August 4, 2000

Business Notes:

OPIC Expands Small Business Training Program on Internet

WASHINGTON, D.C. - George Muñoz, President and CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), announced today (July 31) a new Internet training program to help small businesses enter emerging markets worldwide with the support of OPIC financial services.

"Access to capital is critical for small businesses looking to compete in the global marketplace," Muñoz said. "OPIC is making this access easier by bringing information about OPIC's financial services directly to small businesses through this web-based interactive training program."

OPIC's interactive small business training program provides information about OPIC finance services and insurance. Linked to the home page of OPIC's website (, the new program actively engages viewers with a series of question-and-answer forums and relevant contact and registration information. The new finance component answers basic questions about eligibility, loan products and structures, OPIC investment funds, fees, collateral and security, underwriting criteria and the application process.

"While OPIC's interactive training will be a valuable resource for small businesses," Muñoz concluded, "I hope that colleges, universities and the entire business community will also utilize this Internet program and our award-winning website to learn about OPIC's services. OPIC remains committed to utilizing technology to reach the widest possible audience for our products, services and activities."

OPIC is a self-sustaining federal agency that sells investment services to small, medium and large American businesses expanding into some 140 developing nations and emerging markets around the world. OPIC's political risk insurance, project finance and investment funds fill a commercial void, create a level playing field for U.S. businesses and support development in emerging economies. Since 1971, OPIC has supported nearly $130 billion worth of investments that will generate over $61 billion in U.S. exports and create or support more than 242,000 American jobs.

SBA Forges Outreach Partnership with Florist Retailers

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) today formed a partnership with the major floral industry retail organization to join forces to encourage small business development and growth.

SBA Administrator Aida Alvarez signed a partnership agreement with John Looby, III, president of the Florists' Transworld Delivery Association (FTDA) at the group's annual conference in Las

The agreement is designed to increase opportunities for existing small businesses and start-ups in the retail floral industry.

"Most florists are small business owners," said Administrator Alvarez. "This agreement establishes a collaborative effort between the SBA and the FTDA to help small businesses flower and bloom through the outreach efforts of our 70 SBA field offices throughout the country." Under the terms of the agreement, SBA and FTDA will undertake a comprehensive outreach campaign to encourage start-up entrepreneurship in the retail floral industry.

SBA will provide program materials for FTDA to guide small business owners to agency programs and services, including business-plan development; loan prequalification; surety bonding, and financing, including such SBA loan and equity programs as Micro-loans, LowDoc, SBAExpress, CommunityExpress and the Small Business Investment Company programs. In addition, the two partners will promote SBA programs and technical services.

Finally, SBA and FTDA are committed to provide greater access to federal government procurement opportunities for small businesses, including the 8(a) and HUBZone programs, and the PRO-Net(r) database of federal procurement offerings.

For more information about all of SBA's programs for small businesses, call the SBA Answer Desk at 1-800-U ASK SBA, or visit the SBA's extensive Web site at


Latino Builders Industry Association Awarded Contract For Emerging Business Outreach

San Diego Unified School District has contracted with the Latino Builders Industry Association (LBIA) to develop a small business outreach program for Proposition MM. The one-year contract will help the District reach small, emerging and underutilized businesses with information and assistance about contracting opportunities with the District.

The passage of Prop. MM resulted in a substantial increase in the number of public works and construction projects to be undertaken by the District over the next eight years. The District has contracted with LBIA in order to benefit from the largest possible contracting base and create contracting opportunities for small, emerging and underutilized businesses in the San Diego area. LBIA will also help local firms participate in the District's procurement process for goods and services.

Prop. MM is a $1.5 billion general obligation bond, passed in November 1998, by 78.5 percent of voters in the San Diego Unified School District.

LBIA is a non-profit association that was founded in 1992 to create diversity in the San Diego construction industry through contractor outreach and technical assistance programs.

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