3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: January 31

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

1. Immigration overhaul may finally address America's brain drain. If U.S. immigration laws are left as is, it could cripple the nation's economic growth, given that an increasing number of immigrants - many educated at our country's most prestigious colleges -- are leaving the U.S. to start businesses elsewhere, according to CNNMoney .

U.S. Senators this week introduced a proposal to create a fast track to award green cards to foreign students in so-called STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math). Currently the system has quotas that limit individual countries to no more than 7% of all green cards, giving immigrants from tiny countries like Belgium a huge advantage over global giants such as China, the article says.

2. National Retail Federation expects modest Valentine's Day spending increase. Consumers apparently aren't looking to shell out much more for loved ones this Valentine's Day than they were last year. The NRF BIGinsights survey shows only a 4% increase in expected sales this year with the average person planning to spend $130.97 on candy, cards, gifts and other things. Total spending is expected to reach $18.6 billion, according to the retail trade association.

The survey found that more than one-quarter (26.3%) of those celebrating this year plan to shop for gifts online, up from 19.3% last year and the most in the survey's 10-year history. Other shoppers will seek out the perfect gift at discount stores (39.6%), department stores (33.2%), specialty stores (22.9%), floral shops (19.6%), jewelry stores (11.2%), specialty clothing stores (7.5%) and through catalogs (2.6%).

Additionally, four in 10 (40.7%) smartphone owners will use their handhelds to shop for gifts, and 46.9 percent of tablet owners will use their devices to purchase items, research gift ideas and more.

3. SCORE and Business Fundability create partnership. SCORE and Business Fundability, which provides small business commercial funding, credit development and funding-based education, will provide resources to aspiring and existing entrepreneurs who need access to financing.

"Business Fundability is proud to be an additional resource for SCORE and its mentors, in assisting their clients with accessing funding and growing their businesses," Business Fundability's CEO James Penny says.

Through the partnership, SCORE will provide its clients access to three Business Fundability tools.
  • A free online/on-demand business credit development workshop that provides important education to business owners on how they may unknowingly damage their personal credit, how to prevent this damage from occurring and protect their personal credit, how to build business credit and how to access commercial funding without over leveraging their personal credit.
  • Access to a free custom report showing the business owner where deficiencies exist in the business being fundable and how to make their business more fundable. The report also tells the business owner what commercial funding they may qualify for immediately.
  • Access to Business Fundability's online business-credit development tools that help owners correct fundability deficiencies, establish lender compliance and build credit in the name of their business.

"We have seen the positive results in a select group of SCORE chapters that have worked with Business Fundability and want to continue that success by broadening the reach of our relationship including the new webinars for our small business clients," says Bridget Weston Pollack, SCORE's director of marketing and communications.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

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

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