From the August 1999 issue of Entrepreneur

For those of you who want to recycle your product's waste materials instead of trash them, North Carolina's Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance has made finding a recycler of everything from food to textiles as simple as turning on your computer.

The Web-based Directory of Markets for Recyclable Materials (http://www.p2pays.org/dmrm) includes a list of companies that purchase recyclable materials and a history of each firm listed. Once you've found a potential buyer, contacting the company to negotiate payment and transportation is up to you.

In addition to information on North Carolina recyclers, the site includes links to industry trade groups and recycling markets in other states.

Minnesota

Angel networks target financing gap.

The Minnesota Investment Network Corp. is establishing up to 10 Regional Angel Investment Networks (RAINs) to serve Minnesota entrepreneurs located outside the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area. The networks of accredited angel investors will have capitalizations ranging from $500,000 to $1 million. Currently the Lake Venture group in Northwest Minnesota is the only RAIN operating; the other nine are expected to be up and running within the next two years.

The networks will invest in three kinds of companies: early-stage ventures needing seed money, start-ups with some sales, and small or midsized companies that have $5 million to $25 million in sales and need capital for expansion, a turnaround or an ownership change. All firms must either be located entirely in a rural area or have a strong presence (such as a manufacturing plant) there.

Individual RAINs are expected to invest $50,000 to $100,000 per company. Once all the networks are up and running, though, organizers anticipate some may join forces to make investments in the $250,000 to $1 million range.

For more information on RAINs, call (612)672-3474.

New York

Need help planning your business's move into the next generation?

To ensure your business survives into your successor's hands, the state of New York has created Ownership Transition Services (OTS) to help. OTS, a program of Empire State Development, the state's economic development agency, will assist entrepreneurs with succession planning by explaining all the available options, including mergers and acquisitions, estate planning, valuation, employee stock-option plans and more.

The process will start with a pre-screening interview to determine your company's needs, followed by a meeting with a consultant who will help determine your best path. These two sessions are free, but if you decide to have OTS create a written succession plan, the cost is $500.

The program is available to all businesses in New York. To find the OTS office nearest you, call (212)803-2401.

Federal Contracts

Who's buying? The USDA, and it needs practically everything.

Say U.S. Department of Agriculture, and most people think food. But when it comes to purchasing, this agency buys more than just wheat and corn. In fact, one-third of its $3 billion procurement budget is allocated to buying nonfood products. Among the items the USDA regularly purchases are pens, paper, computers, software, tents, shovels, airplanes, fuel and medical equipment.

Conforming to mandates that government agencies purchase more from small businesses, the USDA has set a goal of obtaining at least 45 percent of all its products from small firms and 5 percent each from woman-owned and disadvantaged businesses. To help small firms navigate the procurement waters, the USDA has set up an Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization.

For more information about selling to the USDA, call (202)720-7117 for a set of guidelines or download the information from the agency's Web site at http://www.usda.gov/da/smallbus/sbonline5.htm

Contact Source

Minnesota Investment Network Corp.,mincorp@mincorp.org