NEW YORK (
) -- What's happening in small business today?
1. FireBigBird.com takes off.
Two student entrepreneurs quickly rode the tails of the firestorm Republican candidate Mitt Romney created over his debate comments regarding cutting funding to PBS and essentially firing Big Bird. University of North Carolina students Taylor Robinette and Andrew Bauer immediately got to work, snapping up the domain name,
and creating T-shirts, according to
The pair have created two different designs that sell for $20 a pop and are made by a local manufacturer. Bauer says while they originally intended to be a for-profit project, the pair realized the social media attention and quickly switched to a nonprofit model where they could "take advantage of the spotlight to make a social impact by donating all profits to the Make a Wish Foundation," Bauer wrote in an email to
on Friday. Sales from the T-shirts total $6,000 to date, according to Bauer.
"I am doing this not because I am particularly politically affiliated or politically involved. My partner Taylor Robinette and I maintain the same stance; this is a project created by a political gaffe for the purpose of spurring social change," Bauer writes. "We hope our project will inspire social entrepreneurs across the country. And to be honest, it's not the amount of orders that satiate us. It's the fact that we can imagine, as each dollar comes in, a boy with leukemia getting the funds to pursue a dream or a girl terminally ill can have a moment of happiness in a life filled with challenges and pain. "
2. One in four small-business owners do not have health insurance.
While there has been big discussion over whether Obamacare will stifle small-business expansion plans, what hasn't really been talked about is the few number of small-business owners themselves that will be forced to buy health insurance for themselves.
According to a report by the
, about 25% of small-business owners with fewer than 25 employees do not have health insurance for themselves. The business owners could face fines when Obamacare hits next year if they remain uninsured, says the
About 30% of small-business owners buy coverage from insurance companies on their own, while just 40% get job-based health insurance either from their own company or through a family member's employer, the article says.
There is some good news, according to the report. About 60% of entrepreneurs who buy private insurance are qualified for tax credits under the health-care reform act and 83% of those small-business owners who are uninsured would be eligible for subsidized coverage under the law, the article says.
3. Cash mob hits local Manhattan businesses.
The latest trend to support struggling local businesses through so-called cash mobs has hit Manhattan. Cash mobs are large groups of consumers arriving at the same venue at a specific time to purchase as much as its members can reasonably afford in an effort to support the business. The term is an offset to the "flash mob," a group of people that descend on a particular location to break out into a synchronized dance.
, a community outreach organization has recently started organizing cash mobs in Washington Heights, a part of uptown Manhattan, to support local businesses and artists.
"It just reached a tipping point," Upper Community Church pastor Reyn Cabinte told
. "We had to put a team together to do something."
The first cash mob supported a local artist, Inwood-based Will Alicea, best known as Will Teez. About 25 people packed into the back of a local café to purchase T-shirts and buttons made by the artist, the article says.
Many members then stayed for brunch or coffee to support the local café as well.
The cash mob plans to visit other stores in need of support in the area.
-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.
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