) -- What's happening in small business today?

1. Entrepreneurism's biggest supporter: AOL founder Steve Case.

Like a phoenix from the ashes of not only the largest U.S. merger ever but also one of the most criticized deals, Steve Case, the founder of



(he was in charge when it bought

Time Warner


for an astounding $160 billion) is now one of the nation's leading proponents on entrepreneurship, according to a lengthy profile in


. Case, through his


investment company, has backed innovation across a wide range of industries. He also has been up to bat on Capitol Hill to push legislation in support of small businesses.

Case often uses the word "disrupt" to describe innovative, game-changing small companies, the article says.

"That's because in Case's view, the best entrepreneur is one who throws custom to the wind, upsetting the established order of a given industry," the article says.

2. Goldman Sachs' inaugural Builders & Innovators Summit.

The three-day

inaugural Builders & Innovators Summit

conference this week in Newport Beach, Calif., was intended to bring together the top 100 innovators across industries.

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Report

CEO Lloyd Blankfein spoke at the conference this morning, with


reporting him saying: "The real asset of the United States is our entrepreneurs."

Check out what's happening at the conference on Twitter using the hashtag #GSBuild2012.

3. Predicting the next presidential candidate through ... Halloween masks and flip-flop sales.

Businesses across the U.S. are getting creative with their merchandise promotions by tying it to the presidential election.


on Wednesday suggested that based on sales of Halloween masks of President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, our president is about to get re-elected.

Spirit Halloween

, the country's largest seasonal Halloween retailer, came up with a "presidential index" based on the number of Halloween masks sold of each candidate. Obama masks have been outselling those of Mitt Romney 60% to 40%, the article says.

Flip-flop retail franchise

Flip Flop Shops

launched a line of presidential flip-flops in September. The flip-flops showed either a picture of Romney, a picture of Obama or one of each candidate. It too said it would use the sales of each pair as an informal poll on predicting the next president. The company has been reporting its results on its


page. According to the results, more Obama flip-flops have been bought (63%) than Romney flip-flops (37%).

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

Follow @LKulikowski

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