NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It's hard to think of anything else this week between the Boston Marathon bombings and the explosion of the fertilizer plant in Texas, but here's what happened in small business this week. 1. First-quarter venture capital funding drops. U.S. companies raised $6 billion from 752 venture capital deals in the first quarter of 2013, down 11% from the previous quarter. The number of deals also represents a 6% decrease in the same time period, according to Dow Jones Venture Source's quarterly report. The report includes data on the number of VC deals, funds raised, mergers and acquisitions and initial public offerings in the technology sector. The largest funding deals in the Internet and IT sector last quarter were Pinterest's $200 million raise and Living Social's $110 million raise, TechCrunch reports. But it was the health care sector that saw the largest investment allocation by sector with 162 deals raising $1.9 billion -- 30% of the total venture capital investment, the report found. Acquisition activity also declined last quarter. Total M&A dropped 44% to $4.3 billion compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. IPOs also fell by more than half. In the first three months of the year, nine venture-backed companies were able to raise $643 million through public offerings, down 55% from the year earlier, the report said. 2. Speaking of IPOs . . . Fairway went to the public markets. Shares of the growing supermarket chain Fairway ( FWM) surged 38% above its offering price on Wednesday, it's first day of trading as a public company. According to The Deal, TheStreet's sister publication, the stock added another 8.5% to value its market cap at more than $766 million on Thursday. Shares were rising 0.5% on Friday to $18.93. Seen as a competitor to Whole Foods ( WFM), Fairway is primarily using the proceeds for its expansion strategy, which includes building new stores. The supermarket retailer has 12 locations in the New York metropolitan area, with additional stores planned for Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood and for Nanuet, N.Y., both to open in 2013, the article said. 3. Sam Adams buys another round for small food and beer businesses. Boston Beer Co. ( SAM), the maker of Samuel Adams beer, is expanding its five-year-old initiative to help small businesses in the food and beverage industry with funding, coaching and other resources available from the craft brewery.
Known as Samuel Adams Brewing The American Dream, the program is adding $1 million in funding for microloans targeting about 100 new small businesses through its partnership with non-profit lender Accion. Companies, including other craft brewers, can apply for microloans ranging from $500 to $25,000. All loan payments are recycled back into the fund, according to an article by TheStreet. "When I started Sam Adams what would have been really helpful to me that I couldn't get
was loan money . . . even to get nuts and bolts business advice. Even for me with a Harvard MBA, I didn't know how to make a sales call or design a label or how to set up a payroll system. Those are things that 20 min with somebody who does that will prevent a lot of expensive mistakes," Boston Beer founder Jim Koch said. 4. Waiving the SBA-loan fees to banks is a "non-issue." The Small Business Administration's solution to the small-business loan drought is to waive the fees it charges banking institutions, including a one-time fee it charges and an annual fee for the guaranteed portion, according to The Agenda, a small-business blog on The New York Times Web site. But it's unclear whether eliminating the fees will spark new lending, considering banks usually pass those fees onto borrowers. "From our experience," Rohit Arora, CEO of Biz2Credit told the Times, "we have seen that streamlining the paperwork and the decision-making is more important." One article commentator, identified as Ron Miller of Philadelphia said: "I guess that's a start but more definitely needs to be done, I write business plans so I talk to people every day who are looking for small business loans. Waiving the SBA application fee is really a non-issue." 5. Delaware introduces benefit corporation legislation. Delaware was the latest state on Thursday to introduce legislation allowing companies to incorporate as so-called B Corps. there, according to a release by nonprofit organization B Labs. The legislation has bipartisan support and is expected to move quickly through both chambers to be signed into law in June. "A public benefit corporation is a for-profit corporation that is managed in a responsible and sustainable manner for the benefit not only of its stockholders but also for other societal interests. Current law requires corporations to prioritize the financial interests of shareholders over the interests of workers, communities, and the environment," B Labs said in the release.
The nonprofit organization is behind the movement to get all 50 states to allow the legal structure. B Labs currently offers a third-party "B Corp. certification" for companies in states that do not offer the legal structure. Today, there are 12 states that have passed B Corp. legislation, and 17 other states have introduced it this year. "Delaware's introduction of benefit corporation legislation is a tipping point in the acceleration of a global movement to redefine success in business," said Jay Coen Gilbert, co-founder of B Lab. The legislation "creates a clear path for social entrepreneurs, sustainable business leaders and impact investors to scale their businesses in the public capital markets." The move is significant given Delaware's already business friendly environment. More than 1 million business entities call Delaware their legal home, including 50% of all publicly traded companies and 64% of the Fortune 500, according to the release. "Delaware is rightfully recognized worldwide for its leading role in corporate law," Delaware Governor Jack Markell said in a release. "With the addition of public benefit corporations, Delaware will continue to be a leader and support a new movement of social entrepreneurs and investors who are stepping forward to meet high standards of corporate purpose, accountability and transparency." -- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York. Follow @LKulikowski To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to: Laurie.Kulikowski@thestreet.com. >To submit a news tip, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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