Small Business News from the New Rules Project


Misrepresenting Small Business
In this commentary for Business Week, the New Rules Project’s Stacy Mitchell argues that the two groups that have traditionally spoken for small business in Washington often push an agenda that only big business could love . READ MORE

Grassroots Financing is Underwriting a New Crop of Neighborhood Businesses
Securing a loan to open a new independent bookstore in Brooklyn looked like a long shot even before the financial crisis. After the meltdown, it seemed downright impossible.

Then business partners Jessica Stockton Bagnulo and Rebecca Fitting hit on an idea: they turned to neighbors and future customers to help finance the business, raising $70,000 in small loans in a few months.

Although no hard data exist, the number of businesses relying on their customers and neighbors for financing appears to be on the rise. Just as CSAs have played a key role in the rebirth of small-scale farms, so too may these new community-supported enterprise models help launch a new generation of independent grocers, bookstores, and other neighborhood businesses.   READ MORE

Why Does Target Have a Subsidiary in Bermuda?
Or, for that matter, why does Best Buy have one in the Republic of Mauritius? Tax avoidance might be the answer. A growing number of big corporations are using offshore tax havens to escape paying U.S. taxes. A recent estimate suggests big companies are dodging at least $37 billion a year — and, in so doing, gaining a significant competitive advantage over small businesses.

Until now, efforts in Congress to block companies from hiding profits overseas have been slow-going. But that’s changing thanks to a new coalition of small businesses that have come together to call on Congress to level the playing field.  READ MORE

Recent Headlines from our Community Banking Initiative

Federal Policy Threatens Local Banks, a Top Fed Official Says Taking Financial Reform into Our Own Hands

Credit Unions Hang Tough, See Surge in Deposits

Learn more about the New Rules Project’s Community Banking Initiative.

News Stories We’re Following

  • Meanwhile, the USDA reports that the number of actual farmers markets has more than doubled this decade to 6,132.
  • In what it calls an “ironic statement,” Urban Outfitters is opening a new store in Manhattan clad in a façade meant to look like a local bodega, hardware store, hat shop, and neighborhood bar.
  • Shopping for an appliance? Independent appliance stores bested all of the big-box retailers in a Consumer Reports analysis.
  • Wal-Mart used a divide-and-conquer strategy to win approval for two stores in Chicago. The retailer plans to open “several dozen” stores in the city.
  • The accumulated effect of Amazon’s pricing policy, its massive volume, and its recommendations system is to diminish real choice, writes Colin Robinson.
  • Lacking the nimbleness and community roots of independents, chain bookstores are having a tough time surviving big-box stores and Amazon. Exhibit A: Barnes & Noble has put itself up for sale.
  • The small business champions over at are on a States of Independents national tour.
  • This month marked the official launch of Supportland, the loyalty card just for locals in Portland, Oregon.