From the September 1999 issue of Entrepreneur

Companies in the recycling, remanufacturing and environmental industries that create jobs in rural and urban economically distressed areas can apply for financing of $50,000 to $1 million from the Sustainable Jobs Fund (SJF). Targeting firms in the Eastern United States, this fund offers seed, expansion and growth capital to entrepreneurs who will create quality jobs in areas that haven't benefited from the nation's economic boom.

According to co-founder and managing director David Kirkpatrick, the investment provided is "patient" capital that can be either subordinated debt, royalty debt or straight equity, and no repayments are required during the first year. Typically, repayment is done over five to six years, with an interest rate in the low 20 percent range.

To be eligible, companies should have strong growth potential and well-thought-out business plans. Ideally, fund managers would like the firm to be considering opening additional branches, but that isn't a requirement. For information about SJF, call (919) 933-6059.

Pennsylvania

If it's a high-tech resource, it's on this map.

Entrepreneurs looking to move to or start a business in Pennsylvania can now find out about the state's technology infrastructure, including fiber-optic systems, videoconferencing facilities, microwave towers, ISPs and even related educational locations, thanks to the new Technology Atlas from the governor's Office for Information Technology.

This computer database--which is maintained and updated by the staff of the University of Pittsburgh--allows users to download and print customized maps showing the locations of those technology resources. The database is updated continuously to reflect changes in the technology landscape. Users can access the atlas at http://www.technology.state.pa.us/atlas You can also order a free copy of the atlas database on CD-ROM by calling (717) 705-INFO.

Federal Contracts

Database finds the right entrepreneur for any contract and the right contract for you.

Minority-owned firms that want to sell to the government can do so more easily if they're registered on Phoenix. This database is maintained by the Department of Commerce's Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and is open to start-up and existing firms.

Once you register, MBDA automatically evaluates incoming contract solicitations for suitability to your company and notifies you of matches. The registration and matching services are free. Phoenix can be accessed at http://www.mbda.gov, but before beginning the online registration process, review the "about Phoenix" section for the information you'll need prior to beginning.

California

Learn to turn your ideas into products.

Would-be inventors in Southern California who want to meet like-minded individuals can attend monthly meetings of the The Idea Club in Pomona. The 6-year-old Ontario-based support group, founded by inventor Dumas Martin Jr. and entrepreneur and insurance broker Eleanora O. Murph, provides a forum for learning the basics of how to protect, market and sell your inventions.

Each two-and-a-half-hour meeting features a brief discussion by Martin on different aspects of the invention process, an introduction of the club's members, and a presentation by professionals on topics ranging from marketing to investing.

Membership costs $95 per year and entitles entrepreneurs to attend all meetings; the price also includes a copy of the club's self-published book The ABCs of Entrepreneurial Inventing.

In addition to holding meetings, The Idea Club has established partnerships with business entities in the area and can refer members for information on loans, business plans and more. Martin also answers inquiries by phone and offers limited mentoring via e-mail.

For information, call (909) 629-4739 or log on to www.theideaclub.com