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auto-repair.jpgDetroit might be a bust, but auto repair shops are doing just fine, according to small business data tracker BizEquity.

The firm states that repair and maintenance facilities have grown in value since mid-year 2008, by $4.578 billion and $1.321 billion respectively. Compare that to a nearly $8 billion deflation for new car dealers since mid-year, according to BizEquity.

The firm states there are 717,712 small businesses in the auto industry worth more than $123 billion. It appears that, as people avoid buying new cars, they're keeping what they have tuned up and ready for the road.

online-vc-search.jpgNew York-based Angelsoft recently announced a new online tool that will allow users to search for venture capital firms as well as angel investors, TechCrunch reports

The new tool allows startups to look at 1,000 venture capital firms, seek out 400 angel-investment groups and access more than 15,000 total investors worldwide.

With Angelsoft's online service, entrepreneurs can find out about investors usual funding levels, what industries they prefer, how many applicants they usually see and what kind of money they've seeded in the past.

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week-baby.jpgIn New Regulations Impact Toy Makers, inventions expert Tamara Monosoff writes about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and how the regulations will affect toy and children's products manufacturers.

If you're thinking about starting a business now, you may want to read Jennifer Grzeskowiak's Are These Businesses Still a Good Idea?, first. Businesses that made the hot lists two years ago are fizzling out as consumer spending slows. Shoppers are shaving off excessive buys, so think twice before starting an upscale baby boutique store or a pet pampering service.

crossloop.jpgI don't think I've made it any real secret that I'm technologically inept when it comes to the problems of my computer. In fact, I sometimes have small problems with appliances, too. I burn my microwaveable pizza 80 percent of the time at work and stuck a knife in the toaster well after puberty.

So when someone pitches me something tech, I usually try to pass it off to other people. Let them figure out the order of what appears to be sporadic letters and numbers to me.

100-biz-books-all-time.jpgA business book landed on my desk recently. But it's not just any business book. It's a business book about business books. More specifically, it's a business book about only the very best business books. It's The 100 Best Business Books of All Time.

According to the book jacket, more than 11,000 business titles are published every year, just in the U.S. The accompanying media kit goes on to say that those books comprise a stack nine stories high and contain 880 million words--only half of which are "outside the box."

gen-y-rock-on.jpgConventional wisdom says employees with prior work experience are much better hires than those without. Experienced workers are obviously better all-around because they bring with them valuable knowledge and require less hand-holding. Well, not so fast. New evidence reveals there are unforeseen costs to experience, even if the positives ultimately outweigh the negatives.

According to research by business school professors Steffanie Wilk (Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business), Gina Dokko (New York University's Stern School of Business) and Nancy Rothbard (University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business), experienced workers may actually retain bad habits from former jobs that hurt performance in their new workplaces.

pwmg.jpgLast week, Pete Wiltjer had just begun to test the crowdsourcing waters in the search for his company's new logo. By the next day, he was surfing a tidal wave of more than 250 submissions.

The high response rate was no accident--Wiltjer even got a pat on the back from the guys at CrowdSPRING for his performance. "One of the things I did right was filling out a very detailed project plan at the beginning and making sure to engage the designers and ask a lot of questions," he says.

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American small businessses shed 262,000 jobs last month, according to a report (PDF) issued today. The ADP Small Business Report surveys American operations that have less than 50 employees and states that February job losses for entrepreneurial operations were worse than those in January.

The service sector alone lost 146,000 positions while the "goods-producing sector" of small business let go of 116,000 people, according to ADP. Medium-sized businesses (those with more than 50 and less than 500 employees) downsized by 314,000 positions.

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With the stated goal of generating up to $1 trillion in lending for businesses and households, the Federal Reserve and Department of the Treasury have rolled out their plan to lend up to $200 billion by the end of the month. Part of the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (the bigger the program, the more words allotted to it), the cash infusion is aimed at "eligible owners of certain AAA-rated asset-backed securities backed by newly and recently originated auto loans, credit card loans, student loans and SBA-guaranteed small-business loans."

That's good news for small-biz owners, even if the money is coming in a roundabout way.

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Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who's up for reelection tomorrow, recently spoke with a group of journalists, inlcuding Entrepreneur magazine, about the economic state of his city.

The mayor, who has no major challengers and is widely believed to be a shoo-in for reelection, vowed to continue to make L.A. a business-friendly city.

"I want to connect every initiative we're doing around jobs and economic development," he told reporters at a one-hour roundtable organized by CCNMA: Latino Journalists of California.

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Our March issue is now available online. Check it out. On the website, we're giving you inspiring entrepreneurs of all ages. Take PM Tenore, founder of RVCA, in Elizabeth Wilson's article, "RVCA: A Brand Like No Other." Tenore opened his first business at age 19, as he took his love for surfing and coupled it with a drive to learn clothing design. Now 35, he's created a clothing empire with art, music, surfers, skaters and models. He's created a RVCA culture all his own in his Costa Mesa, Calif., headquarters.

In "Entrepreneurs Remix the iPhone App," Dennis Romero writes about 37-year-old Michael Breidenbruecker--one of the tech-savvy bunch opening the flood gates of third-party apps for the iPhone. Breidenbruecker has created a reactive app that changes music according to how the user moves, exploiting the iPhone's musical capabilities and pushing the boundaries of this burgeoning entrepreneurial opportunity.

wahoo-fish-taco.jpgI don't get invited to many special events.

No, no, it's true. I know you think us bloggers regularly win dance competitions and date socialites on and off, and sometimes spend weekends in the Hamptons. But for the most part, that's all just myth. Really cool, awesome myths.

So when Sarah Unke of Echo Media Group invited me to "Wahoo's Fish Taco 20-Year Milestone Event," my breathing pattern changed. I was going to be like a freshman attending prom with a senior. To calm my nerves, I decided to bring along James Park, research editor here at Entrepreneur.

Though I am only 23, I sometimes feel very much out of touch with hip events. Where are my dress shoes? Should I score myself a cummerbund? Do people under 30 still wear bow-ties?

capt-kirk.jpgAt the start of every episode of the original Star Trek, Captain James T. Kirk would intone, "Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before."

Space exploration seems about as irrelevant as you can get when the global economic crisis is sinking industries left and right, but when speaking about the recession, President Obama often refers to the power of imagination and his belief that unflagging entrepreneurial spirit will offer a path to recovery and future prosperity. In my mind, the individuals involved in private space exploration are closer than anyone else to embodying that notion in its purest form.

green-expo.jpgThere's nothing quite like a room full of entrepreneurs to lift one's spirits. Just when stock market lows were getting me down and doubts about how helpful the Economic Stimulus Plan would actually be for entrepreneurs were sinking in, I shut off the computer and headed to the Green Product Expo in NYC. There, I reveled in the energy and optimism of entrepreneurs. Never mind that they're in the thick of things, serving as the first line of defense where they're personally battling it out with the credit crunch and nervous, price-conscious consumers.

In that room, on the fourth floor of the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, I soaked in the entrepreneurial spirit and felt protected somehow from what was happening on the other side of the door.

pete-wiltjer.jpgWhen we last left Pete Wiltjer, he was getting ready to part ways with his old company's logo as the first step in his total brand overhaul. As for the first step in the logo design process, Wiltjer's decided to wade into the crowdsourcing pool.

It's a practice he's suggested to many of his public relations clients, but it's the first time he's ever used it in his own business "There's a little trepidation because you don't actually get to sit down with the designer."