From the February 1999 issue of Entrepreneur

New England -- Entrepreneurs located in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island can now go to the bank for one more service--group health insurance. BankBoston is one of the first large financial institutions to begin offering health insurance to small businesses.

BancBoston Insurance Agency Inc., the bank's subsidiary, is now offering group health insurance in partnership with the Small Business Service Bureau Inc. to small-business customers with at least one employee. Entrepreneurs can choose from one of nine HMO providers, depending on the company's location, and premiums will be automatically deducted from their account at BankBoston.

For more information on the services offered by BancBoston Insurance Agency, call (888) 638-5500 or visit your local branch.

Programs Help State's Start-Ups

Iowa -- Iowa businesses involved in fast-growth industries can apply for start-up or expansion capital through two programs designed to encourage business growth and job creation in the Hawkeye State.

The Entrepreneurial Ventures Assistance (EVA) program offers business owners who have or are in entrepreneurial training from a John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center or the equivalent up to $20,000 for a specific project.

Firms must be located in Iowa and working in biotechnology; recycling; software development or computer-related products; advanced materials such as powdered metals; advanced manufacturing; or medical or surgical instruments. Businesses outside these sectors are also eligible but must provide strong rationale for how their industry enhances Iowa's economy. Businesses working in retail sales, health-care provision or product-distribution are ineligible.

Entrepreneurs needing more than $20,000 may apply for an equity-like investment of up to $100,000 through the Venture Project, which is part of Iowa's Community Economic Betterment Account.

For more information about EVA, call Georgia Soliday at (515) 242-4793; for details on the Venture Project, call Ken Boyd at (515) 242-4819.

Incubator Targets Newly Hatched Tech Firms

Los Angeles -- Fledgling business owners interested in a nurturing environment in which to grow their businesses can apply for tenancy at the Interactive Multitainment Advanced Technology Center, a technology and marketing incubator in Los Angeles.

Companies in the multimedia, software or Internet industries are eligible, as are companies involved in developing technologies for such sectors as security and manufacturing. The center is targeting start-up firms and established businesses that need help to grow.

Initially, the incubator will accept 10 to 30 companies. It plans to provide Internet access, traditional technical assistance and marketing help.

According to Tonia McDonald, president of Global Business Incubation Inc., the nonprofit corporation developing the incubator in cooperation with the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency, the incubator will teach teams of 18- to 24-year-olds how to market to corporations the services and products developed by incubator clients.

The incubator should open in the late spring. For additional information, e-mail info@cyberparkusa.com or call (213) 689-4424.

Awards And Rewards

National -- The Hammacher Schlemmer Search for Invention 99
Retailer Hammacher Schlemmer is offering inventors with unmarketed patents chances to win a $5,000 grant or one of four $1,000 grants.

The patent must be for an original item and can't be a modification of an existing product. Applications will be accepted from February 1 through May 16. Semi-finalists must then submit either a working or nonworking prototype for final judging.

For further details and a Search for Invention Kit, call (773) INVENT-1 or visit http://www.hammacher.com

National -- Evan Kemp Entrepreneurship Award
The President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities is looking for entrepreneurs with disabilities who have distinguished themselves in establishing and operating a successful business. In addition to national recognition, the winner will receive a plaque and the cost of travel to the awards ceremony in Washington, DC.

The deadline to submit a nomination is March 1. For more information or to obtain an application, visit the agency's Web site at http://www.pcepd.gov or call (202) 376-6200.

Contact Sources

BankBoston, http://www.bankboston.com

Iowa Department of Economic Development, 200 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50309