From the February 1997 issue of Entrepreneur

Business Skills And Training Programs Offered

California small-business owners who are adversely affected by foreign competition, are suffering because of military base closures, want more business training to help them grow their companies and thus add more jobs, or who demonstrate a shortage of trained employees in their industries can benefit from programs sponsored by the Employment Training Panel.

The Employment Training Panel provides funding for an entrepreneurial training program, in which small-business owners learn business management and related skills such as accounting, taxes and marketing.

Business owners can also apply to the panel for funds to help train employees. The training program must provide at least 40 hours of instruction and lead to permanent positions.

For other criteria, contact the Employment Training Panel office at (916) 327-5262, or call to ask about attending one of the free monthly orientation programs held in North Hollywood, San Mateo, Sacramento and San Diego.

Colorado

State Puts Loan Money Behind Recycling Efforts

When the rubber gets too old to hit the road in Colorado, a loan program steps in to help small businesses take those worn tires and find other uses for them.

At the end of October 1996, the Tire Recycling Program had collected about $4.6 million by assessing a $1 fee on each consumer who purchased new tires and left the old ones behind. A little less than half that amount remains available for business loans of up to $250,000 for equipment, real estate or working capital.

Start-up and existing for-profit or nonprofit firms that can prove they want to or do reuse waste products such as paper, plastic, cardboard and tires are eligible to apply for loans. Entrepreneurs can apply any time; loan applications are evaluated monthly. For more information, contact the Colorado Housing
and Finance Authority at (303) 297-7329.

National

Centers Aid Patent Searches

Researching copyrights and trademarks just got a little easier--and cheaper--thanks to the Great Lakes Patent and Trademark Center in Detroit and the Sunnyvale Center for Innovations, Inventions and Ideas (SCI3) in Sunnyvale, California.

Operating in partnership with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, these two centers offer a full collection of patents and patent images dating back to 1790, as well as a service called X-Search that allows online searches of trademarks. In addition, the centers can get copies of international patents or copies of documents from the patent office. Individuals who need to talk with a patent examiner can use the centers' videoconferencing facilities.

The centers also hold seminars and classes, provide updated information on patents and trademarks, and enable users to file disclosure documents directly with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Most services are fee-based, but the centers provide basic information about patent searches and protecting an invention for free. Call the Detroit center at (800) 547-0619 or (313) 833-3379 and the Sunnyvale location at (408) 730-7290.

U.S. And Canada

Scholarships Available To Business Owners' Kids

Financial and tax consulting franchise Padgett Business Services has found another way to service its clients and their communities: The company will award more than $50,000 in scholarships this year to small-business owners' dependents throughout the United States and Canada.

"Unlike employees of large corporations, many of which have scholarship programs already in place, small-business owners have the added challenge of putting their children through school," says company chairman Dan Sautner. "Given the cost of education today, [we feel] this scholarship program is just one example of our dedication to serving our clients and community."

Since the scholarship program began in 1990, Padgett has awarded more than $150,000 in aid to students.

This year, each of the more than 150 participating Padgett franchisees will contribute one $500 scholarship, and Padgett headquarters will award a $4,000 grand prize. Regional winners will be notified in May, and one of these recipients will be awarded the grand prize in July.

Applicants must be graduating seniors planning to attend accredited post-secondary institutions and be dependents of small-business owners who employ fewer than 20 people, own at least 10 percent of their businesses and are active in daily operations. Applications must be received by the Padgett home office by March 1. For more information, call (800) PADGETT or write Padgett Business Services Scholarship Program, 160 Hawthorne Park, Athens, GA 30606. --Lourdes Aguila

Contact Sources

Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, 1981 Blake St., Denver, CO 80202, (303) 297-7329;

Employment Training Panel, 1100 J St., 4th Fl., Sacramento, CA 95814, (916) 327-5262;

Great Lakes Patent and Trademark Center, 5201 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202, (800) 547-0619, (313) 833-3379;

Padgett Business Services, 160 Hawthorne Park, Athens, GA 30606, (800) PADGETT;

Sunnyvale Center for Innovations, Inventions and Ideas, 465 S. Mathilda Ave., #300, Sunnyvale, CA 94086, (408) 730-7290.