NEW YORK (
) -- What's happening in small business today?
1. Warren Buffett weighs in on small business.
Aspiring entrepreneurs who were a part of the Goldman Sachs Foundation's "10,000 Small Businesses" program got a chance to hear words of wisdom from billionaire investor Warren Buffett, CEO of
at a community college in Cleveland last week. Buffett sits on the advisory council to the Goldman Sachs program. The Oracle of Omaha, known for his shrewd business acumen, said the key to success is satisfied customers, according to
2. Grocer gives store to employees.
A retiring grocery store owner in Minnesota is giving his 400 employees ownership of his three stores. Owner Joe Lueken, 70, chose not to accept any offers to sell to large national chains, but will transfer ownership to employees in an employee stock ownership plan, according to the
Lueken says the decision will be better for his family, for the business and for the community.
"My employees are largely responsible for any success I've had, and they deserve to get some of the benefits of that," Lueken tells the
. "You can't always take. You also have to give back."
The Lueken family will be paid off from the program in three to five years. Employees will be allotted shares based on longevity of service and salary. The shares will not cost anything to buy.
The idea grew out of discussions between Lueken and his sons, who are located elsewhere and are not interested in taking over the business.
"The whole move revolves around people, not things or money," says Jeff Lueken. "It's about allowing people to grow with the business and send their kids to college and have a great retirement, and even to express themselves at work."
3. The Small Business Administration is counseling businesses affected by the NHL lockout.
With the National Hockey League lockout approaching its fourth month and small businesses across the country on ice, the U.S. Small Business Administration is prepared to help. In the 23 cities that host NHL teams, SBA representatives will be reaching out over the coming weeks to business owners to provide counseling sessions and help businesses work through this difficult time.
"Small businesses are the backbone of our cities and towns and they should not have to sit in the penalty box," said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. "When massive work stoppages affect local businesses, the federal government must play a role in helping to ensure stability. Using our vast counseling network, SBA is prepared to coach small businesses until the crowds return."
Through resource partners like
Women's Business Centers
Veterans' Business Outreach Centers
, SBA has a network of over 14,000 counselors who are ready to lend a hand to small business owners in the affected areas.
-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.
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