Thursday, November 14, 2019

MathCapital-Backed Tech Startup Octane11 Eyes Programmatic B2B - AdExchanger

MathCapital-Backed Tech Startup Octane11 Eyes Programmatic B2B  AdExchanger

Boeing abandons its failed fuselage robots on the 777X, handing the job back to machinists - Seattle Times

Boeing abandons its failed fuselage robots on the 777X, handing the job back to machinists - Seattle Times

Boeing abandons its failed fuselage robots on the 777X, handing the job back to machinists - Seattle Times

Posted: 13 Nov 2019 07:10 PM PST

After enduring a manufacturing mess that spanned six years and cost millions of dollars as it implemented a large-scale robotic system for automated assembly of the 777 fuselage, Boeing has abandoned the robots and will go back to relying more on its human machinists.

Boeing said Wednesday it is adopting a different approach that "has proven more reliable, requiring less work by hand and less rework, than what the robots were capable of."

The robotic system entailed holding the large curved metal panels that make up the 777 fuselage sections right-side up in a cradle as the moving robots stitched the panels together, drilling holes and adding tens of thousands of fasteners.

Because this was different from the traditional build process in which the lower fuselage was built upside down, then flipped before the upper fuselage was added, Boeing awkwardly dubbed it the "Fuselage Automated Upright Build" process or FAUB.

The main system used on the forward and aft fuselage sections involved mechanics tacking the panels together then stepping back to let four robots apply permanent fasteners.

One pair of robots drilled and fastened in unison on the upper half of the fuselage section — one inside, one outside. The outside robot inserted a rivet while the inside one simultaneously flattened it at the other end to create the fastening. A second pair of robots worked the lower half in similar fashion.

The technology was implemented gradually from 2015 inside a new building on the Everett site. But right from the start, the robots proved painful to set up and error-prone, producing damaged fuselages and others that were incompletely assembled and had to be finished by hand.


"FAUB is a horrible failure," one mechanic told The Seattle Times in 2016. Another called the system "a nightmare" that was snarling 777 production. Yet Boeing insisted then that these were teething pains that would pass.

"It's a little tough in the teething," Jason Clark, Boeing vice president of 777/777X operations, said then. "But as we get through it, it will create the rewards necessary for us to compete."

The pain didn't pass, however, and Boeing said Wednesday it's scrapping the technology.

This summer it began reverting to an older, smaller-scale, flexible automation tool called a "flex track" that will only drill the holes, leaving machinists to manually add the fasteners.  The work will still be performed in the upright position. Boeing said it expects the transition out of the FAUB technology to be complete by the end of the year.

The flex track is a small mobile machine very different from the completely automated, autonomous manufacturing cell that is the FAUB concept. It moves on rails that are attached to the fuselage and moves around the circumference drilling the holes. Mechanics then lift it off and move it to the next station to drill the next set of holes.


Flex track has been used for some years in the final assembly plant to join together the 777 fuselage sections.

News of the dramatic technology shift was first reported Wednesday by Bloomberg News.

The 777's more complex mid-fuselage section, which includes the center wing box and the stubs of the wings, was always assembled differently in the same building. Only an outside robot is used, installing two-sided fasteners — not rivets — while mechanics chase its work inside, manually installing collars on the fasteners. This mid-fuselage work will continue as is.

In addition, Boeing continues to use highly automated autonomous robotic systems on other parts of the 777 assembly process, including the fabrication of the 777X carbon composite wing parts in the $1 billion Composite Wing Center and the assembly of the giant wings in the main assembly plant.

Those robotic systems, developed by Electroimpact of Everett, are performing to specification, Boeing said.

Boeing worked closely with German automated engineering firm KUKA Systems to implement the FAUB technology. It first developed the system in secret, far from prying eyes inside a former boat-manufacturing facility in Anacortes in 2013 and then publicly announced it at the Farnborough Air Show the following year.

The automation has never delivered its promise of reduced hand labor and Boeing has had to maintain a substantial workforce of mechanics to finish the work of the robots. Because of the errors in the automation, that often took longer than if they had done it all by hand from the start. Boeing said Wednesday there are no planned changes in total staffing.

It's taken six years to finally throw in the towel. Boeing said it doesn't yet know what it will do with the forward and aft robots.

Video: A behind the scenes look at Fuselage Automated Upright Build (FAUB). (Boeing, 2017)

Integrating smaller power generators could save Texans $5.5b - Houston Chronicle

Posted: 14 Nov 2019 11:50 AM PST

Electricity consumers in Texas could save nearly $5.5 billion over the next decade if Texas regulators and utilities did a better job integrating distributed energy resources such as backup generators, rooftop solar and batteries to reduce the need for building expensive peak power generation and transmission projects, according to a new study.

The Austin trade group Texas Advanced Energy Business Alliance estimated Texas households could save an average of $456 over a decade if Texas did more to integrate backyard solar panels and quick-start natural gas micro turbines into transmission and distribution planning and allowing small-scale generators to participate in wholesale markets.

The small natural-gas powered generation units are the newest fixtures behind grocery stores, gas stations and factories as back-up power generation. Many companies invested in the units to keep food cold, cash registers and manufacturing processes running operating during storms and power outages. Other companies turn to back-up power during times of peak electricity demand when companies are paid to reduce their power consumption from the Texas grid.

On Analysis: The murky and confusing Texas power market

Companies in Texas are installing backyard back-up power at such a rapid pace that state regulators are having a difficult time keeping up with how much generation might be available during periods when demand threatens to outstrip supplies. One estimate by the Boston consulting firm the Brattle Group is that by the end of 2018, Texas had about 1,300 megawatts of distributed energy resources. One megawatt is enough to power about 200 homes during a hot summer day in Texas.

But the planning process and market rules in Texas were designed for large generators and industrial customers and present barriers for small-scale generators from participating, according to the study. Consequently, Texas is missing opportunities to lower consumer costs.

Black box

The research found that Texas utilities don't operate with enough transparency when planning distribution systems that connect to high-voltage transmission lines to deliver electricity to household and business customers. Planning is done behind closed doors and then the investments are recovered during rate hearings, leaving no opportunity for other technologies and more cost-effective options to be considered, said Suzanne Bertin, managing director of the alliance.

"It's a black box," she said.

CenterPoint Energy, the regulated utility responsible for distributing power from generators to customers in the Houston area, said the company will facilitate easier and safe interconnection of private renewable energy resources with the smart grid as distributed energy grows.

Fuel Fix: Get energy news sent directly to your inbox

The Public Utility Commission said it will work to integrate emerging technologies into the state's power grid.

The state's grid manager the Electric Reliability Council of Texas did not comment.

Open House event – Mairi Helena – a small business with big ideas - The Edinburgh Reporter

Open House event – Mairi Helena – a small business with big ideas - The Edinburgh Reporter

Open House event – Mairi Helena – a small business with big ideas - The Edinburgh Reporter

Posted: 14 Nov 2019 02:53 AM PST

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There is an Open House with textile and wallpaper designer Mairi Helena on 16 November 2019 which anyone can register for.

Mairi showed us in her Murrayfield home that she has different feature wallpapers in each room and lots of textiles showing on different furniture pieces. For anyone looking for decorating inspiration this will be a must attend event.

Mairi Wilks owner of textile and wallpaper brand MairiHelena PHOTO ©2019 The Edinburgh Reporter

She explained : "I get a lot of enquiries about people coming to to visit to see it in situ so I've decided to have an Open House event in November. There's information about it on my website where you can RSVP to the invitation.

We had arranged to meet Mairi Wilks after becoming aware of her colourful designs at the newly refurbished Scottish Café. There the owners Victor and Carina Contini have gone all out for the Scottish theme and have a complete velvet wall featuring Mairi's design.

When we met at Mairi's studio in her home there really is evidence of her creativity everywhere. We asked how it began.

Mairi told us : "Well, it started three years ago – it's into its third year now and I have brought out a new collection each year. I just had a love for photography and escaping to the outdoors, and getting stuck in my wellies outside in the mud and just taking lots of pictures of landscape, Scottish landscapes, in particular the West Coast, always any excuse to go across to the west coast and I'm there with my camera. 

"And I was building up a large portfolio of pictures of textures and colours and leaves and lichens and I was trying to find a way to to showcase Scottish as a pattern, a print printing out print into repeat that had a Scottish fusion to it. 

It's all from from landscapes and built up from my photography. I work in layers in Photoshop and each design has about thirty layers in it. 

"And they're built up from using a play on tartan perhaps, and introducing it in a bit more of a contemporary way I hope.

"I take a lot of pictures close up so I blur the field of view in my camera so that I can create a sort of washed, almost like water colour effect, and then I use that as a base layer which I then build up.

"I take elements of photographs so for example I might take the skeleton of the thistle. I really just play around of the different elements until I'm happy with the section and then I put it into a repeating print.

"I started in photography. well – that's not not my background, but that was my escape from my background, which is that I trained as a vet. 

"I come from a family of artists and designers. I grew up in Melrose in the Borders which is a very textile driven area.   I went on a photography course for just over a year in the Lake District and that homed in on what your USP was and what was it that you wanted to get from your photography.

"It made me think about how I could use it in a way that was personal to me. So I think from doing that course, I found this love of fusing it with textiles, and I was I was presenting my photographs alongside textiles. And from there, it sparked this idea of actually fusing the two together and printing on textiles."

"I create digital files and sending those to printers who are printing from the file which is printed digitally, either on wallpaper and paper fabric –  velvets and linens is predominantly what I'm printing on.

"I love colour I find it very uplifting and fun and quirky and it can really change a mood of a room. So I embrace colour, I love colour and I don't shy away from it.

Tell me a little about where you where people can see your work.

"Excitingly it's going into more commercial spaces or public spaces and most recently, The Scottish Café, which just had a new revamp just not long ago, which is just part of the National Galleries of Scotland, which looks onto Princes Street Gardens. So it's great to have somewhere within Edinburgh where it's showcased on such a large scale as well.

"They've used Fire Thistle velvet to create a large feature wall and have used the same design across the menus and leaflets you get down there. 

"My wallpapers have also gone into the new Tom Kitchin restaurant with room – pub with rooms in Gullane, the Bonnie Badger in Gullane, so there's 14 bedrooms there and there's wallpaper featured in each one. 

"And also in Edinburgh there's the Edinburgh City Chambers wedding suite which used my Grey Tailor Thistle velvet on the backs of the chairs and on upholstery within the three rooms within the wedding suite which is great."

Mairi has a new limited edition range of reversible merino lambswool throws which are only just available. This was the first time she had had something woven and she is pleased with the result. She said : "I've been amazed at how my designs which are quite intricate, and have so many layers and so much going on in them, how we've been able to simplify them to make it possible to weave and the detail that has been able to be captured in the throw."

They have been woven in Yorkshire and then finished in the Scottish Borders, which is where Mairi is from, and only a very small run has been created.   

Showing herself to be someone with many talents, Mairi had already revealed that she began working life as a vet. I asked why she had given that up, but it seems it may only be a temporary thing and has a lot to do with new baby Iona in the house too.

She said : "Well, this year I will have graduated 10 years ago. It was only really since last end of last year that I have stopped being a vet for the time being – I can always go back to it. 

"The great thing about being a vet is you can locum.  And I was part of a practice up in Fife for a long time and have been going back there to locum so I'm always keeping my hand in. 

"It's very difficult profession to completely step away from.

"It was dogs, cats and rabbits that I saw on a day to day basis and I do miss aspects of it, but  I think I enjoy the balance of both the science and the art and I think they go well together and it keeps your mind fresh."

Mairi has a personal project that she is working on at the moment, a wallpaper more in the form of a mural for her baby daughter, Iona. She said : "I want to put it up in her in her nursery. I am making something bespoke for her from images captured from a certain area. That is something that I'm enjoying doing at the moment.

"My baby Iona is named after one of the islands on the west coast that have hugely inspired me. She's four months old now and keeps me very busy."

And indeed Mairi is busy creating new looks for her clients and you can see these on her website and her Instagram page.

Mairi Helena's website is here

Mairi Wilks who designs Scottish textiles and wallpapers based on her landscape photography PHOTO ©2019 The Edinburgh Reporter

Initiative to help state startups find funding - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Initiative to help state startups find funding - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Initiative to help state startups find funding - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Posted: 14 Nov 2019 12:20 AM PST

Startups and small businesses across Arkansas soon will have more support to win federal funding that promotes innovative research and development efforts.

Support is being delivered by the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center, which is starting a new business accelerator to open access to federal funding for early-stage companies. The initiative, called the Lab2Launch Accelerator, begins in January with a six-week program focused on grants provided by the National Institutes of Health.

Businesses based anywhere in Arkansas can participate in the accelerator and they may attend sessions virtually or in person. The program is free though participation will be limited in the initial cohort.

The January accelerator program is a potential fit for entrepreneurs and established businesses with ideas for new products and services that can be used in the life sciences market, according to Rebecca Todd, innovation consultant for the Arkansas center, which is based at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock campus.

"The NIH is giving grants for the businesses to do research and development work that leads to new commercial ready products and services that then go out into the public sector and help people there," Todd added.

About six to 10 businesses will be selected to participate in the first accelerator and they will receive step-by-step guidance on every aspect of preparing and submitting a robust funding proposal. Programming includes help with topic selection, budget preparation, writing and editing and market research.

"We'll teach businesses how to prepare a more competitive application," Todd said. "By the end of the program, they should have everything finalized to capitalize on the opportunity."

Research grants from the National Institutes of Health will be for six months up to one year of work and will range from $150,000-$252,000, according to Todd.

The Lab2Launch Accelerator is being established to help more early-stage Arkansas companies tap into the Small Business Innovative Research program, a highly competitive federal funding project.

The innovative research program and its sister initiative, the Small Business Technology Transfer program, annually award $2.5 billion in grants and contracts to small firms to pursue the commercial potential of innovative technologies. Eleven federal agencies participate in the program, including the departments of Defense, Education, Energy, Transportation, Homeland Security and the National Science Foundation.

"We want to see more [Small Business Innovative Research] applicants and winners from Arkansas and believe the Lab2Launch Accelerator is a way to accomplish that," said Laura Fine, state director of the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center.

Going forward, separate six-week cohorts will focus on different federal agencies. Funding from the science foundation will be the target of the second accelerator program, which is scheduled to begin in March.

The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center is funded through the U.S. Small Business Administration's partnership with the UALR College of Business and other higher-education institutions in the state. The development center assists startups, existing businesses, expanding businesses and innovation-based businesses statewide.

Business on 11/14/2019

Canberra thinks it's doing enough to help small businesses navigate digital - ZDNet

Posted: 13 Nov 2019 02:17 PM PST

The Australian government has responded to a report from the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Industry, Innovation, Science, and Resources that in March 2018 asked for further support from Canberra in assisting small businesses navigate the digital era.

The report [PDF] resulting from the committee's inquiry into impacts on local businesses in Australia from global internet-based competition made a total of six recommendations, seeking mainly education material and more involvement from government in helping bring small businesses up to speed.

Information provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in June showed that while 97% of Australian businesses have an internet connection, only 54% have a web presence, 45% a social media presence, 62% place orders via the internet, and 41% receive orders via the internet.  

The first recommendation, which the government subsequently "noted", was that it establish a digital grants program for small business that would provide small businesses with grants to assist them take advantage of digital economy opportunities such as online retail.

"There are a number of initiatives already underway aimed at providing opportunities for small business to take advantage of digital economy opportunities not only through grants-based programs but also through other support," the government said in its response [PDF].

It pointed to the Australian Small Business Advisory Services (ASBAS) Digital Solutions program, which provides AU$18 million over three years to give advice to small businesses on websites and selling online, social media and digital marketing, using small business software, and online security and data privacy.

Advisory services are delivered through group workshops, online training, and one-to-one coaching.

See also: How small businesses can deal with getting regulated (TechRepublic)  

It also pointed to the government's Small Business Growth Package that provides 100 small businesses with a "comprehensive digital transformation" for their business. Up to AU$18,500 in digital support is up for grabs, and the recipients will be used as "interactive" online case studies.

Another recommendation was that the government establish a digital retraining fund to provide a small, means tested subsidy to Australian workers to undertake training to "improve their competency in digital skills that will assist them to find or maintain employment in the future".

In its response, the government said it is currently implementing initiatives to help address this issue.

"The government supports this recommendation in principle," it said. "The government recognises the importance of skills and lifelong learning for workers of all ages. Supporting workers to re-skill and upskill so they can move quickly into new jobs is fundamental to responding to technological change."

Likewise with a recommendation asking for the development of a forecasting capability to determine future digital skills needs, Canberra said it supports the idea.

It pointed to the future establishment of a National Skills Commission (NSC) under the Skills Package initiative that was announced in the 2019-20 Budget.

The NSC, the government said, would play a central role in skills demand forecasting in the future, driving research, and the analysis of future skills needs across industry, to ensure the VET system addresses national labour market priorities, including those arising from emerging technologies, such as automation, artificial intelligence, and new industries.

The committee also called for the development of educational materials aimed at encouraging small business to participate in the digital economy, covering emerging technologies and opportunities to collaborate with universities; the risks and benefits of using digital platforms and how to access and use the data; cybersecurity information; and other case studies.

"The government supports this recommendation and will continue to identify channels to ensure small businesses have the knowledge to successfully participate in the digital economy," it wrote.

The report from the committee was published prior to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) launching its Digital Platforms Inquiry, which made a total of 23 recommendations.

As a result, the remainder of the recommendations the committee made -- consideration in reforming competition law and that digital platforms should not engage in monopolistic or anti-competitive practice -- were handled by the ACCC.

"The government accepts the ACCC's overriding conclusion that there is a need for reform," it wrote.


Has Microsoft given up on small business? - The Guardian

Has Microsoft given up on small business? - The Guardian

Has Microsoft given up on small business? - The Guardian

Posted: 14 Nov 2019 03:00 AM PST

Microsoft's history with small business isn't great. Over the years, the company has tried countless applications geared specifically to small firms. They've had "small business" versions of Microsoft Office. There was once a "small business" accounting package and an Outlook-based contact manager. The company had, for a long time, a "small business server" suite of applications for email, security, networking and data management that was priced and tailored for that market. There was, up until last year, an entire small business division at Microsoft, complete with its own sales, marketing, communications and support teams.

All of this has gone away. So is the software giant giving up on small businesses? Not really. The company is just trying another tactic. It's punting for better field position.

Microsoft Office 365 is still the leading suite of collaboration and communication tools used (or in the case of many of my clients, underused) by millions of small businesses worldwide. And the company continues to add new features and automation tools to keep those customers productive and happy. But as for core applications specifically designed for SMBs? That's not happening. In fact, the opposite is happening.

The latest example occurred just last week. According to technology site ZDNet, Microsoft announced that it was discontinuing support of both its simple invoicing and Outlook-based contact management applications that were mostly geared to small companies.

No, the software giant isn't leaving the few customers of these applications out in the cold. It's struck agreements with invoicing service Invoice2Go and customer relationship management provider Nimble to take these companies onboard. Both Invoice2Go and Nimble are not only inexpensive, but – like their accounting competitors which include QuickBooks, Xero and FreshBooks or CRM offerings from Zoho, Copper and SugarCRM – are powerful and better geared to small businesses who need a simple accounting or CRM application.

Of course, Microsoft has financial and CRM tools as part of its Dynamics product suite. But these are priced higher, require a different level of implementation, and thus are geared more towards mature companies. Unlike small businesses, the companies who use these applications have the budgets and resources to pay for these applications.

Microsoft's move away from directly selling and servicing small business reveals an obvious but little discussed fact in the tech community: we are a pain in the neck. We have very similar demands as larger organizations but we have fewer resources, less knowledge and, let's face it: less patience. We require more coddling, more hand-holding and a higher level of support because we can't do it all internally. And yet, we're reluctant to pay for all of that. As such, we're less profitable.

Of course, Microsoft's CEO, Satya Nadella, would never say this in public. But I'm sure he took these facts into consideration when reorganizing his company in 2018 to focus more on cloud services. Instead of dealing directly with these difficult smaller customers, Nadella has politely punted the obligation to his partners – like my firm – and is investing in tools for those firms to help their SMB clients.

Whether or not small companies want to pay for that work is a matter of debate. But for Microsoft, this is not the abandonment of small businesses, it's enablement. "We want every company out there to be a tech company in its own right, and you are the community that's going to make that happen," he said at a recent conference of partners and developers. "And our mission is to empower you to do that."

Enablement? Empowerment? For me, it's just a punt for better field position.

Chambers Shop Local Initiatives Help Small Business, Community -

Posted: 12 Nov 2019 12:21 PM PST

November kicks off the holiday shopping season, a period of intense activity for all types of retail businesses. It is an especially vital time for small business owners, who rely on support from local shoppers during the busy weeks in November and December to boost them into the new year. Shopping locally preserves the health of community businesses, keeps sales tax dollars close to home, and delivers personal service and unique products that make the holidays special.

"The impact of shopping local at the holidays really carries throughout the year," notes Tensley Garris, President of the Northbrook Chamber of Commerce. "Successful local businesses help create the vibrant communities that residents enjoy as destinations for shopping, dining, and entertainment. These businesses are also crucial for maintaining our public services, since over one-third of our Village's budget is funded through sales taxes. In addition, our local non-profit organizations rely on the direct support provided by local businesses."

In Northbrook, the Village and the Chamber work together to connect residents to local businesses. A free mobile text program, launched this summer, provides subscribers with updates on community events as well as special offers from over 75 Northbrook stores and restaurants. Online coupons include discounts on designer clothing, BOGO offers on dining, and trial memberships at local health clubs. Simply sign up by texting NBK to 55678 or by visiting

Another Chamber initiative, the Nicki the Northbrook Shopping Elf Facebook page, delivers information about special promotions throughout the year. During the holiday season, the page features original content with videos from local shop owners showcasing top gift trends.

You can jumpstart local shopping this holiday season by participating in Small Business Saturday® on November 30. Launched by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday has been promoted by the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) as a grassroots holiday to compete with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Locally, many small businesses will host special offers and programs to attract shoppers on Small Business Saturday. Chamber staff members will be active around town supporting their efforts with real time posts on a variety of social media platforms. Be sure to follow the Northbrook Shopping Elf Facebook page and sign up for the Live Shop Dine Northbrook text program ahead of time to have detailed information about events at your favorite Northbrook stores. By participating in Small Business Saturday and shopping local throughout the season, you ensure a happy holiday for your family as well as a healthy new year for the larger community.

Banks shift focus in small business as loan growth slows - American Banker

Posted: 13 Nov 2019 06:30 PM PST

More community banks are adding deposit products and fee-generating services targeted at small businesses.

Those efforts are coming at a time when small-business loan growth is decelerating and as banks grapple with thinning margins and more payoffs tied to lower interest rates. Adding products also allows banks to deepen relationships with existing clients, industry experts said.

"Banks that know the space and can ride it out will be well-positioned in the future," said Vincent Hui, a managing director at Cornerstone Advisors. Banks that remain committed "will have built a very loyal customer base as others pull back."

"Services like cash flow management and technology offerings matter to small businesses," said Kelly Skalicky, president and CEO of Stearns Bank in St. Clous, Minn. "It's important to be a full-service bank."

Small-business loan growth is slowing down, according to data compiled by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Loans of $1 million or less to small businesses rose by 1.9% in the third quarter from a year earlier, to $645 billion in outstanding balances, a cool-down from the 2.3% growth rate of the prior 12 months. Softer demand and payoffs on shorter-duration loans were factors cited by bankers.

There are still opportunities even if demand is cooling, industry experts said.

Nearly a third of small businesses surveyed in October by the National Federation of Independent Business said they plan to invest in their operations in coming months. That response was up slightly from a month earlier.

That has spurred more banks to offer low-cost deposit products and cash management tools.

First Internet Bancorp in Fishers, Ind., recently created Amplify, a product that provides small-business owners with a checking account that has free ACH and bill pay, along with no service charges. The product includes treasury management tools. Accounts that maintain an average balance of at least $10,000 get paid higher rates.

David Becker, First Internet's CEO, said the product addresses many of the issues he faced as a younger entrepreneur.

"I can remember paying hundreds of dollars to my community bank in monthly service charges based on my ACH activity," Becker said.

Becker said business owners are often told that loans of less than $1 million are not profitable for banks, but since First Internet is an online-only company it has lower overhead costs and is able to make smaller loans.

PCSB Bank in Brewster, N.Y., recently expanded its cash management services to include fraud prevention, liquidity management and financial reporting tools. The $1.6 billion-asset bank also offers escrow management services to businesses and municipalities.

Some banks are also diversifying the loans they offer.

Columbia Banking System in Tacoma, Wash., recently increased its dealings with the Small Business Administration.

Smaller loans can serve as "feeders" for bigger credits in the future, said Scott Bossom, the $13 billion-asset Columbia's manager of community financial resources. "We're helping these businesses at a really core level with the idea being that they're not all going to turn into multi-million dollar companies, but the ones that do we're now capturing those," Bossom said.

When it comes to lending, credit quality and underwriting will be critical in coming months, especially for loans to small businesses that operate in stressed sectors such as agriculture, energy and restaurant franchising.

Summit Bank in Oakland, Calif., requires higher debt service and lower loan-to-values than other Bay Area banks, said CEO Thomas Duryea. Those policies should help the $249 million-asset bank when the economy turns sour, he added.

"Given that we're in the heart of the San Francisco Bay area, where unemployment is in the low 2% range and the economy is still booming relative to ... the rest of the country and the world, we should likely fare better than most when things" really slow down, Duryea added.

New program aims to grow small business in northeast Missouri - WGEM

Posted: 13 Nov 2019 08:22 PM PST

There's another effort to boost small business in northeast Missouri.

The Missouri Small Business Development Center is establishing a new office in Hannibal.

The new location will be within the Hannibal Regional Economic Development Council's main office. Officials there said they've already helped one business get up and running and their in the process of helping several more.

Dawn Long is busy putting the final touches on her store, Annie Rose Boutique, ahead of her grand opening celebration this Friday.

"We do the ribbon cutting at ten but we'll be here all day 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.," said Long. "We'll have snacks and stuff. Java Jive is bringing down some muffins and coffee for the morning. We'll be giving a way coupons and we'll be doing a drawing for a free item."

Long says opening her business has been a complicated process which is why she turned to the Hannibal Regional Economic Development Council.

This week, the EDC partnered with the University of Missouri Extension and the state to implement the Small Business Development Center program.

"We'll have classes that will be available to people. One on one starting a new business, those types of classes and all the way up to helping people better understand their P & L and where they might see some additional profit," said Executive Director Corey Mehaffy.

Mehaffy said it doesn't cost people anything to use the new resources. Instead, "They register what's called impact through the program and SBA funds the state level operation through that type of impact and as a new business owner gets a loan or as they make investment of their own capital or other capital they might bring to the project, that registers the economic impact."

Long said those resources have been invaluable to her and her store. She said one of the biggest things the center has helped her so far is to create a business plan.

"Very helpful actually because I had no idea how to go about writing a business plan or what that even entailed," said Long.

Economic development officials said they are looking to hire a full time staff member to focus on the small business development center's responsibilities.

Right now, they are using staff members at other centers throughout the state.

Missouri has 12 other Small Business Development Centers. Based in Hannibal, this new center will provide resources to six counties in Northeast Missouri including Marion, Shelby, Ralls, Lewis, Clark and Pike counties.

Small Business start-up class | Calendar - KHQ Right Now

Small Business start-up class | Calendar - KHQ Right Now

Small Business start-up class | Calendar - KHQ Right Now

Posted: 13 Nov 2019 11:46 AM PST

Learn everything you need to know about taxes for Idaho businesses in this free class! You'll get easy-to-understand info about:

Idaho tax permits Employer requirements Exemption certificates Income tax withholding for Idaho employees Idaho sales tax And much more!

Anyone interested in best practices for Idaho business taxes is welcome. Bring your questions!

Rick Lawless from the Idaho State Tax Commission teaches this class, which the Palouse Tax Service is hosting.

Wintrust Business Lunch 11/13/19: Where To Start with Open-Enrollment, Small Business Sat, & Crain's 40 Under 40 - WGN Radio - Chicago

Posted: 13 Nov 2019 11:10 AM PST


(Paul Morigi/AP Images for American Express)

Steve Bertand, hosts the afternoon business program discussing a range of subjects from tips for navigating open-enrollment smoothly to preparing for Small Business Saturday.

Segment 1: (At 0:00) Terry Savage, Publisher of, briefly turned her attention to D.C. where Fed President Jerome Powell is sharing his perspective on the economy, but more importantly she sorted through what Chicagoans need to know this year during the open-enrollment window.

Segment 2: (At 14:04) Nancy Cummings, Executive Director of The La Grange Business Association, explained what small cities and villages need to do to prepare for Small Business Saturday that is happening on November 30th.

Segment 3: (At 20:45) Frank Sennett, Director of Digital Strategy at Crain's, shared the stories of some of the winners of the 40 Under 40 list that includes Steve Galanis from Cameo, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood, and many more.

Small Business start-up class | Calendar - KHQ Right Now

Small Business start-up class | Calendar - KHQ Right Now

Small Business start-up class | Calendar - KHQ Right Now

Posted: 13 Nov 2019 11:46 AM PST

Learn everything you need to know about taxes for Idaho businesses in this free class! You'll get easy-to-understand info about:

Idaho tax permits Employer requirements Exemption certificates Income tax withholding for Idaho employees Idaho sales tax And much more!

Anyone interested in best practices for Idaho business taxes is welcome. Bring your questions!

Rick Lawless from the Idaho State Tax Commission teaches this class, which the Palouse Tax Service is hosting.