debt.  If you borrow on a credit card at X% interest and make Y% with that money, where Y is greater than X, then let’s do that all day long!

And guess what.  Ever since the current economic outlook improved and the market eased up, banks have been looking various ways to increase their earnings. Banks and federal associations are not quite as anal in their approach to risk, and want to find ways to generate some more business. The result is that some avenues of acquiring financing are now easier than ever.

One of the easiest, and, if done correctly, least expensive ways to get financing is via credit cards. I know this flies in the face of everything we’ve ever been told. Sure, many credit card companies still charge near-usurious interest rates, and most of us would be hard-pressed to make good use of capital at 20% and higher interest. But guess what. There are thousands of credit card offers at favorable rates for small businesses.

In fact, when the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency released their 19th annual “Survey of Credit Underwriting Practices” during the period ending June 30, 2013, they reported that among all loan products, credit cards had the greatest easing of underwriting standards.

Act II: Sometimes Things Too Good to Be True Are, in Fact, True

You’ve gotten another no interest credit card offer in the mail.  “Sure,” you sardonically think. “Add in those hidden fees and crazy post-promotional-period interest rates and I’ll be giving them my house, car and boat in 12 months.”

But many of these offers are bonafide, great deals!  And if you can benefit from access to financing, you should jump on these.

“But how does that even make sense for the bank?” you might say.  Excellent question. The thing is, if banks don’t lend money, they don’t make money. Banks themselves can borrow at historic lows (they borrow at near zero percent from the Federal Reserve!), so they have access to lots of capital. Add this to the notion that banks have a lot of ways to make money, and you can start to see how this makes sense.

Banks want to have a relationship with you - and if they already have a relationship with you, they want to surround you with services that will keep you from going to the competition.  So, providing you with great credit card offers costs them very little, and allows them to start shoving other promotions into your mailbox.

Moreover, although many zero percent interest terms appear to be capped, I am here to tell you unequivocally that if you know what you’re doing, that’s just not the case. Banks hope you’re not savvy enough to realize that if you know who to talk to and what to say, you can keep rolling over zero interest introductory offers for the foreseeable future. Business owners are the “crème de la crème” in the banking community and can take advantage of special promotional codes and techniques that aren’t available to the regular borrower.

Act III: Get Some

Here are some things you can do to take advantage of low- and zero-interest credit cards.

1. If you don’t have a business entity, get one. It’s easy to acquire and anyone can do it. You want to be smart about it, as some entities are far more lendable than others. For example, having Marketing/Advertising or Business Management in your business name, indicates you are (on average) a better risk than someone with Real Estate in their title.  There are also important nuances in terms of what type of entity you set up.

2. Know how to elucidate what your business does. If you’re stuttering, stammering or seem unsure of your business, don’t expect the bank to lend to you.

3. If you have personal credit issues, get them cleaned up. There are many agencies, such as Kaydem Credit Help, that can assist you.

4. Search the web for credit card offers for businesses.

5. Do your homework to sort through various offers, identifying any hidden fees.

6. Explore existing relationships and see what they’re willing to do. I once went to my bank to open up a checking account and was offered a $17,000 credit card for being a loyal customer.

7. Consider requesting line increases or exploring promotional rates for those cards that you already have. Many banks won’t hesitate to reward good customers with increased credit lines.

Ari Page is CEO of Credit Card Builders, a company that helps small businesses raise unsecured, zero percent business financing. A voracious reader, Ari constantly scours the market for new techniques and strategies to identify creative and profitable borrowing strategies. Because of his unique insight and approach, Credit Card Builders has raised millions in funding for small businesses nationwide, with the average amount ranging from between $50,000 and $250,000.

On Wednesday, I’m hosting a free webinar with Ari about how you can get business funding.

Register For Free Webinar:
“How to Get $25,000 - $250,000
To Start or Grow Your Business”

Make sure to Register and reserve your spot on the webinar training before it fills up (space is limited).

Join me Wednesday 3/4, for a free webinar:


WASHINGTON – The head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that for the second year, the SBA is launching an Accelerator Growth Fund competition for accelerators and other entrepreneurial ecosystem models to compete for monetary prizes of $50,000 each, totaling $4 million. The application period is from April 10-June 1 and information about the application process can be found at:

“We’re launching a second Accelerator Growth Fund competition to spur even greater opportunities for America’s small businesses,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.  “Last year’s event was so successful, we’re looking forward to discovering and empowering the next trailblazers.  Accelerators provide valuable resources to potential startups: a physical infrastructure to work in their infancy, mentoring, business-plan assistance, networking, opportunities to obtain venture capital, and introductions to potential customers, partners and suppliers—all critical elements to ensuring that small businesses flourish and succeed.”

Similar to last year’s competition, several panels containing expert judges from the private and public sector with collective experience in early stage investing, entrepreneurship, academia, start-ups and economic development will select the winners.  The competition includes accelerators, incubators, co-working startup communities, shared tinker-spaces or other models.  The panel will give particular attention to, applicants that fill geographic gaps in the accelerator and entrepreneurial ecosystem space.

Through this competition, the SBA is looking to support the development of accelerators and their support of startups in parts of the country where there are fewer conventional sources of access to capital (i.e., venture capital and other investors).

In addition, the SBA is also seeking accelerators headed by women and those that support them or other underrepresented groups. Thirty-two percent of last year’s accelerator winners were run by women and 14 percent were classified as underrepresented groups.

Manufacturing accelerator models will be given special consideration during this year’s competition, because they are critical to job growth and strengthening the nation’s economy.

Please click hereDownload Adobe Reader to read this link content for the Accelerator Growth Fact Sheet and specifics on how to apply and the timeline for 2015’s competition.

WASHINGTON– U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro announced new changes to strengthen a federal program called “Section 3” that directs jobs and training to low-income workers and connects businesses that hire them with HUD-funded contracting opportunities.  The initiative would increase opportunities for businesses that hire local public housing residents for HUD-funded projects. In addition to changes to Section 3 requirements, Secretary Castro also announced the launch of a National Section 3 Business Registry. The registry is a searchable online database that local housing authorities, government agencies, and contractors can use to find firms that are self-certified as employing at least 30 percent public housing residents or low-income workers.

“All Americans should have the chance to contribute to the development and growth of their own communities,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “These Section 3 initiatives will connect more hard-working folks and small businesses to local economic opportunities, giving them new tools to secure a more prosperous future.”

Every year, HUD funds create thousands of jobs across the country that range from construction to professional services like accounting or engineering. From 2009-2014, based on data reported by public housing authorities and HUD modeling, approximately 170,000 jobs were created by HUD for eligible low-income workers through this program.More than $5 billion in HUD-funded contracts has been directed to Section 3 businesses since 2009. While businesses are only required to hire 30 percent low-income workers, that goal has been exceeded nationally. About 50 percent of new hires for HUD-funded contracts are low-income workers or public housing residents.

Section 3 of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968 states that, “employment and other economic opportunities generated by Federal financial assistance for housing and community development programs shall, to the greatest extent feasible, be directed toward low- and very low-income persons, particularly those who are recipients of government assistance for housing, and to businesses that employ them.”  Since 1994, the Section 3 program has been governed by an interim regulation. For the first time in 20 years, HUD is proposing a new rule today that would expand opportunities for public housing residents and low-income workers.

In 2012, HUD launched a five-city pilot Section 3 Business Registry in Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans and Washington, DC to help local public agencies better connect local businesses that hire low-income residents and workers with the contracting and economic development opportunities created by HUD-funded  housing and development projects, something that is required under Section 3 guidelines. Nearly 1,000 businesses have signed up for the registry nationally. Today, in Miami, Secretary Castro applauded the nearly 300 Section 3 businesses that have signed up for the registry statewide.  HUD announced that the initiative will now become national.

In addition, the proposed rule announced today would recognize new HUD programs established since 1994 that are required to meet low-income and public housing resident hiring goals. It also clarifies vague language in the interim rule and eases challenges to achieving compliance. HUD is currently accepting feedback on the proposed rule during a 60-day public comment period.


Washington, DC- Addressing the needs of women and the role they play in America’s  economy, the U.S. Small Business Administration has launched a nationwide competition for entrepreneurs who are developing products and services that will enhance the lives of women and their families.

“The landscape of the U.S. economy has evolved drastically during the last 50 years, and women played a significant role in that change,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. “We are harnessing the power of America’s entrepreneurs to develop products, services and technologies that support women as they deal with the challenges of work and home.  This innovation challenge will both help strengthen the economy and empower women to succeed.”

InnovateHER: 2015 Innovating for Women Business Challenge kicked off in early March with local competitions hosted by universities, accelerators, clusters, scale-up communities, SBA’s resource partners, and other local organizations.  The SBA is seeking entrepreneurs who have created a product or service that will have a measurable impact on women and their families, fills a need in the marketplace, and has the potential for commercialization.

Those entrepreneurs selected by local judges will make it to the semi-final round.  An executive committee comprised of SBA officials will review the semi-final nomination packages and select no more than 10 finalists.  The finalists will compete for a total of $30,000 in prize money provided by Microsoft.

The 10 finalists will travel to the District of Columbia on May 8th where they’ll pitch their products and ideas to a panel of expert judges during SBA’s National Small Business Week.

For details on contest rules and a list of local competitions,

WASHINGTON–The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced today that the Impact Investment Fund of the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program has tripled in the last 12 months.

“Capital investment in some sectors, geographies and industries is still lower than you would expect and like. Through the Impact Investment Fund, we’ve sent a message to professional fund managers with expertise in areas like clean energy, education technology, and advanced manufacturing as well as those looking for 'off the beaten path' gems in low income or economic distressed communities across the country. SBICs as a whole, fill capital formation gaps at the low end of the middle market, the Impact Fund, puts a magnifying glass where the gaps are widest," said SBA Associate Administrator for Investment and Innovation Javier Saade.

The SBA began 2014 with two Impact SBICs managing $182 million and ended the year with six Impact SBICs collectively managing between $442 million and $572 million in total assets depending on the amount of credit guarantees approved and employed.   Given the SBIC Impact Investment Fund is still well below the originally expected $1 billion leverage level, there is room to further grow the list of professional investors interested in pursuing impact strategies.

Three of the six Impact SBICs have not deployed capital.  The other three have invested in 33 companies across the country and collectively employ approximately 4,600 people.  These companies include an organic cage-free poultry operation in Texas, a wood waste-to-pellet fuel concern in Michigan and an educational institution in an urban low-income community in Puerto Rico.

One of the policy changes made was seemingly simple but equally meaningful – the Impact Investing Initiative became the Impact Investment Fund, making it a permanent feature of the SBIC Program.  The Fund uses the rapidly evolving strategies that involve marrying financial gains and intentional social returns to narrow gaps.

Initially, SBIC’s were limited to SBA-identified impact investments, but now because of the flexibility of the Impact Investment Fund, participating funds can identify and pursue their own strategies.  In addition to the expansion of this fund, SBA removed several key barriers that prevented access to it by:

  • Lifting the $200 million restriction to offer licensed Impact SBICs better access to leverage;
  • Removing the waiting period in accessing multiple leverage commitments; and
  • Permitting existing SBICs to opt-in if they meet the Impact Fund requirements.

The reasons for the relatively slow deployment of impact investing strategies at the institutional level are varied and complex, but one of the main reasons, is the adoption of standards to measure intentional social impact has been spotty.  The SBA and the federal government, supports the adoption of standards to further enable more institutional private capital flow to the small business community.

Information on the fund and the policy can be found here.  The changes were made based on feedback from a significant number of private sector stakeholders and were consistent with themes the SBA heard from impact investors the White House roundtable on Impact Investing that was held this past summer.  The comments align with the recommendations of the US National Advisory Board on Impact Investing released this summer and with the findings of the G8 Task Force on Social Impact Investing, Impact Investment: The Invisible Heart of Markets.

The six Impact SBICs are:

2011 Michigan Growth Capital Partners SBIC, LP
2012 SJF Ventures III, LP
2014 Bridges Ventures U.S. Sustainable Growth Fund, LP
2014 Morgan Stanley Impact Fund
2014 Bluehenge Secured Debt SBIC, LP
2014* Renovus Capital Partners, LP

The Provident Bank Foundation is committed to enhancing the quality of life in New Jersey and Pennsylvania communities in Provident Bank's marketplace. Since its founding in 2003, the Provident Bank Foundation has granted more than $19 million to not-for-profit organizations and institutions working toward stronger communities.

The Provident Bank Foundation makes grants in three priority areas: community enrichment, education, and health, youth & families.

  • Our giving to community enrichment focuses on programs that drive economic development, contribute to a more well-rounded community experience, and provide increased access to information and specialized learning opportunities.
  • Our efforts in education support innovative programming that expands access to, and improves the quality of, well-rounded educational experiences for people of all ages.
  • Our contributions to health, youth, and families aim to ensure people of all ages and means have the ability to improve the quality of their lives, including having a safe place to live and access to quality healthcare.


Click HERE for the full details about this RFP.




This is a two-step process. All applicants must complete and submit the online Letter of Intent (LOI). Only submit one entry per organization.


Step 1: Complete the Online LOI form


  • Your application will not be reviewed unless an LOI has been submitted
  • Any questions regarding navigating the online system, review the Step- by-Step Guide

Coaching has become a leading resource that business leaders are taking advantage of to create highly successful businesses. The one misunderstanding is that to use a business coach your business needs to be larger, but that’s not the case at all.

Coaching can help create clarity and direction in any size business. Working with a business coach can help to determine what it is you want to create, the reason it is important, and how you plan to reach that goal. It can help you to create an action plan and then achieve the goals you set.

If you had an empowering way that you could commit to and then achieve your business goals, would you not want to take advantage of it? Well you do, it’s called business coaching.

Business Coaching Helps You to Become Clear on Your Goals
It is important that you are clear on what it is you want from your business along with how you plan to get it. Then you will need to determine what your commitment is. A business coach can help you to create clear goals and plans on achieving those goals.

Business Coaching Aids You to be Effective and Productive

When it comes to support, business coaching provides individual attention along with the challenge and objectiveness that are needed. A skilled business coach is very successful because he or she can:

* Inspire you to expand your solutions
* Keep you focused on your goals
* Make you accountable for your progress
* Support you through the change
* Remove any obstacles so that you can move forward
* Prioritize based on your values
* Challenges you to take the next step

Business Coaching Connects You to What’s Important
Your business coach will help to build a foundation that’s grounded so that you make decisions that are in alignment with your value system and what you value most. They will also help you to create a plan that will ensure your daily actions are in alignment with the values. This is the key to creating commitment breakthroughs.

A small business can benefit as much from a business coach as a larger business. Your business coach isn’t there to make decisions for you, but rather to be a sounding board and to help guide you in the direction that is right for you and your business. Take advantage of outside help to grow your business.

Are you interested in Business Coaching?  Let us know.