3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: April 17

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) - What's happening in small business today?

1. IFA's 2nd Small Business Lending Summit. The International Franchise Association, along with the Financial Services Roundtable, the Consumer Bankers Association and the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders have joined forces to host a day-long Small Business Lending Summit today. Six different panels will be held discussing ways to improve lending to small businesses. Industry experts and policy leaders will weigh in with remarks on access to credit and capital, veterans initiatives as well as views from the Obama administration.

Unfortunately there is no Webcast link, but follow the Twitter hashtag #sbls2012 to stay updated throughout the day on what's happening at the summit.

The IFA in partnership with BoeFly, an online matching service that connects small businesses with lenders, launched the IFA/BoeFly Franchise Lending Index at the summit. The monthly index is the first to assess the health of franchise lending.

The index is created from a monthly analysis of data from BoeFly's marketplace and franchise loan data from the Small Business Administration.

Franchise lending experienced a growth of 10.56% between February 2011 and February 2012. While there was a net gain during the 12-month period, there were many months seeing expansion and retraction.

"In developing the current index, we explored how borrowers were using credit to establish new franchise units or to refinance existing debt," says Mike Rozman, the co-president of BoeFly. "In the first two months of 2012, there was a meaningful shift in the direction away from new development."

Approximately 43% of approved loans in February were used to fund new businesses, down from 54.9% in January, he adds.

"Franchise owners continue to take advantage of record low interest rates to shore up their balance sheets. And, although those seeking more short-term job growth are likely disappointed that a greater percentage of financings aren't going to fund new formations, we are encouraged that franchise owners are better positioned for current profitability and therefore future, more secure growth," Rozman says.

2. Buffett Rule would have affected few small-business owners. The Senate voted down the so-called Buffet Rule on Monday, which would have raised taxes on the rich. If it had passed, it would have only affected 1% of small-business owners, according to CNNMoney , citing Treasury data.

Critics had complained that the Buffett rule would have affected small-business owners, many of whom file income on their personal tax returns. But federal data shows that only 1% of business owners have enough income to qualify for the rule, according to the Treasury's Office of Tax Analysis, which reviewed filings in 2007, CNNMoney says. .

3. Tell your story to the SBA for a chance to be featured at National Small Business Week. The Small Business Administration is hosting a three-week contest for small-business owners to showcase their companies at the National Small Business Week 2012.

Through May 11, contestants can enter the contest by producing an original video, two minutes or less, that shares their story. The SBA says it is looking for "creative videos from small businesses that show how they have been helped by an SBA program or service."

The SBA is looking to raise awareness of the importance of its programs and the impact the small businesses that use them have in their local communities.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to: Laurie.Kulikowski@thestreet.com.

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