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ADA Workshops Slated

Is your business accessible to the disabled? With an estimated 9.6 percent of California's population consisting of people with disabilities, complying with the American With Disabilities Act (ADA)-and making sure this group feels welcome in your place of business-is no small matter. To clear up any confusion, the California American Women's Economic Development Crop. And the Department of Justice will visit community organizations such as chambers of commerce in January and February.

The one-hour presentation will teach entrepreneurs simple, cost-effective ways to make the workplace accessible to the disabled, and will explain how to avoid litigation, take advantage of tax incentives and find resources for assistance. For more information on the session nearest you, call (310) 983-3747.


Entrepreneurs Get Cooking In New Kitchen

Colorado specialty food producers, caterers, bakers and other food vendors now have a certified kitchen they can use to cook up a storm. Located in the Denver Enterprise Center incubator, the kitchen is available 24 hours a day and offers a full range of kitchen equipment including a gas stove, convection oven, walk-in refrigerator and dry storage space.

A kitchen manager is available weekdays from 8 to 5 to discuss product development, placement and the other ins and outs of producing and selling a food item. There is an hourly fee for kitchen time.

The center has made arrangements with the various agencies food sellers must deal with so all incubator clients have to do is speak directly with the health department for a license. The kitchen is open to any Colorado entrepreneur. For more information, call (303) 296-9400.


Panhandle Project Target Rural Youth

Small towns and rural communities in the United States know many of their young people will leave their areas due to inadequate employment opportunities. The Panhandle Youth Entrepreneurship Project, operating in an 11-county area of Nebraska, hopes to reverse that trend.

The program targets seventh-, eighth-, and ninth-grade students in Banner, Box Butte, Cheyenne, Dawes, Deuel, Garden, Kimball, Morrill, Scotts Bluff, Sheridan and Sioux countries, offering them the opportunity to develop their own business and obtain financing for it.

Business plans can be submitted to the Panhandle Youth Project by the 10th of each month up until March 10; a review committee will evaluate them for feasibility by the 25th of the same month. Students whose business plans are approved then make a presentation to a banker for a loan of $5 to $500. They must also invest their own money, equipment or expertise, and they must put up something they value as collateral.

In April, the young entrepreneurs will have a chance to showcase their business successes during a special expo.

The project office can provide a business plan outline, a list of questions the students will need to answer, and assistance in writing the plan. For more information on the project, contact coordinator Diana Harms at (308) 632-1367.


State And Federal Governments Form Export Partnerships

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) recently launched a new program to expedite the loan guarantee process for small and midsized firms involved in exporting.

The Working Capital Co-Guarantee Program is a one-year pilot effort operating in California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts and Minnesota that enables designated state export programs to approve guarantees on behalf of the federal government. This can shave weeks off the approval process and gives entrepreneurs an additional resource for financial backing.

Ex-Im Bank and the state will split between them 90 percent of a commercial working capital loan guarantee, with the remaining 10 percent of risk covered by the lender.

For more information, contact the California Export Finance Program, (714) 562-5519; the Florida Export Finance Corp., (305) 870-5027; the Georgia Export Finance Fund, (404) 657-1958; the Maryland Export Finance Program, (410) 767-6382; the Massachusetts Export Finance Authority, (617) 451-2477; and the Minnesota Export Finance Authority, (612) 297-4658.

Contact Sources

California American Woman's Economic Development Corp., 100 W. Broadway, #500, Long Beach, CA 90802, (310) 983-3747;

Denver Enterprise Center, 3003 Arapahoe St., Denver, CO 80205, (303) 296-9400;

Export-Import Bank of the United States, 811 Vermont Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20571, (202) 565-3200;

The Panhandle Youth Entrepreneurship Project, 4502 Ave. I, Scottsbluff, NE 69361, (308) 632-1367.

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