SEC fails to set crowdfunding regulations in time
Government efforts to aid small business owners in implementing crowdfunding initiatives are likely to hit the brakes as it appears the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will fail to meet its end of the year deadline to get the proper regulations in place. Springing forth from the Jobs Act issued in April, crowdfunding allows business owners to seek and collect funding from friends, family, peers and investors through online sites similar to Kickstarter.com. The initiative received the green light earlier this year, but small business owners may have to wait longer than expected to reap the benefits.
Mary L. Schapiro stepped down in November from her position as SEC chairwoman and was involved with directly writing and managing regulations for the organization. Her departure will likely put the SEC even further behind in its efforts to meet the 270-day deadline Congress mandated it have the crowdfunding regulations completed by. The holdup is frustrating for both investors and business owners, as neither party can move forward in funding ventures until the process is ironed out.
Uncle Sam wants to do his homework on crowdfunding first
This is the first time the government has backed a program like this, therefore officials want to gather as much background data as possible in order to get better insight of what works within the industry. So far the SEC has received data from crowdfunding servicers such as RocketHub, and has met with Kickstarter as well. The SEC did reach out to another similar site, Indiegogo, however the company declined to release information.
Because significant amounts of money are expected to be exchanged across the web via multiple parties, it makes sense that the SEC wants to take a good amount of time to clearly regulate the rules and protocols that need to be put in place in order for donations to be used as intended.
Businesses will be able to solicit funding online, but any crowdfunding, whether received through the form of a donation or sale of stock, must go through an intermediary who will be responsible for protecting small investors and imposing an annual limit of how much money an individual investor may donate.
The BEST report to gain perspective on all sides of the media (bye bias!)
(ENTREPRENEUR) We all want to stay informed, but American media has both obvious bias and hidden agendas. Sign up for these reports to see all sides.
Especially near elections, politically-charged business decisions, and on highly controversial topics, it’s hard to find non-bias media nowadays. Every news site or TV show seems to have a hidden agenda, but this new report aims to show all sides.
Ground News aims to give readers an opportunity to reduce their own media bias by aggregating news from many different sources in a way to showcase stories across the political spectrum. The Blindspot Report identifies news stories from both sides of the arena, helping readers see how bias is impacting the information they receive. This newsletter can give you a different perspective to understand both sides of the issue.
Is media bias even a thing?
Technology may have revolutionized the way we share information, but it has also exacerbated the divide between different views. Americans seem to be more polarized than ever before. It feels as if there isn’t any common ground for civil discourse. Although most Americans are getting better at identifying fake news, media bias often gives us a slanted perspective on the news. Media bias occurs when journalists or producers allow their own opinions to impact the way they report the news. A study out of UCLA found that media bias is real. When you get all your news from one source, you may not be getting the entire picture.
Sign up for the Blindspot Report
We’re all biased, regardless of where you sit on the political spectrum. We want information that supports our morals and ethics. We want someone to confirm what we believe. It’s human nature to want to listen to people who agree with us. Reading alternate sources to get your news isn’t about changing your own point of view. It’s about helping you compare different perspectives to let you think more clearly.
Ground News has three newsletters that help you stay informed. Sign up for the Blindspot Report to see what you’re missing.
Small businesses angry at depletion of COVID-19 relief funds without warning
(ENTREPRENEUR) Small businesses are in shock when they find out COVID-19 relief funds are no longer available, with an email update from the SBA.
In May, the Small Business Administration (SBA) sent out an update to borrowers of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) for COVID-19 relief. The EIDL program is now out of funds, according to an email sent to borrowers.
The loan program formally closed back in December 2021, but there was a period when small businesses who had already received funding could request additional money. That period is now officially over, and the $345 billion that was allotted for COVID-19 relief is gone.
The impact of EIDL
Many owners and entrepreneurs are outraged and frustrated with the lack of transparency from the SBA. There was no warning that the funds were almost depleted and many businesses were relying on that loan money to keep their businesses afloat as the economy rebounds. However, SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman praised the program,
“The SBA has delivered historic economic relief to millions of America’s small businesses through the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan program…”
According to an SBA press release, over $390 billion in aid was distributed to nearly 4 million businesses.
Small businesses still need help
In May, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), told health ministers that COVID-19 and its effects are not over. Here in the United States, life seems to be getting back to normal, if you discount the horrific inflation and gas prices, which are further impacting the recovery of small businesses.
Congress has been wrangling with legislation (H.R. 3807) that would offer more funding for those that were hit hard due to covid. Getting the House and Senate to agree on this legislation is expected to be difficult. So, no guarantees that more help is coming.
The SBA recommends that businesses who need more resources contact their local SBA office. Virtual appointments can be made for those who wish to avoid contact.
Regularly update your succession plan – it isn’t for setting and forgetting!
(ENTREPRENEUR) You may think that once you have a succession plan in place, you’re set for life, however, it’s recommended to continually update them!
We’ve written before about how the everlasting success of the business will need to outlive you, and this is best conjured up in a succession plan. This is especially true for small business owners and entrepreneurs that have built an empire for themselves but aren’t sure what the future will hold beyond their passing. This is the exact reason that succession plans shouldn’t be set and forgotten, but instead consistently updated.
What are some of the obvious reasons that you may need to update your succession plan?
- Health Issues
- Marriage or Remarriage
- Changes in health in executors or guardians
- Changes in the law
- Changes in Residence
Now, for the not-so-obvious reason: It should be updated when any personal circumstances changes, which most likely happen often. This is why a will is like your home, an investment that needs to be properly maintained, and if it is, it will last a very long time.
Examples include changes in economic or parental status, as well as designations or fiduciaries. Elders could be aging, siblings may be having their own life changes, as well as if any dependents are born with or develop special needs.
“Every state has different laws regarding the administration of a will,” he said.?“For instance, states vary regarding the required residence of an executor, inheritance tax laws, and whether a child can be disinherited by omission.”
The recommended procedure is to review wills and powers of attorney at least every five years.
Lastly, when should a will update to a trust?
- When you have some significant assets (more than $500,000) in your own name.
- If you have special needs beneficiaries.
- If you have properties in multiple jurisdictions (multiple states or even counties).
- If you have beneficiaries you want to control distributions to (e.g., distribute at ages 25/30/35).
- If you have kids from a previous relationship you want taken care of.
- If you may want asset protection (special trust needed).
- If you are a big dog (over $22M if married), to save taxes.
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