3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: April 24

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) - What's happening in small business today?

1. How to get a cash mob into your store. A movement is underway to bring so-called cash mobs to local businesses across the country. Cash mobs are modeled like "flash mobs," but instead of a group of people breaking out into synchronized dance in a train station, they visit a struggling small business and boost sales by agreeing to spend at least $20 at that retailer.

So how can you get your store on the cash mob visitation list?

While most of the details are kept quiet until the day of the event, you will have a better chance of being nominated if your business is visible and a strong part of your community, says The Houston Chronicle's website, Chron.com.

You can also gather other local businesses together to let event organizers know you're interested in having a cash mob select your area. Nominate other businesses to get the community used to the idea of a cash mob and perhaps yours will be next, the article says.

2. Sam Adams' Brewing the American Dream is expanding nationally. Jim Koch, founder of Boston Beer Company , the maker of Sam Adams, is expanding its Brewing the American Dream financing program nationwide to help small businesses in the hospitality and food and beverage industries.

The program facilitates microloans and coaching/mentoring and educational resources to business owners who find it difficult to access the capital and guidance needed to sustain and grow their businesses, according to a press release on Tuesday.

With the national expansion, Koch is looking to extend more than $1 million in loans. The loans will be funded by Accion, the country's only nationwide micro-lender. Accion provides affordable financing and support to everyday businesses.

Brewing the American Dream has already provided more than $1 million in micro-financing to nearly 150 businesses, creating or saving nearly 1,000 jobs, it says.

"I think a large part of the program's success is due to our ability to offer in-depth expertise and advice that comes from living and breathing the food and beverage industry every day. We understand the challenges because we've been there; I've been there," Koch says. "From being turned down by banks 28 years ago when I was just starting out and desperately needed funding, to figuring out how to distribute my product, I know firsthand what these small business owners are going through and sincerely believe that Brewing the American Dream can help them overcome many of their obstacles."

3. The SBA is looking for more lenders to fund a pilot program. The Small Business Administration is looking to add more lenders to a program that will match small firms that have had difficulty obtaining financing.

The SBA's Intermediary Lending Pilot Program provides long-term loans of up to $200,000 to small businesses, according to the Associated Press.

The program was launched last year under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. At the time the SBA approved 20 so-called intermediary lenders in 15 states. The SBA is now taking applications for 20 more lenders, the AP says. These lenders receive a maximum of $1 million in SBA funding to help start-ups and small businesses.

The SBA hopes to have a maximum of 60 lenders in the program.

Businesses that want to borrow under the program must have been unable to obtain a loan elsewhere, but have the wherewithal to repay the loan, the AP says. However, unlike the SBA's 7(a) program, the small business or start-up does not have to show that it has personal financial resources that could be used to repay a loan, the article says.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

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