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Deal gives new life to two R&D money programs

The U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate agreed to reauthorize two key federal initiatives that provide government research and development funds to small businesses, resolving a three-year battle over their future, according to several reports, including this one in the New York Times, this one in the Washington Post, this one at BloombergBusinessWeek, and this one at Entrepreneur.com.

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The two initiatives -- the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (SBTT) program -- require government agencies to set aside a portion of their annual research budgets to small businesses aiming to create and commercialize technology innovations that benefit federal agencies, according to the reports.

Last year, the SBIR distributed about $2.5-billion, while the STTR distributed about $193-million, according to Entrepreneur.

The programs have been successful for more than three decades, but were set to expire at the end of this week. The new compromise deal between the House and Senate will both extend and expand the programs.

Among the changes, the programs will be continued for six years, allow greater participation among small businesses majority-owned by ventural capital firms, which had been a point of contention, and provide more funds, by boosting the allocation requirements.





























Commercial lending to Canadian small businesses up: report

Commercial lending to small and medium sized businesses in Canada rose in the third quarter, according to PayNet Inc.'s Canadian Business Lending Index, Reuters reports.

The index, which tracks bank and non-bank lending to thousands of small and mid-sized companies, rose 6 per cent from the second quarter and 13 per cent year over year, according to the Reuters report, marking the first quarter of year-over-year double-digit growth since early 2008 and the biggest quarterly jump since the start of 2007.

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"There's some underlying strength here that's not being reported elsewhere," PayNet president and founder William Phelan was quoted as saying. "It's not showing up in the sentiment indices, it's not showing up in the stock market but it is showing up in this very large portion of the GDP for the Canadian economy."

Entrepreneur ranks top franchise opportunities

Entrepreneur magazine has published its annual list of the top franchising opportunities. Topping the list for the second year was Hampton Hotels, followed by Subway, 7-Eleven, Servpro and Days Inn.

While the list focuses on U.S.-based franchises, it also lists North American companies seeking international franchisees, includes information about business in Canada, and, according to how the list was put together, also included Canadian companies. Have a closer look to see where Canada fits in and what opportunities might be open to Canadians.

EVENTS AND KEY DATES

Venture London business competition

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Pitch a business plan to Venture London, a business competition to foster entrepreneurship in the city, with $50,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs. The deadline for business plan subission is Feb. 9, 2012; winners will be announced in April. For more information, click here.

Google fellowship

Applications are now open for the Google Policy Fellowship program, which offers an opportunity to students with a passion for techology to spend next summer diving into Internet policy. Fellows will work at public interest organizations at the forefront of debate on the subject; participating organizations are in a range of places, including Ottawa and Toronto. Fellows will receive a $7,500 stipend for 10 weeks of work next summer. For more details, click here.

Sprout Up meet-up

Sprout Up, a monthly event for entrepreneurs "to gather and mind-meld" in a variety of cities holds its next event in Toronto on Jan. 31. Guest speaker will be serial entrepreneur Dan Martell. For more information, click here.

EDITOR'S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

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12 craft brewers shaking up the industry

Meet the new generation of brewers whose daring flavours and surging sales are shaking up the industry.

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

Dealers or franchisees: how to choose

Dealerships aren't a new concept but the model often takes a back seat to franchising, a more popular way of expanding a business, wrote Bryan Borzykowski, in a July story. Have a look back to compare the expansion strategies.

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