NEW YORK (
) -- What's happening in small business today?
1. Research In Motion unveils new BlackBerry.
Research In Motion
( RIMM), the troubled company marred by the success of the
iPhone, hosts its eagerly awaited
Apple has made its mobile devices user friendly for small-business owners who are busy running their businesses. Will you be taking the leap from Apple to BlackBerry?
2. SBA Hurricane Sandy loan approvals surpass $1 billion as Congress makes additional funds available for recovery.
About 90 days after Hurricane Sandy, the U.S. Small Business Administration has approved more than $1.1 billion in disaster loans to 16,800 residents and businesses in the federally declared states affected by the storm.
SBA's disaster loan program
figure comes as Congress passed emergency legislation late Monday in the form of a
for storm victims. Of that, $799 million will be added to SBA's disaster-assistance budget to help meet the demand for loans from Hurricane Sandy and future disasters.
"Getting money into the hands of individuals and businesses in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy continues to be one of our top priorities," said SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills. "My pledge to those affected by the hurricane is that SBA, working together with our local and federal partners, will help you rebuild. I am pleased Congress took the important step of appropriating much-needed funds to help us keep our promise."
The supplemental appropriations will be broken down as such:
- $520 million for disaster loan subsidy costs, which would support $5 billion in SBA low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses and non-profit organizations;
- $249 million to cover the administrative costs of SBA disaster loan making and servicing;
- $20 million to support SBA's resource partners -- the Small Business Development Centers, SCORE, Women's and Veterans Business Development Centers -- as they provide assistance to businesses rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy;
- $10 million for additional administrative expenses, which include IT security and financial-management costs related to SBA's Hurricane Sandy response.
Hurricane Sandy is the third-largest disaster in U.S. history, followed by Hurricanes Katrina/Rita/Wilma (Aug./Sept. 2005, $10.8 billion) and the Northridge (CA) earthquake (Jan. 1994, $4 billion).
3. Angie's List and Square partner for mobile payments.
has announced plans to partner with mobile-payments provider
to enable its small businesses to use mobile payments while in the field, as part of the list of services offered via the Angie's List Business Center mobile app.
The Angie's List Business Center app allows companies to seamlessly accept payments in the field, track e-commerce purchases, create invoices and respond to member reviews as soon as they appear online. Merchants will also have access to free analytics reports, which can be used to make important business decisions,
"Whether on site or at a customer's home, people will now have a fast, reliable way to accept payments. With Square, Angie's List businesses can focus their time and energy on what really matters -- doing great work," said Square co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey. "We're proud to work with Angie's List to make life easier for businesses of all sizes."
Square offers a free credit card reader that allows anyone to accept credit cards anywhere. Businesses pay one simple transaction rate of 2.75% per swipe, with no hidden fees. Funds from swiped payments are typically available the next business day, eliminating the wait for cash flow.
-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.
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